Making use of scale
For every texture there’s an ideal area, and therefore an appropriate scale, from centimetres to kilometres
When you think about it, it’s obvious: texture depends on scale and distance. As the main landscape on page 81 illustrates, subjects in their own right, like rice stalks, look like surface texture when seen from far enough away. The opposite also holds true. Some textures come alive only when you close in on them so that the eye focuses on the macro detail.
In the example here, of a Japanese ‘hibachi’ or brazier (shown at two scales), the lighting is very different in the two versions. In the wider view (above), a high broad light, plus a secondary broad light under the camera, help reveal the form of the hibachi, whereas the craftsmanship that went into the surface texture needs something different.
Only a close view reveals the carpenter’s skill, which extends to the creation of what looks like wood grain, but which in fact has been carved by hand. The mixture of this rough, wood-grain texture and the smooth rounded curves of the carved gourd calls for a flash (modified with a softbox), aimed from a low angle – in effect, a hybrid of the textural lighting styles shown on page 80.
Framing can also help emphasise texture if you completely crop out any background, so that the texture becomes a kind of pattern.
An overall and close view of an exquisitely carved Japanese hibachi; one scale reveals form, the other texture