As a result of having purchased space in the aforementioned Nelson Regional Guide Book, Art in its Own Place, I was given the opportunity to have my work photographed by a professional photographer. At no extra cost. So I signed up.
Textile is said to be difficult to photograph. This is true in my limited experience. In photographs, I hope to convey the feel/hand/texture and weight of a shawl and accurately record the colors and the weave. I avoid hanging a square piece like a museum exhibit, and use table and chairs to drape my shawl. As a shawl is meant to be worn by a person, often in motion, I am not necessarily displeased with an out-of-focus photo if it emulates movement, and works in context. Thus far, I have had a few successes with details, but still struggle with an entire piece, and accurate colors, especially with sheen as with mohair, still elude me.
For a week prior to the shoot, I worried about how to choose the pieces and how to prepare them, and most importantly, how to transport them without getting them creased. I worried about bringing too few or too many, and I worried my work may not look beautiful or well-made to the trained eye.
The day arrived, but I still had no idea what to expect, so with variety in mind, I chose two shawls and one piece of fabric. I picked off dust and lint, steam-ironed both sides, and waited for them to dry before rolling all three in a big piece of bubble wrap. Just in case they were creased, I stuffed my iron and two bath towels into my backpack, along with my own camera to record the shooting session for future reference. I called a taxi, rolled what looked like a carpet in the back seat, and sat next to the driver.
I arrived at Arts Marketing, was asked if I wanted to be listed under my family name or as Meg Weaves, and I replied, uncharacteristically nervously, "MegWeaves, capital M, capital W, no space between the words, thanks." Then I was taken to the next room, a darkened spare office, now an ad hoc studio, and met Daniel, the professional photographer. I unrolled the roll, he threw the pieces on to the table, and before I knew it, it was over. He showed me tiny images of my pieces on his digital camera, and I unceremoniously rolled my stuff back in the bubble wrap. All in all, I must been at Arts Marketing less than ten minutes. But then the photo in the book will be about the size of an Air Mail sticker, so everything is in proportion.
Daniel's website is www.danielallen.co.nz. I didn't look this up until after the fact, but am relieved to know my shawls were in capable hands.