Photography Articles

This article is published in "Creative Photography" Quarterly Magazine, No. 6, Spring 2006, Tehran.

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Masoud Soheili

Canada, 2005

Digital Technology opened a new world to photographers. During its development, new products were manufactured to replace film technology. But, do the designers and manufacturers know the different applications of these new productions?

Scanner was made to make picture from photos and texts. Later, it was used to take pictures from old documents, photos or pictures to make a digital file, which was done before by a film camera, copy stand and 32 ASA negative film. But, its application still didn’t finished. Using scanner instead of camera was continued. Things, which their picture of their surface was mentioned, put on scanner: tile, ceramic… Advertising companies and graphic designers, as well as photographers, put tiles on the flat of scanner and by using Photoshop made ads.

To test, I used from an Epson 1670 Scanner. I started with the subjects with small dimensions, as shells and I added the dimensions with different subjects little by little. For the last test, I put a camera on the scanner. The result was good. Scanner acted as a camera.

I put some shells on the flat plate of the scanner. First, I put a black board on the shells. Then, I did it with the board. The result was almost the same, but the first was a little better. The background was black in both methods. If we don’t want the black space between the parts (shell, spaghetti…), we can reduce it by filling it out by some other shells… Unless for glass, liquids (in glass vessels), metals and some dark things, it was desirable.

White background is suitable for metals, glass and liquids. Choosing background for dark subjects is mostly based on personal taste. Yellow background is suitable for a black camera. Due to the lightening of scanner, always we should correct the color of the background, or we can change it complete by Photoshop. Using textiles as the background is not always accepted, because it texture would be shown in detail, but fine textile has a rather good result.

Due to the high light of scanner, small dust (on the subject, on the flat of scanner or on the background) would be photographed. If there’s no background, and the door of scanner is open, dusts over the space of scanner would be photographed too. So, we should clean always the subject and the scanner.

Photos are fine, until 2 to 3 cm over the flat. More sharpness could be accessed by using Photoshop (Sharpness Key), but dusts will be determined more and we can see some white points in the background. Anyway, it should be corrected by Photoshop too.

As we can choose the desired dpi in this method of photography (with better scanners, this ability increases), we can take photos of details. By using resolution of 3200, we can take picture from the details of a 2x2 cm stone. We can have fine details of the texture, which is itself a Digital Painting, as well as a good Macro photography. Camera could not take such a photo.

The main difference this method of photography with taking photos by a camera is that we cannot control the light. Scanner acts as the photographer. But, the photographer can control it somehow by changing the location of the subject. This method is very useful in advertising photography, which needs high light, in Macro Photography to take details, and for painters to have abstract pictures. Photographer will develop it in their work!

With creative use of scanner, the photographer could create artistic works, even if there’s limited control on the lightening of scanner. He/she can create new different work, which is completely different from that is taken by a camera. In macro photography, scanner can take detailed fine pictures, which the camera couldn’t. Complete control on changing color, contrast and level of the subject before scanning is available, more powerful than the white balance of a digital camera.

Do not forget:
1- Clean the subject and remove its dust completely!
2- Clean the flat plate of scanner. A hair-drier will remove the dust well.
3- Put the subject very slow on the flat of scanner, so the glass would not crushed.
4- Do not put heavy things on the scanner.
5- If you scan wet or oily things, clean the glass as soon as possible.
6- Using no background results a homogenous black color of it.