The camera you don’t take on holiday

Creative image making - the camera you don't take on holiday

Even I thought it sounded weird when I chose the title, but bear with me.

Any photographer worth his salt knows that you don’t shoot everything with the same lens, that’s why they make those huge camera bags after all. That being said I will not be discussing different types of lenses in this blog post though. Today I will be talking about a tool for creative image making unlike those in your camera bag (and an inexpensive one at that!); the flatbed scanner.

What it does

One might think that the only use for a flatbed scanner is to turn information on a piece of paper into data you can manipulate digitally on a computer. You’re not too far off however you can also use your flatbed scanner for image capture (i.e. photos). Just as you would do with a digital camera, you can capture stunning images of objects with a flatbed scanner. Let’s face it, nowadays every photography style has been burned out with millions of people doing essentially the same thing and posting it on social media on a daily basis. Thus, it is high time we shake things up.

Scanning removes distance information, so you no longer have visual perspective hence placing the subject in its truest and most upfront form. It gives you the ability to force focus onto the subject, revealing a level of detail that you may or may not have seen before. This gives a unique twist as we are not used to seeing imagery this way; with no perspective or depth of field.

Getting creative

Besides removing visual perspective, flatbed scanning also removes the context surrounding your subject. For example, if you shoot a photograph of a flower in a field, the image could be about the plant which sprouted the flower, the leaves on the plant or a multitude of objects surrounding your subject. If you scan the flower, all those distractions are suddenly gone and the flower becomes a single form, totally independent with viewers left to interpret the image as they see fit.

Graphic artists can have a field day with this technique as the sky’s the limit in what you can do with an image with no perspective, whether you’re laying it on other images or just using its shape as selection.

To sum up, far beyond traditional use like digitising documents and photographs, the scanner is, in itself, a camera. With so few people using them, it could be your new thing and set you apart from the crowd.