Update from the Garstang: a Tate Workshop and a new video

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It’s been a busy time of late.

Firstly, I wanted to share some exciting news with you. The Garstang has put in a successful bid for a week-long workshop at the Tate Liverpool (eek!). The workshop is based around the Book of the Dead exhibition, but will be art-focused, without the artefacts. It’ll feature my photography and the art of Leigh Gallagher, a comic-book artist. It’s running from 4–10 December, and I’ll be doing a photography workshop or two for it (details to come). Roland Enmarch will also be doing a couple of talks on the Book of the Dead and Egyptian funerary beliefs, and Leigh, I believe, will be doing some workshops as well.

If you’re in the area, I’d love for you to come along. Please do let me know if you’ll be visiting.

In other news, the Book of the Dead exhibition has closed at the Garstang and is moving across to the Victoria Gallery and Museum, the University of Liverpool’s other museum. It’s opening on 21 October, so if you didn’t get to see it at the Garstang, you’ll have another chance to come along.

There were a good few objects from the exhibition that I wanted to photograph for two reasons.

  1. As the Tate Workshop will be without artefacts, we wanted to get a few more photographs to use.
  2. I’m planning to publish a companion book to the exhibition, and I didn’t want to wait a whole year – which is how long it’s on at the VGM – to be able to produce it.

So, for the last few weeks, I’ve had a more intensive time at the Garstang (hence the lack of recent updates), and have photographed a number of objects, including:

  • Panels from the coffin of Ipi
  • Shabtis
  • Amulets
  • The Book of Breathing
  • Another page from the Book of the Dead
  • More photos of the wooden coffin lid
Three long, rectangular wooden panels, each with a row of hieroglyphs painted on them. The middle board also has a large pair of eyes.
The panels from the coffin of Ipi


My first video

I’ve used one of the images of the coffin lid to do something I’ve been meaning to do for a little while now: get my head around making short videos in Photoshop.

To get my skills up together, I made a video of the steps I went through to process one of the coffin lid images. It’ll be of interest to anyone curious to have a peek at my post-processing workflow.

I picked this image for a few reasons:

  • It’s a focus-stacked image, so I could include the stacking process. Put briefly, focus stacking is a photographic technique used when you can’t get the whole subject in focus in a single shot. You take multiple photos, adjusting the focus a little each time, so you have a collection of images that, put together, have the whole subject in focus. You then load the images into your software (I use Helicon Focus, although Photoshop can do a reasonable, if much slower, job), which picks the sharpest part from each image to create a composite;
  • I wanted to include a black-and-white conversion in the video;
  • Although I usually spend a fair bit of time tinkering around in Photoshop with my images, I could get some basic adjustments done more quickly and easily than some other objects, so as to avoid boring you all with lots of micro-adjustments;
  • She’s just so pretty …

So, here it is, my first video. Some of it is sped up somewhat. Watching my computer churn for several minutes at a time isn’t fun, even for me. And the Photoshop adjustments run at a quicker speed too. This turned an eleven-minute video into three-and-a-half minutes. Much more digestable.

And I found some nice music to set it to, as well.

Having acquired these new skills, I might make a few more videos in the near future. I think my next project will be to make a tour of the exhibition using a mixture of photos of the exhibition and images of the objects themselves.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video.


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