Photographing Artwork: Prints and Artist Books by Hannah Fray / by Andrew Wilson

To coincide with the opening of an exhibition of work by my partner Hannah Fray at Curve Gallery in Australia, titled Transverse Orientation, I decided I would share some photographs I have taken of her work.

Hannah has been working with the theme of moths and insects for a while now and has been creating fantastic layered prints and artist books. Hannah says about this body of work:

"I have explored through various mediums of printmaking the repetitive nature of the moth. These insects, moths in particular, were collected over a period of 12 months. I documented where they fell and photographed them in the position in they landed. During this research period, patterns started to form and clusters of moths were found in similar geographical areas leading to an interest in biodiversity.

The repetitive nature of these works allude to the transient and fragile nature which these insects exist. By layering and repeating the image the moth starts to become like an icon and almost obscured by its own form. The moths are deliberately layered and stacked as though falling through some kind of abyss."

Photographing the work

I used to photograph Hannah's prints by laying them out on the floor and standing over them. The problem with this was that there would be minor inconsistencies from shot to shot with how I would be positioned relative to the print. Also from a practical point-of-view it could be awkward to balance over certain pieces of work. 

This is where my latest tripod comes in handy! A few months ago I bought a Manfrotto 190 tripod which came with a useful feature; the ability to rotate the central column at 90 degrees.

This allows me to face the front of the camera down at the ground, so when photographing Hannah's work all I need to do is line up the next piece of work under the camera and (if needed) change the lens to accommodate different sizes of work. This gives greater consistency, which also made photographing her long pieces of work easier as I decided to photograph these in sections and stitch them together in post. This results in higher quality compared to a single photo cropped in at the sides (see below).

Individual photos, top...




Individual photos stitched together.


Lighting is another important aspect to consider. For consistency and even lighting across the work I like to fire my speedlite flash upwards and bounce the light off the ceiling of our flat. This creates a larger light source directly above the work, providing a diffused and flattering light source.

At other times it is more appropriate to photograph the work standing up or at an angle like the photo below. This could be because the work may have a three-dimensional aspect to it which requires photographing at different angles to capture different details of the work. 

The seamless white background is simply a large piece of paper or card bent upwards, which avoids having a distracting line cutting through the back of the photo. Again I will use my flash for consistency, firing the light against the ceiling or directly towards the work. I will always fire the flash remotely off-camera so the lighting is controlled and does not change if I move around. If the flash was fired directly at the work from the top of my camera the lighting would look harsh and unflattering.

So please take a look through the gallery below to see a few more examples of her work. If you want to see more go to She has a contact form there if you would like to get in touch. She would really like to hear what people think about her work.

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