Homage to a Precious Object


You should make an image or set of images which pay homage to an object that is precious to you. There should be no text and so you must communicate the value of this object by your images alone. Think about scale, angle, light, framing, the environment, the context etc. 

Upload your images to your blog or make prints/contact sheet before next session for class-critique.

Note – you can do this task on analogue film or digital cameras but pay attention to the qualities of the photograph that we talked about in class

First Thoughts

I intend to work on digital as I am happy with my images from the ‘greater than the whole’ project where we used analogue cameras. Choosing an object will not be a simple process as I am not a sentimental person and do not keep objects that do not serve a purpose. After some thought I decided to photograph my wrist watch.

Rolex Submariner 16613. Made June 2005.


The reason I choose my watch as it is something I have owned for a few years and when I purchased it I had achieved one of my life goals. In addition to this when my Nephew was born I told him that I would give him this watch when he turned 21. This is about as close to sentimental as I get.

I decided I wanted to use a commercial, pack-shot style of image that is commonly used to photograph items of jewellery. I have some simple studio lights and used these for my shot. After several attempts and lighting adjustments I finally captured an image I was happy with.

I started using one light  from the left side with a reflective umbrella modifier but the light never fell across the dial correctly so I changed the angle and switched to an open reflector. Now angled down from above the light hit the surface better but was overexposing even on low power. I used a light meter which told me to change my aperture to F29 to compensate. Now with the light correct for the dial I wanted to bring some extra illumination to the bezel. I introduced a second light from the left and used a shoot through umbrella as a modifier. With the second light set up I was happy with the final result.

Following on from our lecture around ‘what is a photograph’ and ‘deconstructing an image’ I have attempted to add my own analysis below using some of the key areas.

It is a utilitarian image, of which the the object is within the frame and has been enlarged. There is nothing else in the image to give a sense of perspective but the size of a wrist watch is generally understood. I also choose to shoot in colour as this offers a better representation of the object.


It is a wrist watch manufactured by the Swiss company Rolex.


For me there is a duality of meaning. The watch which is an instrument of time is precious to me but equally time is in itself. As someone who is older I feel the pressure that time is shorter and that I have perhaps 20 years to enjoy a new career and to achieve as much as I can. Also the object has a monetary value but in this image I want it to represent the value of what time I have and how important it is that I use it well.


If I was not familiar with the image and I saw it briefly for the first time I would have been drawn to it through recognition of the brand and style from its colours. Although I would not call myself a keen horologist I have always had a fascination for valuable time pieces.


The object is a thing of beauty and outstanding craftsmanship. Each watch is carefully put together ensuring that every one of its tiny moving parts have been to the most exacting of tolerances. The shape and colours compliment each other and the design holds huge appeal. I imagine the second-hand sweeping smoothly over the dial and just beneath the surface the complicated sequence of cogs and wheels interact seamlessly in an almost mesmerising dance to the genius of its construction.



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