Category - Exposed

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Spoiler Alert!

In my 'Exposed' series of articles I reveal some of the secrets behind how I created my images.  If you don't want to know how I made this image, then STOP reading now!

Encoiled - Abstract Art by Jane Trotter

There are two household chores I really dislike – cleaning the shower and doing the vacuuming. I suppose on the plus side, while I’m traversing the house, pushing the head backwards and forwards across the carpet, it gives my mind an opportunity to wander.

On one of these excursions, I began to take notice of the swaying hose with its multiple ridges and curving flexibility. “How could I put this to good use?” I mused. That fleeting thought set in motion several days’ worth of revision, experimentation and manipulation to photograph my stubbornly difficult vacuum hose.

First Attempts

My first attempts left much to be desired. I knew I wanted to present something simple, focusing on basic form and clarity of design. However, this proved to be much more difficult than I initially anticipated.

In this early shot, I’d managed to incorporate the idea of contrasting curves, and there was a little differentiation in colour, but that was about it.

Here, the composition and focus weren’t up to much, but I did like the little splash of colour along the ridges.

With this image, I was starting to get closer to what I wanted – more definition along the hose ridges and greater warmth of colour. By this stage, I’d moved the coiled hose up on top of our kitchen table (I’d tried it in several other locations around the house, but the lighting never seemed to be just right).

The light above the table was relatively strong and had an appealing golden hue. With the assistance of a black piece of card, I discovered I could accentuate the shadows within the ridges to help provide a feeling of depth and substance. So, camera in one hand, and card in the other, I persevered.

Slowly, but surely, things were starting to come together as I began to refine how I could create and control the colours.


After multiple attempts on several different days, I finally got a shot I was happy with.

The source image for ‘Encoiled’

Through what was a lengthy process, I’d learnt how best to utilise the black card and how to manhandle the hose into stark, contrasting and opposing shapes.

'Encoiled' - Abstract Art by Jane Trotter
‘Encoiled’ – the final version

In the end, I decided to flip the image horizontally as I felt, compositionally, this new orientation worked better. A little judicious cropping off the bottom and the usual basic enhancements completed the final presentation.

Perseverance is the Key

Pursuing this image felt, at times, like I was stalking an elusive big game creature – while I knew the majestic beast was hidden somewhere, I couldn’t quite distinguish its features through the undergrowth. But with perseverance and determination (and I’ll admit, a good degree of pride that I wasn’t going to let myself be defeated by a vacuum cleaner hose!) I got there in the end.

When it comes to matters of photography – persistence is a virtue!

About the Author

Jane Trotter is an abstract photographer living in Dunedin, New Zealand. Reimagining everyday objects found around the home, Jane transforms them into colourful and dramatic pieces of contemporary art.

Jane Trotter