Assignment 1: Contrasts

The basis for the assignment is one of the most fundamental principles in design: contrast.  A lead weight may be heavy, but does it look heavy and if so why?  Colour, tone, lighting and comparative relationships to the background will all affect our response.  We know weights are heavy but what if it were sprayed pale yellow and put on a dark, unyielding surface?  

Make at least 8 pairs from the list provided and identify the extremes of qualities which bring out the essential differences.

Thick: f/4 ISO 400 1/15 44mm

Thin: f/16 ISO 100 1/8 50mm

Thick & Thin

Thick was an image I captured whilst on a visit to Lacock Abbey and I found this large, bronze cooking pot in what used to be the kitchen.  I took several shots of it, from different angles, but this one provided the most pleasing aspect for the ‘Thick’ contrast.

The sheer size of this pot in girth and weight alone suggest bulk and when one looks at the handle with the face mask it is brought home just how substantially thick the whole metal object must be.  I think the placement within the frame, obscuring just about everything, apart from a small amount of the window opening and the adjacent wall, and that big belly all suggest substance and thick.

Thin is an image I’d been agonising over capturing for some time, what to depict ‘Thin’ thematically with my ‘Thick’?  The upshot was I sat up in bed one morning and there it was, a change of sculpture from a slightly fatter thinking man and the whole thing was complete.

The ‘Thin’ suggestion starts with the figure; each limb, by comparison to the height of the work, is thinner than would normally be expected in the western world, but is reminiscent of its African home.  The suggestion continues through the net curtain and window, bounded by the narrow, black rubber, gasket and on through the thin sheets of glass to show the thin railings around the entrance to the building opposite.

Both these images were taken in colour but they were so muted that I decided that rendering them as black & white was much more dramatic and suitable.  I think thematically they are linked by both being still life’s and only the window light being used in each.

I think given the chance again, I’d retake the cooking pot from a slightly different angle, further around to the right and possibly further back to give the mask on the handle slightly more shadow and show a little more of the belly text.


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