For the first assignment in my Photo 6 Digital Camera Fundamentals class, the instructor asked us to practice seeing with the camera. We could pick any single subject we wanted to photograph using basic daylight exposures, but it had to be an inanimate object. The purpose of the assignment was to move our way around a stationary subject to see how the compositions and the lighting changed as we moved around it.
There’s a line in one of my favorite Grandaddy songs, “Broken Household Appliance National Forest,” where Jason Lytle sings: “All of the microwaves are dead, just like the salamander said.” Inspired by that line, I decided to take our microwave out into a nearby park. My goal was to juxtapose a piece of common household technology with a scene in nature and see what happened. After testing out a couple of spots and seeing how the lighting presented itself, I placed the microwave on top of a park bench. The concrete bench had the added element of being a manmade structure that rose out of a scar in the earth.
I’m happy with the way the photographs turned out. Using my Nikon D50 digital SLR camera and Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.8 prime lens, I diligently made my way around the microwave, capturing its clunky awkwardness. People in the park stared at me strangely, but no one came over to ask what I was doing. The most surprising part of the shoot for me was making photographs of the power plug. The late afternoon sun cast some large shadows across the tip of the plug, making the small three-prong power station seem to loom much larger than its true nature when faced with the outside world.