I’ve been keeping myself busy during coronavirus lockdown, learning to make 3D (three dimensional) models. It’s an outcome of Photogrammetry, the science of making measurements from photographs. The input is the photographs, and the output could be a map, a drawing, a measurement, or in this case a 3D model of a real object or scene. The YouTube videos demonstrating how to do this usually use something like a stone to photograph I make 3D. I decided to set myself a far more complicated challenge which was photographing the Monterey Cypress seedpods In the interactive box below, go ahead and make it full screen, you’ll get a better idea of what it looks like.
This seemed like a natural progression from my constructed images, where I was making photographs of from up to 200 separate photographs, and from my work for ArtUK photographing sculpture in various museums and other cultural institutions within the South West region. This 3D Image is made from 400 separate photographs all taken of The Monterey Cypress seedpods in my studio using flash lighting and an automated turntable. The images were then constructed together using Agisoft Metashape software, which took days but hopefully this will get quicker!
My model is held on a platform website called Sketchfab, the equivalent of YouTube for 3D models. Is the largest international platform for cultural heritage 3D online, and it is used by institutions like the British Museum and the Science Museum etc.
I am expecting that the single image type of documentation that I’ve been used to photographing museum objects will become a thing of the past as 3D models take their place. They can give a virtual viewer a far greater understanding of what an object is actually is like, and there is the ability to zoom in and move around an object just like have you would want to in a physical museum.
I’m looking forward to making a 3D model of have something made of clay next. I might try a complete pot or maybe just a sherd or fragment from Bideford’s rich Elizabethan past.
Monterey Cypress seedpods still image
I haven’t opened my studio to the public for many years as I have been too busy, firstly digitising 10,000 images by James Ravilious and Roger Deakins for the Beaford Archive, and later photographing sculpture for ArtUK. My studio now demonstrates digitisation and also photographing sculpture. Also on display are examples of my personal landscape work; explorations of caves and shipwrecks and also the wild green interior of North Devon. I’m leading a small group workshop, designed specifically for sculptors and ceramicists on Monday 23rd September. During the workshop you’ll learn practically how to photograph your Artwork and get to know your camera better, using natural or household lighting and materials that you will already have in your own studio.
“You have to be in it to win it” – how many times do you say that to yourself and so put time, effort and finance into a project and nothing comes of it? But then another well-known saying comes to mind “all things come to those who wait”…. Well my good artist friend Rosie Burns tipped me off on a competition, leading to an exhibition, which she suggested I should enter as she felt it was perfect for the body of photographs I was working on. It was Earth Photo 2019 organised by Parker Harris and with the biggest sponsors/stakeholders being the Royal Geographical Society and also Forestry England.
I’m very excited that the exhibition “Here: Uncovering North Devon” is opening on Saturday, 4th May at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum in my hometown of Bideford. This will be accumulation of three years work for Beaford Arts Hidden Histories project, of which I spent 18 months digitising 10,000 images by James Ravilious and Roger Deakins. Many of my worked-up images will be in the show alongside oral histories and a whole bunch of workshops talks and activities.
I’m going to be leading the following workshops myself starting on the 5th May where there is an all day workshop making ‘sun prints’. This is a free drop-in workshop from 11am-4pm and doesn’t necessarily need sunshine! Traditional photographic paper is exposed outside but in contact with various translucent objects like leaves or plastic litter etc, photographic chemicals do most of the work here transforming a white sheet of paper into an image which is often rich in warm tones; browns, oranges and yellows.
On bank holiday Monday, 6th May I’m leading a morning session 11am-1pm making photographs with a pinhole camera. Again free, this will take place upstairs in the Kingsley room at the Burton Art Gallery. You’ll ideally need to bring a light tight box for this however, I will have some that you could also use to make real photographic images, in this most primitive of cameras.
In the afternoon 2pm-4 pm you’ll have the opportunity to experience being inside a giant camera obscura, again in the Kingsley room. The room will be completely blacked out and you will be able to see the world projected onto the interior walls.
Near the end of the exhibition, 15th and 16th June, I’m leading a couple of days using traditional photography, using film cameras and a photographic darkroom with enlargers. Here you will get a rare opportunity of making your own print from a duplicate of either a James Ravilious or a Roger Deakins negative.
…an update on this exhibition:
It was really nice to see that I was credited for my digitisation and enhancing skills for each of the images on display!