Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lost Worlds Photo

This is a photo I took in 1986 or very early 1987. This photo was made with my (then new) Canon T-70 camera. The photo was made using only two small light sources. A small watt bulb bounced off the wall out of frame one in the lantern and the other a candle in the lantern in the frame. The Canon T-70 could be set to shoot almost in the dark as long as you had a good tripod and didn’t mind 20 second plus exposure times. I generally used 100 asa B&W film for the fine grain. The paper was this terrible Czechoslovakian stuff that was used to make postcards by itinerate photographers. I purposely chose it because it made instant antique looking pictures. There is no Photoshop manipulation and I like the antique look and softness overall. Now in the digital age things are a lot easier. I did add the date for archive purpose after the photo was scanned.


Items counter clockwise from the left: Gold pocket watch and chain, circa 1900 with curious caged monkey fob in low carat gold. Monkey is faux Persian turquoise (i.e. glass) but looks just like the person in the painting “The Scream”, very Chthonian. The book is a hand-written book in Arabic, probably rhetoric circa 1820s-1850s: not exactly the Necronomicon but a good prop nonetheless. Sitting on the right side of the book is a Cthulhu figure made by Michael W. Moses circa the mid 1980s. Below the book is a real (although new) calabash pipe with meerschaum insert and faux amber mouth piece. At the time calabashes were impossible to get in the U.S. because the gourd they are made from came from Libya: Our countries were not on speaking terms in those days. To the right of that is a set of 1960s Smith & Wesson handcuffs. Original 19th century cuffs were very hard to locate when I made the photo so I used modern cuffs. The book to the right of those is a book called Lost Worlds. On the book is a small ship’s light made of brass, which made a good hand lantern. To the left of that is an original Montenegrin Gasser pistol with ivory grips. These are large, impressive and huge pistols from the 1870s. Above the pistol is a book from the 1930s of ethnographic women prints. They were considered very naughty in their day. To the left of that was a nice pre WWII Zeiss Ikon Ikonta B camera. Next to that is a regimentally marked British military candlestick from the Crimean War era. To the right of the candlestick is a kinjal hilted dagger, probably Circassian about mid 19th century. Behind that is a piece of pottery I bought in the late 1970s that was half skull and half helmet. It was very ambiguous and looked dug. I have forgotten the name of the woman who made it. In the far back is an old Carrara marble lamp, probably from the 1920s. You can’t see it but it has a stained glass shade from the early 1970s that I put on it. Greatly out of focus is an Armenian ayran (yoghurt drink) cup from the mid 1700s that I used as a pen holder.

I hope this lengthy post helps some people putting together props. Where possible I gave links to the most stable sites I could find, but use Google to find more information on original items and props.


  1. So I hover my pointer over all the little concavities, and the little fishies come to nibble at the pointer, but no little tentacles come out to grab the little fishies and drag them down to a terrible doom! What gives?