Friday 19 October 2012

Been a bit wet this summer, hasnt it?

Well, been a while...  The summer-off from making models didn't really happen, as I ended up wading into a couple of big projects, more on which soon when they're finished.  Real life also got in the way of updates, having left one day job, restarted another and started new at something else, so verrrrry busy...  Anyway, in dubious celebration of what has been a very wet summer, lets have a project about flooding!

When I was but a younger nerd than I am now, and seriously getting into post-apocalyptic fiction (I blame being a depressed midlander, as do most of my friends and family who despair of the fact that I would apparently welcome the End of Days as a fantastic photographic opportunity rather than a calamity), I did a project at college focusing on sea-level rise.  I did a series of pictures of abandoned flooded cities, in a variety of media, and did a bit of photography using a home-made water tank with some toy buses and cardboard buildings in.  Naturally being something I’d made from recycled Perspex with a hot-glue gun in an afternoon at college whilst avoiding real work, it leaked like a sieve and ruined a table and the soaked the kitchen floor, and the project was abandoned.

When I was doing the model village project, I experimented with incorporating some of the flooded world imagery, imagining a bit of Britannia which had suffered from catastrophic sea level rise.  The attempt was a bit cobbled-together at the last minute, and used a plant bedding tray.  It wasn't very satisfactory though, and wasn't included in the final image selections.

Fast-forward to 2010 and I rediscovered the pictures, and now armed with a recently acquired underwater camera bag designed to take a compact digital, I thought I might find a use for the mothballed Britannia miniatures.  So what resulted was much mucking around with models, and annoying my in-laws by using their huuuuuge swimming-pool of a bath to shoot some pics, armed only with a box of old toys and models, a basic compact Fuji, the waterproof camera bag, some Christmas tree lights and a playlist of the Prodigy (for that suitably apocalyptic atmosphere), I set to work. 

Everything had to be glued down (good old hot glue gun), and then further weighted down in the bath.  Note the highly complex lighting rig, which was a set of blue LED Christmas tree lights.  Bubbling effects in the water used an old BBC Vis-FX trick, of dropping water-soluble aspirin into the water just before shooting.


Most of the pictures were based off the original sketches and drawings I'd done way back at college, showing the aftermath of the supposed collapse of society as the sea continued to rise- cliches and all (hospital trains, barricades, etc etc... yes, I know, so very Muse music video, and slightly cringe-worthy to me now).  Some of the experiments, such as the 'looking up at a submarine' above really didn't work.

 The biggest problem with the shoot (of which there were oh SO many) was that the final pictures really didn't look like they were shot underwater.  Maybe with a better underwater camera, it would be better.  The other major realisation was that I was beyond stupid, setting myself a hideously complex project of shooting underwater, and having everything underwater.  Back in the golden age of Thunderbirds and Stingray, all they did was put a fish tank between the set and the camera, and the models never got wet.  Quite why that never occurred to me I shall never know, but its an avenue to explore in the future... One idea I've had is to actually shoot something similar but actually out in a real environment, but that's another long-term project.

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