Sunday, April 17, 2011


I made this photo in about 1986 with my Canon  T-70 camera with B & W 100 ASA fine grain film.  It was printed on east European postcard paper, the type that you could address on the back so you send in the mail.  I used this type of paper because it made a 20s or 30s type postcard prop and gave it an instant period look.  The T-70 works great with low light when tripoded and this one had an auto exposure of just less than 30 seconds.  By using available, soft light and reflecting it with tin pie plates and white sheets, it gets a much less hard edge look and again a vintage feel.  This photo has no Photoshop manipulation and is pretty much as scanned other than the added tag.  The digital age has made photographing much easier, at least in post-production.
Clockwise from the left is a Montenegrin Gasser pistol with ivory grips from the 1870s.  They were popular in the Balkans and the Ottoman Empire from the 1870s to the turn of the century.  Above that is a cased 1930s German Zeiss Ikon camera.  The lamp base is a 1920s Carrera marble electric table lamp.  The skull is in fact a piece of pottery sculpture that is half skull and half Greek classical helmet and aged to look ancient.  I bought that piece from the artist in the 1970s and don’t recall her name.  The binoculars are French circa the turn of the century and were made in Paris.  The pipe is a Turkish made calabash pipe from the early 1980s.  The central bronze figure is a Medieval Greek Orthodox bishop’s staff head or crosier of two snakes, with articulated tongues.  The piece is slightly crushed from having been buried for hundreds of years.* This wonderful artifact was later given as a gift to a good friend.  The watch to the left is a rolled gold hunter from the turn of the century.  The book in the center is Lost Worlds, which I had since the middle 1970s and had been an inspiration with it illustrations of ruins in deserts and jungles.

I hope this post gives people ideas about photographing their props for Victorian RPGs and Steampunk..   For example, you could put together a story about the strange skull and the staff piece.  Check out my first Lost Worlds Photo post for more items.
*Information on these Greek Orthodox Bishop’s accouterments is fairly lean.  The above piece is bronze and was originally gilded.  It is missing the small central cross that rises between the snakes.  Click on this link to go to a site about the crosier to the left and other eastern rite crosiers and staffs.

UPDATE:  I found some information on Wikipedia about snake headed crosiers.

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