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  • How'd They Do That? Home
  • How'd They Do That? :: Regeneration

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    by Konador

    Make garbage look interesting?

    “You’re ‘avin a giraffe mate!” was my initial reaction.

    Garbage is waste that nobody wants, how can it look appealing?

    Well after that oh-so-common out-bust of how the challenge was impossible to meet, I thought about it a bit. I knew I wanted to have some bright colours in my shot, and of course my first idea was candy wrappers. Bright and colourful, and also not too much of a chore trying to create the garbage either!

    So, I had the chocolate wrappers, and a crisp packet to throw in some variety. Now to make it into a photograph. I tried arranging them in a nice pattern on a black piece of card… boring. How about a white piece of card? Boring.

    At this point, I was getting desperate for ideas, so I just messed around and decided to freeze my garbage in a block of ice. To make sure the ice wasn’t cloudy I had to boil the water first to distil it. I then poured it into a small plastic tub and carefully arranged the wrappers in the water. I put on the lid, and took it to the freezer.

    Then I waited.

    The next day I took out the block of ice and tried to prop it up to make a kind of slab, sitting upright. This did not work at all because the sides of the container I froze it in were sloped, so the block kept falling over which was annoying. To fix this I put it onto a tea towel, which I squished into the right angle, opposite to the angle of the block, so it would stand up. This also conveniently soaked up the water that was rapidly melting off it. I also used some folded paper.

    Here are some of the first shots that I got.

    As you can see, not very interesting. I was also having problems with the bright light reflecting off of the ice, causing those horrible glares. These shots put me off the idea of using my ice block, but I put it back in the freezer just in case.

    The following day it was really sunny outside and the sky was so blue. I remembered seeing some other photos before where things had been placed on a mirror to give the illusion they were floating in the sky, so I decided to try this with my ice, even though the blue sky was completely irrelevant to the actual photo that I should have been trying to achieve.

    I ran upstairs and grabbed my bathroom mirror off the wall, and took it out into the garden, where I placed it in the floor, and put the ice block onto it.

    This part was quite tricky. The ice was slippery, and when I put it onto the glass mirror, it slid down into whichever corner of the mirror was slightly tilted down. When I finally managed to sort out the balancing, I realised that it left horrible drops all over the mirror, but when I tried to wipe them off it created a smear. Being the impatient type, I decided to try and shoot anyway. These drops might add some nice texture to the photo.

    In this shot you can see the frame of the mirror, but that can easily be cropped out later. At the bottom right of the block you can see a twig which I used to try and wedge the ice in place to stop it from sliding around. On the left of the ice you can see it is all cracked and it ruins the effect. This is because when I topped up the container with fresh water to “heal the wounds” of the previous shoot, it didn’t join up well with the rest of the ice when it froze, but instead created a new thin layer with a gap in between.

    Here is another try. I quite liked this but the sun’s glare was caught at the bottom. The overall shot looks quite messy as well.

    At this point I had to stop shooting and go out somewhere.

    When I got back the sky was grey and it was getting dark. I still had to get a photo though, so I had to make do with the conditions.

    I went outside with my new block of ice again, and re-created my setup. I also tried some different setups, to add some choice when it came to submitting. Here are a few of them.

    In the first two shots I didn’t think there was enough contrast between the garbage and the grass, and in the second I think the flowers over-powered the garbage.

    I also tried to take a photo that would be titled “Garbage Disposal”.

    I quite liked this one, it has good contrast and bright colours, but I decided not to submit this one in the end, probably by a coin toss if I remember correctly.

    Flowers, now there’s an idea to add some interest to the photo. You see that piece of ripped Mars Bar wrapper? Well now the ice had melted a bit, the hole it made had reached the surface, and I decided to put a little daisy in there. It symbolised that things could carry on living, no matter how bad the surroundings are (although granted, I didn’t think that up until I got to my computer and was stuck for a title hehe.)

    This was the original shot, looking pretty dull and boring. Then I went into Macromedia Fireworks, upped the contrast a bit, rotated the image 90 degrees CCW, and voila, my final entry.

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