Meet Trevor; he's a dead deer

April 17, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

HELLO. A little odd this project. For my A-level photography project which was natural and manmade, I hired a stuffed deer from a taxidermist. Below is an extract from my annotation. My sister named him Trevor randomly and every one stuck to that name and much preferred calling him Trevor than the stuffed deer.

I contacted a taxidermist out of interest to see how much it would cost to hire a deer. I was initially planning to hire an adult fallow deer, possibly a male but as my project slowly came together, I realised it would be much easier to hire a fallow fawn (baby deer) as it is lighter and smaller, so easier to transport. The fawn would cold £60 to hire and for a college project, this was rather expensive. Fortunately half the cost was paid by student funding but this was still an expensive project and I wanted to make the most of hiring the deer.

I then contacted a few friends asking whether they could help me with my project. The photographs I had planned would be ideally photographed with a short focal length. My best photographs are taken with my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM which is an L series lens. My other lens is the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens which is a rather rubbish kit lens. There is about a £1100 difference between the lenses which gives an idea of the quality of lenses. I wanted to borrow an L series lens but instead my friend, Peter Orr, offered to join me and would lend me his equipment throughout the day.

I hired the fawn for two days. The first evening I took the fawn to a local petrol station and the surrounding area. For this small shoot, I didn’t have a choice but to use my kit lens, so the colours of the photographs are rather dull and poor. I also attempted light trails with car lights. This consisted of my camera with a slow exposure on a tripod. This was easier said than done. It was slightly windy which meant the fawn would shake slightly and in the photographs the fawn was not sharp. I solved this by having a slower exposure. That evening was a nice way of getting a feel of the type of photos I wanted to capture.

The next day was my full day of photography with the fawn and I had a whole day planned in central London. Peter, my dad and I set off to the London Eye and Houses of Parliament area as the first location. On the way there I stopped off at the south bank graffiti skate park. As it was a Sunday morning, there weren’t any skateboarders, so I took several photos.  We stopped at the London Eye, a carousel and the Houses of Parliament. We then headed to the British Museum. I wanted to try photograph the fawn with the modern glass roof but this proved very difficult. The fawn is about the size of a small dog and the roof is very high, but instead I concentrated on a different type of photo I wanted to capture; the fawn within a large area of manmade structures. In the British Museum, I was drawn to the different patterns and structures in the concrete. I also had the opportunity to photograph the fawn from a very high point of view.

The next location was Tate modern and St. Pauls Cathedral where again I was drawn to manmade patterns and structures. The hall of Tate Modern is a huge open area where I tried to capture the fawn as a small, tiny creature in a huge area of manmade structures.

On the last day with the fawn, I took him on the tube and took several photos of the fawn at the station and on the underground.

Reactions...

As this was a rather unusual project, I had some unusual reactions from people. On the first evening, a gentleman literally jumped out of his skin when he saw the fawn at the Wimbledon Chase station.  We were waved to leave by the staff at the petrol station and had several odd stares. On the full photography day, many people took photos of the deer and we had several comments like, ‘oh, it’s so cute!’, ‘can I stoke it?’, ‘is it dead?’, ‘why are you doing this?’ At the British Museum, security told us we had to talk to the information desk before pursuing any photography. We didn’t and the security in the main hall did not question us what so ever. I planned a photo of the deer with people walking past but as soon as the deer was left on the ground, people would crowd around. Some would even kneel next to it to pose for a photo. As we had to deposit a £900 cheque in case of damage, my dad and I got incredibly annoyed when people attempted to stroke it.

For most of the day, I purposely got into peoples way, so they couldn’t photograph the deer. A woman even surprisingly asked me to move so she could get a better view of the fawn. Tate Modern may have been the best reaction. After at least an hour in Tate modern photographing the fawn, a security guard came and asked us to leave. Fortunately I had already taken the photos I wanted. We asked him why I couldn’t take photos and his only response was, ‘This is the Tate Modern, this is the Tate Modern. You couldn’t go to the British Museum with this deer’. He wasn’t very pleased when we told him we just had been there. On the second day, a guy on the tube was really supportive and told us how he was doing the exact same. He had bought a stuffed fox and took several photos of it on the train. As there was a recent football match, when the tube arrived to Fulham Broadway there were hundreds of people waiting to get on. I decided to get off in case the fawn would get damaged. At the station, we talked to security who were more than happy for us to take photos of the deer.

Peter Orr: http://www.peterorrphotography.com/

Equipment used: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 L IS USM Lens, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens, Canon EOS 550D & Canon EOS 5D Mark 3


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