I was inspired by an article I read about what’s inside an astronaut’s tool kit it explained how an astronaut while fixing something on the International space station left his tool kit outside in the emptiness of space. It then proceeded to fall to Earth and burnt up in our atmosphere. The cost of the tool kit was over $100,000 which led to Michael Soluri to do a series of still life portraits of the tools an astronaut uses in space. They were simple photographs with a white background shot on medium format with high contrast.
These images inspired me to think of other unusual jobs in the world and the tools they use to perform their job. This could range from jobs such as strippers to embalmers. Other jobs I had in mind are tree surgeons, taxidermists, astronomers, fertility doctors, and radiologist. I am still in the process of trying to figure out some more examples and where I will be able to find them within the timetable.
At the moment I want to shoot on medium format possibly even large format for greater detail but that will depend on my ability with the large format camera. Having never used a large format camera before it might be wiser to stick with the medium format.
I am still however undecided on the style in which I will shoot the tools. I would like to photograph them out of context but I feel for some of the tools and equipment I will not be able to do that with. This may be possible with some clever lighting techniques but I will need to take some test shots to experiment so I am not caught out on a shoot. It is also a possibility that will end up photographing the tools in use but that is not how I imagine them looking in the photographs. While the audience is looking at the tool I still want there to be an air of mystery as they try to figure out what it is used for. I will however be adding a lengthy caption to accompany the photograph. I imagine this set up looking similar to Taryn Simons “American index of the hidden and unfamiliar.”
I feel this will work as a book because I think like me there are people out there who are interested in these types of jobs. They are not your average job and perhaps there is not much media coverage on them. We know they exist but know little about the work and how it is preformed. The camera has always been a useful tool for satisfying peoples curiosities of the unknown and I hope this book will bring forth some of the more unusual jobs to the table.