… but if you have a flat bed scanner you have a digital camera. It’s got a light source, a light sensor, and builds up an image from individual elements. You can put objects on the scanner, scan them, and then use the resulting digital files in creative compositions.
As I understand it, photography means “Writing with Light”, (the name of the Gale Photography newsletter – subscribe here!), so scanning is photography, but as Bones from Star Trek would say, “It’s photography, but not as we know it”.
This maple leaf was scanned, its outline cut out, and then had a graduated background added in Photoshop. The background was made of colours found in the leaf. It was nice and simple to do, and it made an excellent greetings card.
This wire christmas decoration was done in the same way. Scanners often have a large depth of field, so you can get a “macro” shot of a small object with everything in crisp focus. The decoration was only about 2 inches high.
Scanners aren’t very good at imaging things that move, especially people. But it can be done. Here I’ve cut an orange and placed it cut side down on the scanner. I held my hand over the orange, and started the scan. While it was scanning I moved my hand as if I was using a juicer. I held a wicker basket lid over my hand as a background. The movement of my fingers makes for an interesting image. If you do this sort of thing remember to give your scanner a wipe afterwards!
Here I’ve scanned a little wooden fish into Photoshop, and then copied and resized to give 3 versions. I’ve dropped them on to a background which was an image of the roof of the Great Court at the British Museum. I made the background a bit wobbly to make it look as if it was water, and there we have it, a geodesic fishbowl!
Finally, these images are part of my “Blue Florals” series of Fine Art images. I took a series of flowers and scanned them. It was important to avoid squashing them, so I scanned with the lid off and held a black cloth over the flowers. The background is a shot of some blue glass with lots of Gaussian blur added. The text colour is a colour from the flower. The text was taken (with permission from the publishers – Dorling Kindersley) from a plant encyclopedia.
So, if you have a scanner gathering dust on the corner of your desk, turn it on and take some photographs!