Exercise 3: Juxtapositon

Continuing with narrative and illustration, this exercise called for an image showing a still life approach, someone with a possession, or the results of their work or hobby.
The aim was to show juxtaposition, defined as ‘the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect‘. The idea was to be portrayed in one image.

I’ve chosen a book called the ‘Time Traveler’s Wife‘ by Audrey Niffenegger, with the current cover shown below.

The story revolves around a couple who met when Clare was aged 6 and Henry was thirty-six,  who married when Clare was twenty-two, and Henry was thirty. Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into the past or future.

My intent was to use two items which highlighted the difference in age, whilst trying to retain the slightly vintage look of the original image. I also wanted to retain a similar depth of field and overall tonal range.

The chess set was selected as it’s not a game ordinarily associated with a younger age group. My next task was to find something related to a female child which could be incorporated with the chess set, rather than being set apart from it.

I tried using various toy figures but they were too close in colour scale and size to the chess pieces, which is where the idea of using the duck came from.
It is bright enough to be the main focal point in the image and larger than the chess pieces, and also manages to convey the child oriented message.

The image was taken on a Fuji XF1, and has been reduced in resolution for web purposes.
In post processing, using Photoshop CS6, a ‘cross process’ curve was applied to increase the vintage look, and background contrast.
The final result is shown below;

1/210 f/1.8 ISO 200

1/210th f/1.8 ISO 200

This is the first image I’ve taken where the placement of text also had to be considered.
This did take longer in the initial stages as the brain had to do a mental shift to include this element, but I’m pleased with the overall result.

I think that the two elements contrast well and show juxtaposition to good effect, without being too obscure. The image, because of its two opposing elements create enough intrigue for the viewer to want to look closer at the book.
The exercise has also been useful when considering future images where such a concept is required.


Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Vintage, London, UK, 2005

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