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  • Writer's picturesarahhawley

Photo Series: Kitchen Utensils

Over the last few years I have really enjoyed creating photo series. A photo series is a body of work that consists of imagery with a common theme or subject matter and can be a large or small group of images. In 2019, I shot my first photographic series in college, while studying photography.

During this project, I learned a lot about what elements help to create a cohesive series of photographs. My project was called Kitchen Utensils and I selected a wide range of different utensils found in the kitchen that had great form, shape, colour, texture or other interesting qualities that would photograph well. I started by taking some test shots to experiment with how I might capture these tools and what kind of a studio set up I might want to use.

I quickly learned that a similar background was important to help link all the images together and to have consistency in the work. Also, using the same studio lighting and similar camera settings would help with this. I used a black background to minimize any distractions behind the tool I was shooting. In the studio, I kept it simple and used an off-camera flash with the lighting hitting the side of the subject to create quite dramatic lighting. I also used a shower curtain as a huge diffusion panel to soften the light that fell onto the subject. Being consistent in all these areas helped to generate a stronger body of work.

I shot many photos of each kitchen tool at different angles to get a variety of perspectives, so I had options to choose from afterwards in the editing process. As I was experimenting with various angles, I found the direction I wanted to take this project. I really liked the close up images of the utensils and how the form or shape of the tools became the focus of the images.

In the editing process the style was also an important consideration making sure that all the photos that were selected for the final body of work were edited in a similar way and if a filter or pre-set was used, it was used on all the images throughout the whole body of work. The title or name of the entire body of work and the titles for each individual image can also add to the cohesiveness in the work if the tittles chosen are also similar or help to communicate the overall story.

Other considerations to achieve consistency in your work could include shooting all the images in the same orientation, all landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical). How you present the final body of work is another major factor. Will the images be presented together in the form of a book, in an exhibition, or an online gallery? If the photographs are to be printed and framed, it might be a good idea to print the work on the same type of paper and in the same or similar size. Consider the same or similar style, treatment and colour options when framing, and be consistent with signing and labelling the work too. Of course these are just suggestions to ensure consistency within a photo series, but they may not apply depending on the intent and project type. All decisions made should complement the artwork and the concept behind the work.

I chose to display my Kitchen Utensil photo series as an online gallery.

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