For the second installation in the YCN series, i am again veering away from my initial design because through experimentation’s i found that i didn’t need so many obvious elements to the design to communicate the idea of the “Mushroom” that is so pivotal to the caterpillar scene. For example i didn’t need the many caterpillar shoes, because i realized my inspiration for that was subconsciously coming from the Disney version, it can be difficult when faced with illustrating and re-imagining such a well known story, not to be influenced by versions you have seen before.
With this scene- i experimented alot with LIGHTING, i wanted the light to look unnatural, like the world of wonderland itself and for it not to be clear whether it was night or day. As i have said before, the time of day is not mentioned within the story and is totally open to interpretation and this meant it was an interesting aspect to play with. I also wanted lots of shadows in this scene, because it is being seen by the reader from Alice’s perspective of approaching the mushroom, and by obscuring the view with shadows it gives an air of mystery- is the caterpillar there or not? For the paper elements in the scene, i created a floor based upon my experiments from before, but longer in depth to give more of a feel of immersion. I created loose and abstracted flowers to intertwine with the surroundings and at first i didn’t intend on including the wooden elements, because although they had taken me alot of time to design and create i didn’t know if they fitted with my new idea. But after trying sets with both, i found the wood added alot of interest to the scene and some diversity.
I began by creating abstracted “smoke” and “hookah” parts for my chosen found object, a really kitsch oversized mushroom tealight, with holes in already so perfect for the idea that i believe the caterpillar wasn’t sitting on a mushroom smoking a “hookah” but the mushroom is the “hookah”, a magic mushroom as it were.
Below are all my experimental shots and compositions ( well a selection of them, there are actually hundreds!) these are the ones where i experimented with composition and whether to include the wooden parts or not, I do like most of the shots that don’t include the wooden “tree” pieces, but i feel they may be too black and white for wonderland, but i will definitely use this style and further experiment with it in the second part of my FMP.
I tried up-lighting using a torch, lighting from different angles with both 2 and 1 light sources and very minimal lighting.
i found that lighting from the front, but putting the torch at base level to the set, created some really big and interesting shadows, but having other light around, like daylight made this hard to photograph without the shadows being less prominent, so i waited until the sun went down for the final images and then took some in the dark using one strong torch to light the scene. I found i liked the ones where the shadows were quite sharp, and the shadows created on the floor and on the mushroom looked more atmospheric.
i found that whilst experimenting with lighting, i really like strong sharp shadows and i think they give more depth to the images, and makes it more of a “world” atmosphere rather than just a photograph. I continued to take more imagery, and then i began clipping them together on photoshop to create a strong sharp image. I really liked the more blurry images, but i think they were straddling the line of it being obvious i made them blurry on purpose, or whether i just looked like a bad photographer. Below is my final image after editing:
this one is sharp, with lots of depth and some good strong shadows and i really liked how i could clip several images together to create focus in most aspects of the image, i especially like the wooden “tree” obscuring the mushroom, and creating an idea that perhaps “Alice” is peeking around the trees before she approaches the famed mushroom. I also really like the contrast of dark and light, mixing with the contrast of the materials. If i were to shoot it again i may consider the background more, but i do like the simplicity of the background and i think it needed to be simple to stop the image being over the top