This is part two of the series “Collecting Content for Europeana Food and Drink” , in which our guest author Niki Harrat from Wolverhampton Art Gallery searches the collection records to select culinary objects for Europeana. As part of this, the Europeana Food and Drink Picture Library will be hosting a selection of the finest images.
Nikki Harrat explores different ways of photographing and capturing the diversified objects and in that way trying to make collections more interesting and appealing for visitors both on- and offline.
Capturing The Silver Goblet
As a 20th century object, the silver goblet and cover is an Indian piece of decorative art with fretted designs of birds amongst foliage. Photographing this piece was a very different proposition to the earthenware pitcher. Being silver it is highly reflective and also has some fantastically rich and deep detail. One of the existing images is shown below.
You can see that traditional even lighting has still produced a lovely image but there is the potential to do so much more.
The first step was to try some side lighting to pick out the detail and relief. I tried a few different angles before getting one that I was happy with. These images show some different angles and flash powers:
Being cylindrical in shape I didn’t think the snoot would work on this piece but with digital it only costs a bit of time to try something different. I’m not happy with the results but it’s still worth sharing here. Sometimes something that doesn’t work can be just as useful as something that does.
Having looked at these images I decided to do try lighting the piece from the front so that the light fell away around the sides of the piece and showed as much detail as possible. I’ve actually used the snoot to show off the relief and used the softbox at the same angle to fill in the deepest of the shadows. Although there are some highlights I think it’s forgivable because the piece is silverware.
Again, a selection of images were sent to colleagues for them to look at and pick out a favourite. You’ll soon get the chance to find out which ones made the cut!
By Niki Harrat and Angelika Leitner