My last session at the Garstang was another busy one. As well as getting on with more artefact photography, the museum was hosting a talk by Roland Enmarch on the Book of the Dead as part of the Festival of Archaeology.
Festival of Archaeology
The Festival of Archaeology is an annual UK-based festival organised by the Council for British Archaeology. Every July, museums, universities and other heritage-based organisations run events based around the theme of archaeology.
This year, Dr Roland Enmarch did a couple of talks on the Book of the Dead as part of the festival. I wasn’t around for the first talk, but I was for the second one. There was a great crowd of people – about as many as you’d want to fit into the exhibition space in one go.
Roland gave a great talk, giving the low-down on the Book of the Dead and some funerary practices in general. He even took the group into the rest of the museum, and an hour-long talk turned into two-and-a-half hours!
At the request of the museum, I photographed a couple of pots.
The first was this Predynastic marl-clay pot, decorated with geometric, red criss-cross painted lines and a moulded, wavy line. The colour of the pot and the red-painted decoration make this pot undeniably and immediately recognisable as (late) Predynastic in date.
Although I do love the Predynastic marl pottery and its wonderful decoration, my favourite of the day was actually a very plain, white alabaster pot.
Well, although not immediately obvious, alabaster is a bit translucent.
Knowing this, I decided to try lighting the pot a little differently:
If you’re struggling to work out the photo above, it’s my mobile phone propped up (gently!) against the back of the pot and held in place by a spare lens. (The DIY Photographer would be proud of me!)
I had the phone’s LED flash light turned on. And, adding in the tiniest bit of light from my panel light from the front, this is the result:
I must say I’m very happy with the results. The lighting has turned what would be a fairly plain, uninteresting pot into a thing of real beauty. It also helps bring out the texture and density of the stone itself.
I would love to be able to photograph more alabaster pieces, perhaps make a whole project out of it … anyone got any spare alabaster pieces hanging around …? 😀
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