Exercise 4.1 Fragments

 Brief: In this first exercise, you’ll use fragments of still life images to create a combined design. • Arrange a still life set-up that includes a background (preferably an ironed white or black sheet) and three distinct objects. It would be helpful if at least one object was sized at least 0.5m or you’ll be photographing everything in macro.

• Use either sunlight from a window or one single source of electric light to cast shadows and bring out the 3D form of the objects.

• Photograph around the objects, both close and wide shots, not all from the front.

• Capture the edges and the lines of the objects as well as defined shapes within them – for example the sound holes of a violin.

• Capture edges where light and shadow create a sense of depth or recess.

• Take pictures of the textures and colours of the objects.

• Think of this project as collecting impressions and perceptions of these objects and let this guide your camera.

• You’ll need approximately 20 well-exposed images. The idea behind this exercise is to imaginatively combine the different photographs into a single conclusive design.

Have a look at some Cubist paintings and sculpture as inspiration. Notice how one object blends into another and how different viewpoints of the same object co-exist in surprising ways. The classic example of this is Picasso’s combination of the front and profile of a face, as in Weeping Woman, which you can see on the Tate’s website. Then look at Brendan Fowler’s Spring 2011 – Fall 2012 on the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) website, which attempts similar arrangements using photography. Combine the photos by arranging prints or by using Photoshop to assemble the images as different layers. Cut the images and choose only fragments of each image, matching up lines so they flow and placing shapes in meaningful juxtapositions as defined points in the composition. You should find the composition grows into a large picture. When you’ve finished the design, photograph it or save it as a finished picture.

Process: My three still life objects were: a fake bonsai plant, a pair of metal antelopes and a resin Tiger.


My individual shots can be seen here:

Contact Sheets – Fragments

I have chosen to depict a forest scene – primarily the relationship between the predator and the prey – also the various ways the Tiger ambushes its prey.

My chosen final image out of the three I attempted is:



My other two attempts are:

Attempt 1
Attempt – 2

Conclusion: The exercise proved to be challenging for me and I am not very pleased with the final outcome, even though what I have tried to depict has come out successfully.

I have used the natural sunlight as the one bright source of light during different times of the day to create shadows. I have incorporated a lot of shadows into my montage to create camouflage that is so important for the predator to make a successful hunt. Though “Attempt 1” is perhaps closest to depicting the various ways and tactics of camouflage and ambush, I felt it was a bit cluttered. I have tried to simplify it in my final attempt.


10 Replies to “Exercise 4.1 Fragments”

  1. Hey.
    I really like the concept Archna, and what an interesting way to explore hunter and hunted.

    May I ask about the white transparency at the left bottom corner of your final image. Is this meant to be there?

    My preference is for attempt 1. I find that the way you have blended the photos almost renders a 3d space which I can walk through. I get that it’s busy, but there is space within it as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Richard, thanks so much. Yes, I left the blank white area purposely. I now agree that the first attempt is perhaps the best as it most genuinely represents the forest – and especially the area that a tiger hunts after ambushing his prey – so the clutter is justified. It reinstates the fact that I should listen to myself more. The only reason I attempted more is to give it some breathing space. I guess that was not necessary. But thank you Richard. I am now finding the other exercises much easier to attempt after getting over my mental block for this part. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad to hear it.
        The advantage of studying in this manner is that we can try things out and see if they add or take away from our own ideas, and this strengthens our photographic voice.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks like an interesting exercise Archna, I haven’t looked at the reference pictures that the brief refers to but I think your final picture is very good with the tiger camouflaged creeping up on the prey, I guess this is what the transparency is for? I also agree with Richard “Attempt 1” does have a 3D feel and I also like that a lot as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jonathan.Yes, that is the reason the transparency is there. I agree now that attempt one does feel the most successful now And I thank you for taking the time out to provide feedback as I really needed it for this part and especially this exercise. I was quite nervous and the fact that you can relate to it, makes me sigh in relief. Thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Stunning light Archna. These three arrangements are all different and each is worthwhile in my view. It is astonishing how you have brought the jungle to life with three objects and your photographic skills in each one. If I had to choose I would have Third Attempt. But I see it as attempts at hunting prey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sarah. You are too kind and am thankful that you find them worthwhile as I really was stuck and for so long did not do anything as everything just ended in a mental block. It WAS an attempt at hunting prey – all three compositions. Things have become better after I managed this first exercise – Now I feel a little more confident and its going smooth. I have your blog open in front of me for since I started this part and I am thankful to you for being my guiding light. You have approached Part IV with superb skills and vision and I keep going back to your blog for inspiration. Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate.


  4. Stunning work Archna. Despite using static models you’ve created a wonderful sense of jungle and movement. What I like about the first image is the sense of encirclement. The tiger is prowling and the antelopes are calm and relaxed. Calm before the storm. I also like the visual balance and space given to both antelope and tiger – the hunter needs the hunted.

    I agree with you that the other two are busier with images and more of a focus on the tiger – the hunter. Here the antelope seem to have minor role but we get the drama of the tiger in the jungle through the flashes of sunlight.

    Great storytelling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Chris. I am so glad that you could relate to what I was trying to achieve here. This was kind of a sticky point for me and it took me the longest time to finish this exercise so am truly grateful and happy after reading your feedback. 🙂


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