Photographing Garden Gnomes
Anyone who boast the opportunity of having a large enough garden filled with plenty of beautiful vegetation and flowers may at some point consider using some patio sculptures or decorations and some of the most popular of these appear to be those small figurines we typically call garden gnomes.
Off course many others uses include various other types of figurines such as those in the shapes of forest creatures, mythical beings, and simulations representative of various other figures such as butterflies, birds and so on.
A fun project which can take on many forms and variations is to do a photo shoot featuring garden gnomes. If you ever stopped at look at them carefully you will notice, at least the better made ones, seem to have a "life" of their own and even an individuality in "character."
Some are made from plastic but the better ones as it relates to photography should be the ones made from cast stone (cement) or better yet terracotta. They are usually very colorfully decorated and if you choose them carefully, no two are the same.
But what are garden gnomes and what should one look for when choosing which ones to get and included in this project?
"A garden gnome or lawn gnome is a figurine of a small humanoid creature, usually wearing a pointy hat, produced for the purpose of ornamentation and protection from evil sorcery, typically of gardens or on lawns. These figurines originate in 19th century Germany, where they became known as Gartenzwerg (literally "garden dwarf"). The application of the term gnome in English is first attested in the 1930s."Wikipedia
"Gnomes may be made from terracotta clay slip (runny clay) poured into molds. This is allowed to set up and the excess emptied from the centre leaving a clay shell. The gnome is removed from the mold when firm, then allowed to dry and then fired in a kiln until hard. Once cooled the gnome is painted. More modern gnomes are made from resins and similar materials."Wikipedia
Once you feel that you have enough of a selection the idea is to sit down and create a scenario, much like a theatre play. This may seem odd but it actually helps in creating scenes and depicting your subjects in a better "light".
Pretend that they are "actors" in a play and arrange them as if interacting with each other or engaged in garden/forest types activities such as looking for plants, scouting some fruits, tending the garden and so forth.
The shoot should be done at ground level; yes you will need to get on the ground. You should use a zoom that allows you to get in close and perhaps crop on the go. Try to use light that is diffused by clouds or taller vegetation and avoid directing a flash unit's light directly at them since the materials from which most of them are made will reflect light back and may create light hot spots.
Be creative and pose them in various ways, use various perspectives and angles and try to image them actually being alive while you capture their images.
These images can have their commercial uses. Many garden enthusiasts will gladly buy calendars showing their likeness and many greeting cards have had their likeness featured on them. There are also societies or ratherclubs, believe or not, that specialize in sharing and trading images of gnomes as well as other "questionable albeit creative ways" as well as listing a comprehensive history of them from various regions of the world where they are a popular garden staple, with England and Germany being at the forefront.
Word of caution: there have a recent rash of "kidnappings" of these lovely yet innocent little creatures by unscrupulous individuals who force gnomes to travel all over the world to many exotic locations.
These fiends have also been know to subject their gnome victims to suntan at some of the most beautiful beaches of the planet and "expose" them large quantities of deliciously prepared foods and libations and further delight themselves in sending you images of their activities ultimately returning them to you but after having corrupted their fragile minds with all the wonderful things the world has to offer, something from which these timid little creatures may never fully and completely be able to recover from.
Just be ware and keep a close eye on you gnome collections and be nice to them, after all who do you think keeps you flowers looking so nice?
Want to read another cute article about gnomes, then follow this link for more about gnomes than what you may have thought you knew about them.
- Garden Gnomes and Lawn Gnomes
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© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez