Scanner Art

Celery After Guillotine

I have been working on a series of “simple” still lifes for several years now, and they have mostly been done on a flatbed scanner. I am intrigued by the scanner for many reasons, although as with all tools, when you ask it to perform outside of its intended purpose, the results can be difficult to control and thus frustrating. Scanners seem to be designed to be simple and not too flexible. Their operating parameters are very narrow. They strip the object from its surrounding in a quick and convenient way. They also see the object in a way that is unlike most other forms of capture, while doing so in a very small “studio.” And they surprise frequently. This shot though, pushed me away from the scanner, and I actually got out the lights cameras action. In some ways, the old school way (albeit with a digital camera) is MUCH simpler because the tools are more straightforward AND they are performing their assigned jobs.  Scanners are just not made to photograph 3D objects, although in this case it was not the 3D that was the problem, but a host of other issues.  Still, one of the attractions to the scanner is that you can let it chug merrily away while you put out office brush fires.  Of course, you end up scanning multiple times and ways, but there is something nice about the surprise that awaits each time…almost like the old film days when you had that great moment of anticipation before placing the film on the lightbox.  Ironically, this object, while excellent with the digital camera capture, also looked great (and VERY different) with the scanner capture, but the image was marred by some unwanted digital artifacts.  It might be time for a new scanner.  Maybe I will figure out a way to put this one on the back of an 8×10….something I have been joking about for years…

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