Changing Faces – Themes

Leading on from the heading I created (shown in my previous post) I decided it could be the basis for my theme. I need imagery to illustrate the contents of the article or at least, suggest and compliment the article’s content. The heading has been instrumental in my decision making since I made it. It’s also the case that I really liked it and didn’t want to have to change it to fit with a different theme.

I realized that despite my use of ink in water to achieve the effect. It looked rather like oily curling smoke like that of a candle. I felt that a candle would be a good metaphor for the issue of diminishing natural resources in the world. A candle is a made object that gives off heat and light which people need, but it is a finite resource. Once the candle burns down to a bass, the fire runs out of fuel and suddenly all is dark.

I pondered for a while around the choice of illustration versus photography. I finally came to the decision to use photography based on the simple logic that the article has a very serious tone. It describes a dilemma we face and the possible consequences of not acting. It also seems to scold humanity in general for our lack of foresight. In my mind, illustration is more lighthearted than photography. This is not a rule, but my drawing style is generally quite light and airy and I feel like the most powerful way of sending a message when it has so much importance is photography. It captures people’s imagination and will always be more detailed and stunning.


I went out and bought different colored candles to experiment with. I also borrowed a DSLR from the studio. I wanted my images to be as crisp and high definition as possible. My experiments with my camera phone were shoddy at best. This was largely down to the low light and high contrast of the images. The idea was a light in the darkness.

Here are a few examples of my images. They were all taken in the bathroom of my halls. It was the only place I had where I could block out all other light. It wasn’t pretty. I was kneeling with my arm over bucket to catch the dripping wax with the candle burning one hand while I took the pictures with the other. I was really happy, however, with the outcome. I took over 60 photographs in total and selected 12 of the best to create my piece with.

Once I had selected the 12 final images I had to work out what to do with them. Despite my effort to block out other light, an unintended consequence of the tiny room I was in, was the single candle lit the place with orange light. As the candle burnt down, the background of each image became progressively darker. I really liked the flow this created between the images so I combined them.

Candle layered Flattened

Here is the result. I could not be happier with it. The steady transition really tells the story I was aiming to get. I really wasn’t expecting much from my attempts given the slightly weird lengths I had to go to achieve them, but it turned out great. The last image in the series was particularly difficult. I actually had to do a little Photoshop bodging as the candle I had bought just would not die down. It was still blazing, so I took the second to last image (bottom left) and adjusted it.

At this point I wandered if there was anything more I could do. I decided to try out playing with the coloration. The image is fine like this. But I wanted to maintain a consistent color scheme throughout my spreads.

Candle layered cyan

Here’s what I eventually came up with. I was absolutely thrilled with the result. I simply removed the natural color and introduced a deep cyan tint as well as fiddling with the contrast. It seems to give a richer feel to the image the light is softer but the effect of the change in light from start to end is even more profound.


Author: David Rothwell

I am a Graphic Communication student at Cardiff Metropolitan School of Art and Design If you like any of my work, have feedback (good or bad) or would like to get in touch, please do

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