Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Saw Blade B2), 2007

Scanned image, 6.5" x 9" ca. @300ppi (id#1031)

Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards  still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (PN55 Film Ends), 2005

Scanned image, 9.4" x 15.7" ca. @300ppi (id#1032)

Polaroid PN55 film, which provides a negative, has detachable end pieces which are always stained variously by the developing chemicals. I assembled a number of them and scanned the result to make this image.
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards  still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Under Foot, 2008

Scanned image, 13" x 16.5" ca. @300ppi (id#1033)

The title is a nod to the late Irving Penn, who did a wonderful series that goes by this name - close-up pictures of chewing gum stuck flat against the sidewalk. Here one could say I have the same point of view (literally) but am looking in the opposite direction. I was one of his assistants years ago, and he - not just his work - has always been a great example to me.
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards  still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Vulcanized), 2004

Scanned image, 23.2" x 27.3" ca. @300ppi (id#1034)
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards  still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Bike Bell), 2004

Scanned image, 10" x 12.8" ca. @300ppi (id#1035)

A bicycle stamped in a bell, this calls to mind the antique bicycle from the credits to the old BBC TV series, "The Prisoner".
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards  still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Bowling Medal I), 2004

Scanned image, 6" x 4.8" ca. @300ppi (id#1036)

Bowling can be like ballet.

"A good poet is no more useful than a good bowler." - François de Malherbe, poet (1555 – 1628)
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Math Award Pin), 2004

Scanned image, 4" x 3.3" ca. @300ppi (id#1037)
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards  still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (La Infinità), 2008

Scanned image, 14" x 25.2" ca. @300ppi (id#1038)
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards  still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Baby Bracelet), 1998

Scanned image, 6.2" x 7.9" ca. @300ppi (id#1039)

My very first accessory.
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Falling Star), 2008

Scanned image, 4.8" x 4.8" ca. @300ppi (id#1040)
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards  still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Mini Crayons), 2004


Scanned image, 2.6" x 6" ca. @300ppi (id#1043

Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Aeroplanino I, 2006

Scanned image, 4.7" x 5.2" ca. @300ppi (id#1042)
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards  still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Two Red Ducks, 2006

Scanned image, 2.6" x 6" ca. @300ppi (id#1043


A flat-bed scanner will provide a sharp image of anything on the surface of the glass or within a millimeter or two. Anything further away will be progressively out of focus. This is a certain limitation, but for some three-dimensional objects will still work well, creating an effect similar to the shallow depth of field of a lens at a wide aperture, as with these tiny plastic ducks
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards  still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Worms, 2006

Scanned image, 6.7" x 10.6" ca. @300ppi (id#1044)
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Cuore IX), 2006

Scanned image, 2.2" x 1.9" ca. @300ppi (id#1045)

This image also serves as one frame of a brief animation, composed of a series of scans made at different exposures from dark to light, which when shown in a loop simulates a beating heart.
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Skull, 2008

Scanned image, 12.1" x 9.1" ca. @300ppi (id#1046

Unlike most of the other images in this series, which are essentially straight, unmanipulated scans, this was made by superimposing scans of both sides of a cereal-box-prize labyrinth game and blending them in a way that brought out these iridescent colors.
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards  still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Beehive (Thimble II), 2007

Scanned image, 2.7" x 1.8" ca. @300ppi (id#1047)

A very small item whose design is at once practical and a symbol of industry.
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Glass Dish V G1), 2005

Scanned image, 10.5" x 9.6" ca. @300ppi (id#1048)
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Plastic Ice Balls), 2006

Scanned image, 9" x 20" ca. @300ppi (id#1049)
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards  still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Air Lock), 2009


Scanned image, 6 5/16" x 9 1/2" ca. (17.9 x 31.4 cm) @300ppi (id#1050)

Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Drill Bit Case), 2008

Scanned image, 4.5" x 10.7" ca. @300ppi (id#1051)
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Plastic Tray), 2008

Scanned image, 5.3" x 9.4" ca. @300ppi (id#1052)


I like the lozenge shape, like Mark Rothko's paintings.

Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Smoking), 2008

Scanned image, 5" x 8" ca. (12.7 x 20.35 cm) @300ppi (id#1053)


A "Smoking" brand cigarette paper scanned with transmitted light.
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Carabela), 2006

Scanned image, 6 5/8" x 12 1/4" ca. (17.9 x 31.4 cm) @300ppi (id#1054)


A "Carabela" cigarette paper scanned with reflected light.

Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Gettone (Token), 2001

Scanned image, 8 1/4" x 11 7/8" ca. (20.3 x 28.0 cm) @300ppi (id#1056) 


An old token with its incised design, artistically primitive but beautiful, minted for Italian public telephones of decades ago.

Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Mug Soap II, 2003


Scanned image, 8 1/3" x 8 1/3" ca. (20.3 x 20.3 cm) @300ppi (id#1056)


The trademark in relief on a cake of shaving soap.  Aside from the design, I like the subject because it stands for an older way of life.

Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Five Left), 2008

Scanned image, 28.1" x 21.3" ca. @300ppi (id#1057)
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Disclaimer (World Trade Center Ticket), 2004

Scanned image, 6.1" x 6.7" ca. @300ppi (id#1058


I collect quite a few things for various reasons, usually because there is some object quality or something in the design that fascinates me, or just as a souvenir.  I happened to keep a ticket for the WTC observation deck from a visit from back when the towers were brand new, and found it again about thirty years later in a drawer.

Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Science Book Cover, 2001

Scanned image, 5.5" x 7.8" ca. @300ppi (id#1059)

I was a teacher in New York City for a few years, and one day they were emptying a storeroom and throwing out hundreds of old text-books.  What a surprise it was to see, in 1993, what I'm pretty sure was the same edition science book as I had in 1958, with a pre-feminist cover.
Images of various small objects and materials, tending towards still life, symbolism, or abstraction.
Untitled (Ruined PN55 Film), 2005


Scanned image, 9 1/2" x 11 1/4" ca. (22.9 x 27.9 cm) @300ppi (id#1060) 


A combination of text, mostly illegible, and a pattern of defects in the emulsion of the film.

Scans of Small Objects and Materials


The objects seen here are generally much easier to identify than in the previous group.  Recognizable or not, however, these images are not "about" guessing what we are looking at.  They are rather "about" the sense of the images themselves and what feelings they might elicit in a viewer, and observing and considering how these things came to be as they are.


While some are of objects which have a strong visual appeal (I really object to "charming", since that's not how I feel about them), others are more conceptual, and less visually appealing.  Good examples, respectively, would be "Two Red Ducks", "Aeroplanino", "Bike Bell", and "Baby Bracelet" of the first type, and "Science Book Cover" and "Disclaimer (World Trade Center Ticket)" of the second.  The more "conceptual" are inexpressive or dead-pan in the way they reach out to the viewer - with these I don't expect to arouse much feeling, but rather a thought or two.  The more emotionally appealing can offer a springboard to childhood recollections, and possibly even represent, depending on who's looking, well - something along the lines of the famous sled, Rosebud, from "Citizen Kane".  ("I tell you about Rosebud.")


All images in this series were created with a flat-bed scanner, using either reflected or transmitted light.  Generally there has been little or no retouching, and no photo elaboration other than minor tonal adjustments.


© 2014 Allen Schill.  All rights reserved.  No part of this document may be reproduced or used without prior written permission from the author. Anyone is welcome to link to it, or to quote brief passages, but I would like to be notified.

© Copyright Allen Schill

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