Broken Twig studio promos
Meet Broken Twig, the creations of local artist and graphic designer Kathryn Bondi. Crafted using branches sourced at the nearby Nay Aug Park, Kathryn constructs these stunning lights that somehow fuse a natural rustic aesthetic with a clean, modern style. And the result is beautiful!
Broken Twig launched this summer, and since then Kathryn has been featured in Scranton’s monthly First Friday art walk, and was also one of the vendors who took part in the annual Arts on the Square festival. So of course being new, and building her own website, she needed some product photos.
After discussing her needs, we decided to break the photo shoot into two parts: a studio session where we’d capture a series of well-lit detail and full-product photos, and a second later session, where we’d move outside and capture environmental beauty shots of each piece.
Starting with the studio made the most sense, as it allowed me to become familiar with each piece from a photographic standpoint. We began the session with a series of tight close-up photos, rotating each piece through a white lightbox in order to capture the exquisite detail present in each. One of the joys of Kathryn’s work is discovering all the little details built into each. Even working closely with them the way I was, several times I was surprised to find a subtle element that I’d overlooked to that point, be it a piece of rope work, a charm, or a feather.
From the lightbox we progressed to using a red wall and my credenza as a shooting area, to capture full product shots. The original plan had called for a more environmental approach, where we’d have the items in a well-lit room and capture them in situ. But as we started trying to setup for that approach, we found that it simply wasn’t working out. It happens, perhaps more often than most people realize – an idea that sounded great on the drawing board falls apart in reality.
The red wall was the solution; we shifted from a semi-environmental setting to a much simpler studio setting, and were able to get back on track and move forward. Through the course of a couple of hours we photographed each piece, about eight in total, ranging from the bottle designs, to several hanging lamps and candle holders, which we suspended from a photographic boom and maneuvered into position.
In the red background shots, the plant and clay pot are actually items from my own decor, which we conscripted into service as props. This happens a lot too. In this case, it was a matter of putting the first couple of pieces – the whiskey bottle designs – onto the credenza against the red background, and realizing that there was something missing.
Although the whiskey bottles provide a sense of scale themselves, there was still an emptiness to the images – they needed something else, a subtle dash of color, something to accept the pieces (with without distracting from them). So we grabbed an orchid and the blue pot, and swapped them out as we worked through the different pieces, and found that they gave the photos exactly the element that they needed.
This last photo is one of my favorites, and all the credit goes to Kathryn, who thought to bring along some of her source materials in their raw form. It’s such a simple image, but I know that I always appreciate it when artists show this kind of background insight – what did they start with? What did it look like before it became art?
There’s more to come in part two, when we’ll look at the second shoot – stick around!