(Extra credit to anyone who can name the movie from which I took this post’s title.)
When I first got engaged, I would come home and report in what light my ring looked best. I experimented for a while but, as it turns out, it was the elevator in the building where I was working at the time. It had that low-bright light of a good jewelry store.
The memory of my early engagement got me thinking about jewelry photography. While I am sure that there are people who specialize in photographing jewelry, I am not informed in that regard. So, I will have to leave the topic of famous jewelry photographers for another day. Instead, I would like to talk about some of the things I like to see in photos designed to sell jewelry — the information I think the pictures should impart.
As the pictures below make clear, I think jewelry should be modeled on a person. As I have mentioned, as far as I am concerned, the fact that it is worn is what makes jewelry a special art form. It is an extension of the human body like nothing else. Secondly, when photographed on a person, the jewelry’s scale and proportion becomes clear. Of course, the up close, magnified shots are useful to show quality and I understand why jewelry designers take them — it is damn hard to make a piece of jewelry and one wants to the show the detail. But, at the end of the day, that is not how we truly experience jewelry. We experience it on people and in the world. Movement. Light.
These little guys are very familiar items to anyone who knows me. I made them myself and, ever since their creation a couple months ago, I have worn them frequently. To an experienced metalsmith they are very simple pieces to fabricate. For me, not so much. I sketched out a design that was small and would require some tiny torch work specifically to have a reason to experiment with that skill.
The bottom of each earring, the “cloud,” was simply cut out of brass. As I have worn these, the brass has turned several different shades. I haven’t polished them and I just let them go until they finally landed at the patina you see today. When I cut out the brass, I left little tabs which were then looped over and the ends soldered down. Thus, the tubes were made that the earring wire goes through.
The earring wires are silver, of course, and they gave me the chance to practice using the torch to ball the silver. On these, a good eye would notice that the silver is a bit pitted, which, as I understand from my teacher, means that I let the torch stay on the metal just a nanosecond longer than I should have. Practice, practice.
What was I thinking when I designed them? I was trying to achieve that casual functionality that I appreciate in jewelry. The functional component (the earring wire) as design element. I wanted to create something that worked with negative space and that had some movement. In the end, I really like them but I think it could be done better. I intend to make another version in the future with, perhaps, a focal point that has a more fluid shape.