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 Joel's Blog

Tools as Art  


Before I was an iron monger I did a lot of things including fine art photography. I had a few exhibits but I never sold enough to make a living at it. It was an important creative outlet for me. Most of the photography I do for TFWW is commercial and directed to show a specific product or technique. So please indulge me for a few seconds. Here is a picture I took purely because I liked the image.
If you like this image please let me know and I will post some more.
Comments: 30
02/02/2010Joe Ashley 
Yep. There's just something about the shot. It's such a mundane item, yet the way it is framed,the contrast of the dullness on the gear teeth with the brightness of the bevel on the one tooth, the slightly visible rings circling the shaft of the key, the way the various circles are juxtapositioned, even the dust between the gear teeth. It takes a certain kind of eye to see that something like this deserves to be captured on film (or memory chip). I may never look at a chuck key the same. Of course, most of the time I can't find the damn thing anyway. Please post more. True art is presenting the ordinary in an extraordinary way.
02/02/2010Tom Buhl
here is a vote to show other cool photos.
Especially close up details.
Yeah, looks great. Keep them coming!
02/02/2010Adrian Baird Ba Than (Black)
Love it!
One of many unsung heroes in the workshop...
I definitely like it! By all means, keep 'em coming. Could
they eventually become a calendar or something like that?
(Forgive me if a calendar is a "cheesy-stereotype-faux pas" or
anything in the photography world... But I'd definitely buy a
calendar of interesting/thoughtful/artistic "shop shots"!)
02/02/2010Derek Olson
There is kind of a raw beauty to tools, the grit in the teeth, the lines from it's tooling. Makes me think of a photography book I looked at years ago now that focused on pictures of different people's hands. From the hardworking, to the broken, to the pristine. There may be something similar that could be accomplished with tools.
I'd be interested in seeing it at the very least.
I like it, the contrast in metal textures had me staring it
for some time before I read the related post. Keep 'em
02/02/2010Greg Taylor 
Nice image... I like to see more.
02/02/2010Bob Demers 
Hi Joel
I like it, years ago I started to catalog all my tools, both photographically and by a short text describing its provenance and history. By now I have a huge collections of pictures and a better idea of what I have, some of it in multiple examples hummmm how did that happened :-)

I would love it if you could give us some pointer on photographying tools, techniques, lighting, equipment used etc. In addition I find it very helpful to zoom in on a faint marking and then manipulate the contrast/brigthness, or even reversing (negative) the image to help deciphering the markings.

The macro aspect of picture taking is indeed very useful to me, and im sure we could all benefit from your expertise

Please do! There's so much to appreciate in this image from the artistic standpoint. It would be great to hear more of your comments about aspects of this image such as angle, lighting, field of focus, etc. Some woodworkers who photograph their work for web sites or brochures could benefit from some explanation and tips.
It's a yes. In college I did news photography, dabbled in a little artistic stuff,
but felt a need to pursue my major. Enjoy shots like this.
02/02/2010Richard Francis 
Design is presenting something ordinary in an extraordinary way, art is
something else...but pictures first please.
02/02/2010Ed Brant 
I love it, gimme more! I particularly like the fact that's
it's a striking shot of such a mundane tool. Shots of infill
planes are always gorgeous, but there's beauty in the the
ordinary, as well.
02/02/2010Mark Walker 
Please post more. My greatest loves (obsessions?) are woodworking, photography, and fine old tools. Your pics would be a joy and an inspiration.
02/02/2010Frank Vucolo 
Yes please.
This is the antithesis of the high end hand plane, polished and "casually" placed along side a prepared piece of wood with five shavings carefully staged in the shot.
I would love to see more.
02/02/2010Bill Sias 
I like it too. Please post more.
Im' with Bob,
more pics please and tips for better lighting etc.

Great image and hope to see more. Perhaps an "artsy" image accompanying the traditional images of items you have for sale on the website, as well as other items "from the collection."

A couple of points that to my eye might improve this particular image, constructive criticism only intended. First of all, I love the grit in the teeth and the small bits of chips. It appears maybe slightly too cropped. The tip being cropped out is somewhat disturbing to me. Likewise the metal shaving almost in view, seems to draw my interest, but can't quite see, same thing with the "not sure what it is" in the top right.
02/02/2010Lee Mairs 
There is just something about that picture that "gets" me. I'd like to see more - especially if they are as good as the chuck key.
Very nice shot Joel. More. Many. Please.
02/02/2010John Cashman 
I'd love to see more. Zoom in some more if you can.
02/02/2010Bob Stahl 
Yes, please show more. All of need to be indulged.
Sorry but it doesn't do much for me. Maybe if cropped in a bit tighter or...
02/02/2010Brian Gilstrap
Excellent. Somehow industrial, precise, and yet refined.

More please.
02/02/2010Keith Vandervelt 
Awesome. Keep it coming.
02/03/2010Rick Lasita
very nice Joel, I can only imagine the possibilities laying around your place for
photos of this type, we expect more in the near future :)
02/04/2010David Gendron 
I guess you have your answer... But just in case, I 'll put mine down for more sweet images!
02/05/2010Chris F 
I'm a photography buff as well, though I don't spend as much time at it as I used to. I like the shot and would love to see more, but I agree with the previous comment that it's cropped too tight. The eye is drawn down to the bottom right corner and then slams into the edge of the picture. Show the tip of the tool and maybe the full metal shaving at the bottom.
03/22/2011Lewis E. Ward, Figure in the Wood 
Enjoying the shop/industrial photography.
Definitely keep 'em coming! and it is a great idea -- I'm going to try some of that myself.
Comments are closed.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.
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