How to communicate hand-craftsmanship in a photograph? Hands! Specifically, the hands of the maker. I’ve been making photographs of Richard’s hands with his jewelry for over twenty years. I love the juxtaposition of his dirty working hands and the intricate shiny metal. The contrast between Richard’s dark hands and the bright jewelry makes the product pop. I’m always interested in your thoughts.
I was photographing jewelry for a catalog with my friend Richard when he slid some small rings onto a bit of rolled up paper. It didn’t work for the catalog we were shooting, but I thought it looked pretty cool. I enjoy spontaneous moments like that one. Because Richard created the jewelry, he has ideas about what it should look like in 2 dimensions. Collaborating on projects like this one is a highlight of my job.
I don’t wear any jewelry myself, except for my wedding ring, but I do appreciate the beauty of it. A good friend of mine is a jeweler, and I love photographing his work. I’m always amazed that he can start with a lump of metal, a hammer, torch, files, and some other tools and the result is a piece of art. It’s challenging shooting jewelry, with all the shiny surfaces and stones, but I enjoy shooting highly reflective objects. It helps if they are pretty, but shiny industrial parts are fun too. Richard’s hands are a little worse for wear. He uses his thumbnail to check the sharpness of files, and polishing compound gets into all the nooks and crannies on his fingers. It’s a perfect contrast to the brilliant perfection of his jewelry. As always, I am interested in hearing your comments.