Assignment 4,  Assignments,  Learning Log

Assignment 4 – Languages Of Light

I was intrigued by the natural form of fruit. Initially I used this as my starting point for exercise 4.3 – Egg or Stone. I wanted to see how different lighting accentuated elements such as the skin of the fruit; the texture, the colour and the general appearance of the layer protecting the fruit inside.

As I explored this idea further, I became interested in the differences, or similarities, between different fruits. I thought about how these comparisons may present themselves not only through the skin of the fruit, but also the inside. The difference between a lime and a lemon for example, or an orange. All very similar in terms of construction but very different fruits.

Also how the make up of the fruit is more than the skin and the shape that we see sitting in the fruit bowl. I started to think about the insides of fruit, and how it’s so perfectly formed for its purpose. The little juicy cells of citrus fruit, or the seeds nestled within an apple. This led to me realising that the best way to view this form is often not the way we prepare the fruit to eat; food preparation usually involves sectioning the fruit vertically, top to bottom, whereas the real beauty often shows through best when the fruit is cross sectioned horizontally.

I was not setting out to try and take food advertisement style images, I wanted to capture the natural form and shape of the fruit. This led me to discover the work of Edward Weston, in particular his ‘Shell’ and ‘Pepper’ images. (Kirby, K. (2019) Edward Weston. At: (Accessed 16/06/2021) I especially liked the abstract style images and the contrast from the lighting. I knew that I couldn’t replicate the image style with my lens and lighting but it inspired me to try to seek alternative views of fruit many of us look at every day.

“The camera should be used for a recording of life; for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself, whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh.”

Edward Weston

I did like the way the subjects sit illuminated against a dark background which is a method I used in Ex 4.3 and I wanted to continue this in this assignment.

I chose to explore 3 pieces of fruit – a lime, an orange and an apple. I wanted to continue with the striking full colour subjects and take a closer look at the textures inside. So within the whole series are three mini series’; working from the outside of the fruit into the middle.

Technical Challenges

I went about this as a direct continuation of Ex 4.3, with the same lighting set up. This was a huge mistake. For this plan to have worked I would have needed far superior lighting set up and ideally a macro lens.

To get the sort of light, shadows and texture I was after I was shooting on ISO 400 and the images were shot dark with a view to lighten them in editing. For some reason I just really struggled to get my camera set up with settings that produced the effects / results I was after.

Usually, ISO 400 doesn’t present me with any difficulties whatsoever; when shooting with natural light I can really push the ISO and bump exposure even further during editing before I see any image degradation. However with these images they were grainy before I even started editing.

This is where I became acutely aware of my lack of knowledge in studio lighting and shooting in this way. Recalling the little studio lighting experience I have, I remember high power flashes and ISOs of 100-200 max. This seems to be a whole new skillset I currently really don’t have, and this is painfully obvious in the resulting poor quality grainy images.

The lack of macro lens meant I resorted to cropping the images to create the close ups and create the sort of images I was after. This just made the quality even worse! But I did like the way cropping them created completely new images for the series with new compositions from the same image.


All in all I was pleased with the series – if viewed as small images from far away!

I wanted to explore the inside of the fruit in a striking way and I feel these images achieved that.

Once again I found myself up against difficult time restraints meaning I wasn’t able to learn new lighting techniques and reshoot this series in time for submitting this assignment and so have had to chalk this one up to experience – or lack of.

I really enjoyed the process of playing with the light and exploring different photography methods in the way of close up photography, even if it turns out I’m not currently very good at it!

I particularly like the chopped apple image positioned in the bottom left corner. Despite the quality difficulties, the sparkle from the juice inside the apple can be seen on the cut surface and I like the simple colour palette of the image and the way the dark pips tie in with the dark background.

The lime lit from above is probably one of my favourites of the set, and had I produced the image correctly, I also like the cut lime image in its composition and the amount of negative space and again the way the light catches the cells and juice inside the fruit.

If I have the opportunity I would like to revisit this assignment before assessment having self taught myself better lighting techniques, and having got hold of a macro lens to use.


Fig.1-3 Kirby, K. (2019) Edward Weston. At: (Accessed 16/06/2021).


Edward Weston (s.d.) At: (Accessed 16/06/2021).

Tate (s.d.) Edward Weston 1886–1958. At: (Accessed 16/06/2021).


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