Creation – Exercise 4.1 – Fragments

Brief:- In this first exercise, you’ll use fragments of still life images to create a combined design. Arrange a still life set-up that includes a background (preferably an ironed white or black sheet) and three distinct objects. It would be helpful if at least one object was sized at least 0.5m or you’ll be photographing everything in macro. Use either sunlight from a window or one single source of electric light to cast shadows and bring out the 3D form of the objects. Photograph around the objects, both close and wide shots, not all from the front. Capture the edges and the lines of the objects as well as defined shapes within them – for example the sound holes of a violin. Capture edges where light and shadow create a sense of depth or recess. Take pictures of the textures and colours of the objects. Think of this project as collecting impressions and perceptions of these objects and let this guide your camera. You’ll need approximately 20 well-exposed images.

The idea behind this exercise is to imaginatively combine the different photographs into a single conclusive design. Have a look at some Cubist paintings and sculpture as inspiration. Notice how one object blends into another and how different viewpoints of the same object co-exist in surprising ways. The classic example of this is Picasso’s combination of the front and profile of a face, as in Weeping Woman, which you can see on the Tate’s website. Then look at Brendan Fowler’s Spring 2011 – Fall 2012 on the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) website, which attempts similar arrangements with photography. Combine the photos by arranging prints or by using Photoshop to assemble the images as different layers. Cut the images and choose only fragments of each image, matching up lines so they flow and placing shapes in meaningful juxtapositions as defined points in the composition. You should find the composition grows into a large picture. When you’ve finished the design, photograph it or save it as a finished picture.

Creation - From exercise 4.1 Foundations in Photography, the Open College of the Arts, Still Life, Experimentation

The final result is not as good as I would have liked, and I certainly could go back an rework this photo. It doesn’t fulfill the brief in relation to cutting and layering parts of different images to combine shapes and planes.

What it does do is make use of parts of three different photos, which have been shot from different perspectives, using the same single light source and turned them into a fourth photo. It hints at the kookaburra being created out of the shadows of the other subjects. I followed a YouTube tutorial on pixel dispersion to mingle the shadow from Action Man with that from the first kookaburra. It took a while to get used to, and once complete I felt the image was somewhat flat. I decided then to make use of the third bird, to see if I could make it appear as if it was being formed from the shadow. The result is OK. Now that I have an idea of how to use the technique I could make better use of it in the future.

I haven’t followed the brief if you’re a purist, but I am pleased with my interpretation.

Contact Sheet


Photoshop Tutorials; 2016; Dispersion Effect: Photoshop Tutorial; AT: (accessed on 26/09/2018)

15 Replies to “Creation – Exercise 4.1 – Fragments”

  1. Well done Richard, I image this took a while.An interesting and very creative final image, I liked looking at your contact sheet to see where the images have come from. Did you create the drop shadows or are they as photographed?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the final ‘creation’ very, very much. It is interesting to me that my eye went directly to the blue and didn’t register the Action Man doll even tho I took in the shadow. (I love shadows – can I say that again LOL) Now that I look at it again (and again) I think I like the way it shows on your header best. Not sure yet, I’ll have to keep coming back and look at it some more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like what you have done Richard, the final result is very striking. Yes, exercises are meant to be followed but I think it’s fine to also interpret the brief according to personal interests & learn new techniques.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I used the word fascinating when I saw this image on Instagram and do so again. It is unusual, intriguing and draws me in. What is going on in this image? What are the different interpretations.? I seek no particular answers, but if this were on a gallery wall, as it is worthy of, what would people say as they stopped to stare. I am sure they would not pass by.
    PS I agree with Judy about the brief.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thankyou Sarah. It’s certainly a technique that I can make use of and develop in future. I like the result, but it’s not how I want it to be. It falls short in my opinion, but it’s certainly interesting to note that others have a more favourable view than I. As for the brief, I followed it in as much as how I took the photos, single light source, larger objects, different perspectives and make use of shadows. How I’ve then pieced it together had to be out of the box with the photos that I took.


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