A Photobook: The Angel

My Studio Practice project is a photobook based on a fairy tale ‘The Angel’ by  H.C.Andersen. It includes the story itself and my images.

While preparing for the project I encountered difficulties in finding suitable models, so I thought it would be interesting to create my own ‘models’. After making a list of possible variants I considered making the models out of scrap metal to take the advantages of the struggle of opposites between live and artificial, plants and metal, soul and inanimate object. I remembered a computer game ‘Machinarium‘ which served me as inspiration. I also looked at several steampunk interiors (an apartment, restaurant and study set) to get some ideas concerning the environment for the photoshoot. So I created the dark environment with some metal details for the basement and street shoots and tried to convey a sense of stone-made buildings.

I had difficulties finding examples of fairy tale illustration photobooks or object story photobooks, however I looked at photographic project ‘Wonderland’ by Kirsty Mitchell which is based on fairy tales. I liked the richness of colour in the work because it’s  characteristically for most of the children books. I also visited children book illustration by Anita Paegle exhibition when I was in Latvia. Her drawings are very detailed meanwhile the pictures don’t look too busy. It makes the process of observing them

So after I saw some examples of professionals’ works I borrowed from them some approaches like using bright colours, some textures and environment style and shot for my photobook a set of 13 main images and 13 additional supporting mini-images to put them into text.

So here are the final photographs:

  • Opening image


I’ve chosen this image as the first one because it suits well the prodromal of the story and includes the subjects that appear through all the story. I used a speedflash while shooting it.

  • The second image shows the characters gathering flowers in the garden:


I like it because of bright colours, light’s reflection on the grass and characters and the perspective – everything looks ‘sinking’ in the grass creating a sence of summer.

  • The 3rd image shows how the characters found stale flowers


A lot of flowers have been gathered when they found it, the characters look on it from upside and they are shot from the upside as well.

  • The 4th image tells us that they took the broken flower with them alongside with another beautiful flower


  • The 5th image shows them on the dark narrow street


That was one of the most complicated photographs in this set to make – it required a lot of preparations and using uncommon lighting techniques including candles and a torch because I didn’t want to lit the scene too much. It depicts the characters going into the darkness of the street.

  • The 6th image shows the flower they found on the street


It has shallow depth of field making us focus on the flower, I tried to lit mainly it to leave the street very dark and catched rushlight in the windows.

  • The 7th image shows the character in his room in the basement


To create it I used 2 flashlights, 1 behind the window and 1 slightly lighting the character from the side. I’ve chosen this image because of the perspective, it shows the character almost miserable in this dark room and with a crutch.

  • The 8th image shows the character in his room imagining himself in the forest


I shoot it in the garden with natural lighting placing the camera on one level with the character to remove the sense of insignificance – the character is happy.

  • The 9th image depicts the flower on the window


I like this image because of the lighting and the perspective – soft light is coming through the window lighting the flower and the wall. You can also see a wall of the other ‘house’ outside.

  • The 10th image shows the character looking at the flower


It shows that the room behind the window is very dark and the only object in the room lit by the sun (or a flashlight in this case) is the flower. It reflects tender emotions to the flower.

  • The 11th image shows the same character, but now he is an angel holding the flower


I’ve chosen a close shot to focus the attention on the flower in the hands on the angel. White background means the heavens.

  • The 12th image shows another character, this time he has got the angel wings


The character is lit by the sun from the behind and means the presence of the God.

  • The final image shows flowering plants


And again, like when the characters were gathering flowers, a lot of colourful well-lit flowers appear.

  • As the additional images in-text I used the following images:

I applied a filter in the Photoshop to them to make them look like sketches in an old book. I think they work well adding a sense of nostalgia.

In the overall Ilike the dummy book I’ve created – it illustrates the fairy tale and I think it was a great idea. The nature and han-made objects look interesting and unusual in the harmony with each other.

Through the project I researched photobook production methods and learnt to make dummy books. I tried out different lighting techniques and began to learn using the Photoshop.

I also learnt how to select images to tell a storyline and the influence of the erspective on the meaning of images.

I gain some organization skills and learnet that you always need a backup plan. I had to collaborate with another people to prepare everything for the shootings and can say that now I’m more confident when working with others.

I assume that this skills will be very useful in my further education and work.

Contact prints:


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