Fabricating Photography

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The upcoming textile market in New York has us thinking Fabrics make this bedroom shot.about fabric. Yes, fabric. We’re hard-pressed to think of any other base component of a finished item that looks as good on its own as fabric.

Wood may look good, but it usually must be worked or formed into an object to really release its beauty. The same can be said of stone. Actually, Michelangelo DID say “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Metals are ingots or pellets. Plastic is granules or perhaps later on, sheets.

But fabric. Bolts of cloth unfurling their colors. Highlights glancing off silks and satins. Gauzy voile drapes back on itself making patterns in the light. It’s easy to see why tales of traders with exotic fabrics convey such striking mental images.

And perhaps it is that extra spark of life that makes fabric – and items created from textiles – potentially tricky to photograph. One is working not only with the finished product, but a material that can stand on its own. Could a photographer compare it to trying to capture two beings in one body? In a way, yes, for he wants to show off both the item and its material to its best advantage.

So, something to think about when beginning to sort out photography for your textile goods: who will best capture the essence of your product?

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