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11 Mar 2011

Project: Illustration, pt3

Exercises: Juxtapositon & Rain
2 photographs

Click here to view flickr set.

I've decided to group these x2 exercises together in one blog post as both only ask for x1 photograph each and both are to illustrate a magazine cover.

Something I mentioned in a previous entry, planning for Assignment 5, I came accross www.coverjunkie.com, a website about creative magazine covers. I'm sure I will do a lot of cross-referencing with this at a later time but I will discuss a few basic observations I've made for these exercises. The main one is the way an image in composed for use on a front cover; it is normally centrally dominent or slightly off-center with a leading line toward the middle, creating a very static frame. This is done so that there is room either side of the image for headlines and article text to draw a potential reader into opening the issue. The second observation is that there is not normally many elements that make up the image, more a few key details or indeed a single object so that it makes a simple, striking "first glance" off the shelves to draw people in.

The first exercise asks for a photograph to be composed that is both striking and makes reference to the oil industry. The first thing I did was think about a few of the key issues around oil and, without wanting to bore you, the main thing I could think about was the sheer amount of money that revolves around it. Conflicts, taxes and finite resource make the entire industry a cash-cow and a centre of tension. So, what I've done is used a bottle of olive oil to symbolise the industry as a playful quip against the seriousness of it all, and juxtaposed it against money around it. This is two fold: the first, sitting on a pile of money as oil does, and also money falling around it, much like the shares in BP since the oil disaster. I did this simply by setting the shutter on a timer and dropping the coins from my hands (yes, I am aware it's merely shrapnel from my change pot: I would of liked to have used all gold doubloons!!) I made a mock-cover which you can see here and in the flickr set.

The problem with juxtaposition is not to confuse in with the frame elements exercises in chapter 2.

The second magazine cover was on one subject: rain. In was an exercise in trying to find an interesting way of showing the concept of it without being too literal. Inspiration came in the shower considering that the weather has been glorious as of late, and I was wondering what I could soak down easily for a simple yet striking image. Remembering that I would be creating a static, centrally framed photograph I decided to mount my umbrella in a block of polystyrene and set it in the bath. On one side of the brolly I set up a soft box and a reflector at the other, avoiding electrical shocks!!. Then, with the camera on the tripod and using its remote control, I took a series of exposures whilst moving the shower head. You can see the set up in the flickr set.

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