Photographing your own work

This week I have been photographing my work for the catalogue that is being produced for the forthcoming exhibition, (see Exhibitions for details).

It is always the same, with nearly three years to prepare for this exhibition everything gets squashed into the last few months including the photography.

It has always been my job to photograph my work and a challenge that I have enjoyed. In the beginning I had to do it because I couldn’t afford to pay a photographer, I still cannot, but now I would not consider employing anyone else because creating the images of the pieces at least gives me some control over how my work is presented. It also helps me to see the work, the good bits and the bad bits and draws attention to anything that doesn’t quite work on the actual piece.
The pieces that are easy to photograph are usually ( but not always) the ones that work best in reality. In this instance I took over 800 photos to arrive at 32 that I was happy with, something that was not possible for me prior to digital cameras because of the expense and time delay.

The accidental photos or the ones where I am just ‘playing’ with the piece the light and the camera are often for me very interesting, although they don’t necessarily show what the audience for these images is wanting to see – a dilemma. (1)

I have always taken my own photos, initially the motivation was to avoid the expense of paying someone else, but quickly I learnt that it was important to photograph my work in the way that I wanted it to be seen. In ‘Crafty Containers’ the publisher did all the photography and hung my baskets, made of urban waste, in trees at jaunty angles or filled them with plants that hid the baskets. The photos could not have been more inappropriate but I had surrendered control and got what I deserved I suppose. It was a tough lesson. If I can help it I don’t use flash photography, but at this time of year the light is so bad it is almost impossible to take good photos of work indoors. From past experience I know I need good photos of the work before the exhibition opens so I will just have to find a way to do it. (2)

Lois Walpole, Britain


Lois Walpole is of Anglo Scottish heritage and trained in Sculpture,  Basket Making and Design.

She works full time as an artist/basket maker taking part in and curating national and international exhibitions, working to commission, designing for production, teaching and writing.

She divides her time between the Shetland Islands and the Charente, in south west France, where her studio is based.

Her blog gives the latest about her teaching and exhibitions and is where she talks about the baskets and basket related things that she finds interesting, inspiring, infuriating and intriguing…

Her self imposed rules are “no materials purchased and basket making techniques employed wherever possible”.

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