A Little Background

I've gotten a few questions lately about photography, specifically the white background material I use in my work-in-progress shots of knitting projects. So I wanted to show you what it looks like.

This large poster was used as part of the display windows in Aldo shoe stores around 2001 or so. At the time I was working there as a stock associate, and when the time came to throw these out, I asked if I could keep a few. What struck me about them was how resilient they were, at least in terms of color quality. And considering the amount of time I've had them, I'd say that assessment was accurate. The value of the colors hasn't diminished despite being exposed to direct sunlight while hung up on my walls over the years.

But the real prize is that the back of the poster has remained a perfect cool white. I'm guessing it has everything to do with the material that the images are printed on. It resembles the white plastic used for weight gain formula jugs, but it's much more brittle. In fact, you can see from these photos where I've cracked the left margin edge (the bottom edge in these photos). Yes this one is battle-scarred. Good thing I have another one.

When I started photographing my craft projects back in 2010, I dug these out and cleaned them off. They ended up being the perfect backgrounds not only because of the white values, but because the rigidity of the material produced seamless gradients of white. They've served as backgrounds for countless photographs in the past three years, from basil to beads, and of course knitting.

Not bad for something destined for a dumpster over ten years ago.