I’ve been focussing a lot more on shooting still-life photography recently, mostly due to the Melbourne weather being so damn unpredictable and cold, making cozy studio time much more appealing than being rained out on a location shoot. It’s set off a chain of experimental personal projects which are all currently in progress, but a few of which you can preview on my Instagram account, here.
What started out as a fun, light hearted series called “Stuff you can’t do with novelty sized hands”, ended up sparking the idea to create an “ice sculpture” using the novelty sized hands as the mould.
I didn’t let myself think through the details too much, allowing it to be more of a creative excercise. I got started on making the ice hand and figured I’d photograph it and work it all out through experimentation, when I next had a break in my schedule. So I cleared some space in the freezer and had this creepy thing in there for 2 months… (please excuse the next few terrible photos off my phone).
Over 2 days, I experimented with a few different lighting set ups and figured that lighting it from below with some gels was the best approach in capturing the translucency of ice. I used some Profoto B1 flashes which were the perfect height to place between two low tables with a plate of glass over the top. Not to mention, completely wireless and could stand on their own. Look mom, no stands!
I rolled out some seamless backdrops and cut a hole through it to let some light through. I went with a darker grey, lit with blue gels.
Then came the hardest part. Actually getting the ice out of the mould without breaking it. I melted the hand to loosen it away from the glove, but carelessly broke off some fingers in an attempt to free it. It turns out there is a fine art to evenly melting an ice hand out of a novelty sized hand.
I made two more smaller hands and patiently waited to cut them free the following day. Unfortunately, I had the same problem and ended up losing some fingers, but was successful in getting the second one out in-tact. I pumped up the air con, mid-winter and was good to go!
Here’s what I ended up with: