Art of the Edit

As a child I was fortunate not only to meet, but also to receive a sculpting lesson from the potter Will Young.

Will, had a pottery at Combe, near Buckfastleigh in Devon. He was self taught, focusing mainly on Devon characters which he sculpted in a style known as Runnaford or Pickwick Pottery.

Along with his depictions of pirates and ‘Uncle Tom Cobley and all’ he also created the marvellous ‘pointy nose people’.

The result of this lesson was the slightly misshapen figurine below. Note, in juxtaposition to the body is an expertly crafted hat and ears. (Will finished this part for me ). He also painted it as I was unable to return to complete it due to an illness.

Over the years I thought my special character was probably lost, but to my joy I recently rediscovered it whilst sorting through the contents of some old boxes.

After finding my figure I (obviously) wanted to photograph it for a social media post. The initial shot consisted of a simple lighting set up. A plain background consisting of a couple of sheets (to increase the thickness) of A4 printer paper and the torch on my phone diffused through a folded sheet of tracing paper.

Pointy man captured, I needed a suitable location to put him in. Scrolling through my phone I found an image I liked for a back drop. Although low quality ( it was shot on an old iPhone 4S) it had enough detail for what I wanted ( you can never photograph enough doorways).

Above are the thumbnails of the two (unedited) images used to create the final composite along with the finished result (larger version below). Note that the cropped out lower step is now the top step in the final image and the hard shadows behind the figure provide a sense of depth. I feel there’s always a fine line between not enough editing and spending too much time on a project. You can spend hours adding more shadows etc but for the intended audience this was fine. On reflection It would be great to make this scene into a pottery diorama to give my pointy nosed friend a permanent home but that unfortunately is way beyond my ability so I’ll simply have to be content with the Photoshop version.

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