In my advanced Digital Art classes, I give an assignment that has evolved over the years. My students have to glorify an everyday object. The thought process behind the assignment is for them to expand their creativity and find challenge in the things that they might otherwise overlook. How do you make something new out of a mundane object or use it in a new and unique way?
In previous years, we’ve used toilet paper, forks and #2 pencils as our everyday objects. This year, our object is a paperclip. We use them all the time and most of us don’t think twice about the design or how it’s used. It might seem unremarkable at first glance, but with a bit of creativity, it can be transformed into a striking subject for a photograph.
I just gave this assignment today, so I don’t have any student examples to show yet, but I do have a few of my own images to show because I like to play along, too.
One way to make a paperclip interesting in a photograph is to focus on its details and texture. A macro lens or a lens with high magnification capabilities will allow you to capture close-up images of the paperclip that highlight the intricate details of its design. The shapes and shadows created by the paperclip’s curves and bends can also create interesting compositions.
Sometimes highlighting a function of the object helps it tell a little more of a story. I call the above example “Redundant.”
Other times it takes a little more trickery to make the everyday object stand out. Playing around a photoshop, I made these pieces quickly using some layering and experimentation with blend modes.
A paperclip is a small and unassuming object, but with a bit of creativity, it can be transformed into a captivating subject for a photograph. If you were given this assignment, what would you make? If you decide to play along, tag us on Instagram! I’d love to see how you interpret this challenge.
Finding beauty in unlikely places – Angie