Sometimes, when you open a new jigsaw, you are greeted with a sense of song. It’s something about the colours, both the solid colour chosen for the back and the variety that is splashed across the front of each piece, all jumbled together in the box.

This hadn’t occurred to me until I opened a jigsaw that appeared so muddy that I sat back in astonishment when I realised; there was no sense of song.

Who knew jigsaws could sing?

And how do I reconcile this muddiness with the fact that this jigsaw appealed to me when I bought it?

It is a dark jigsaw. A wooden bookself on which sit many items that share that colour palette. There are, of course, lots of highlights. But there is also a hint of its ability to draw in the viewer, there in the pile of pieces waiting to be assembled.

The toys have eyes.

They look at each other. They look at me. Except for the one that’s asleep.

Even the masks, waiting to be used, suggest a presence.

This is not the first jigsaw to confront me with its gaze. Studying the Alternative was my response to that feeling of being watched when each rummage through the pile of pieces would bring an underwater eye to the surface.

Studying the alternative

Photographing Entice

Selecting and assembling the pieces for Entice was relatively straight forward. Photographing them was a challenge.

There are only two variables in this process – background and lighting – of which background is the most annoying. Sometimes there is a third, if I decide it looks better at an angle.

My third attempt at Entice appears very moody, with the pieces sitting on the black kitchen counter in very low light. As a result, the image resolution is also low, which could be a problem should I ever wish to enlarge it.

Although I like the idea of toys having a secret life; particularly one we might never want to know about.

I then tried a white background, just in case.

Series notes

In this photographic series called Mini Jigsaws, I select a small number of pieces from a puzzle just completed and re-assemble them. The aim is to distill something of the experience thrown up by the puzzle process.

This puzzle is one of the Crown Charm Series, titled Ye Old Shoppe.


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