Seeking ideas from chess players about photos to make

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I am going to be making photos over the next few days of a friend's chess set and would appreciate ideas to convey. I don't know much about chess, which explains why I'm reaching out to everyone here. As an example, I would like to devise a scene of a checkmate and would love it if someone could explain the positions and chess pieces of a classic checkmate. Any and all ideas are welcome!
 
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What an interesting idea. Like camera's, the game is not about the pieces- but there are some beautiful sets being made. My favorite set ever had very simple wooden pieces, with the paint wearing off. Probably cost $1. I have played with $5000 sets (not mine) but preferred my little turned wooden pieces.
I played a fair amount of chess years ago- I was not very good. I got my clock cleaned a lot.
To a chess player (which I am not one) the strength and interest is about the layouts, the board positions. In some games a pawn can be the most powerful piece. You could easily look up end game positions of famous games- they are POWERFUL. But only a really good chess player would recognize that.
Many games do not go to checkmate, the weaker player resigns. I did that a lot. Symbolically you lay down your king. Most checkmate positions have only a few pieces on the board, unless you fell into one of the fool's mate situations. There are truly classic positions. I would look up end game and checkmate positions to get ones that are real- if you set one up randomly with a few pieces it may be a checkmate, but in a position that would never occur in a real game. Even I might notice that.
I would look up famous positions, easily found on the net, and simply copy them for your piece layouts. Will look real.
If you want to get your head into chess a little, watch the movie Searching for Bobby Fisher.
LMK if you have any specific questions
Can't wait to see what you come up with.
gary
 
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The laying of the king is more symbolic than anything else, I mentioned it because it might make a great image- and could be real.
I can't photograph anything I am not interested in, or don't understand. I would spend an evening and watch a chess movie, or some speed/blitz chess games on you tube.
Chess is a slow game, but very intense.
gary
 
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I can't photograph anything I am not interested in, or don't understand.
I wish I had ample time to thoroughly research the game so I could be fully prepared to make the photos. Ample time isn't guaranteed because my friend will be immediately advertising his chess set for sale on Ebay. If it doesn't sell right away, that might give me enough time to properly research the project.
 
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Yes, the classic shot is laying down or knocking down the king.

Not my photo:
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LyndeeLoo

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Oh wow - if only you could travel and come to our Chess Museum. Not only do they have chess sets dating back hundreds of years, but they have actual chess games displayed with the various pieces in different positions. You would truly have been able to get some ideas from visiting. I’m going to check my archives, because I know I took some photos there some time ago. Perhaps those may help.
 
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I did a few shots for a project years ago regarding strategy and power.

It is a composite, images from a chess board and some prose from Sun Tzu's The Art of War.

Here is the image that I did originally:
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Here is the lighting setup:

I shot a small strobe through a diffuser panel with a white reflector behind to give a little rim light on the opposite side.
The background was the black bag the reflector came in....it was more there to help with the masking when it came time for the composite.

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If I had to do it again, I would probably incorporate a human element into it, possibly a hand on a prominent piece or even a hand showing one piece taking another.
 
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I had never heard of laying down the king. I'll try to find info about other positions. Thanks for the ideas!
Laying down the king is a sign of concession, when a player knows they have lost and see no point in running the game to conclusion, they lay the king over showing that they concede victory to the opponent. It is a sign of good sportsmanship.

As seen above, I did do the laying over of the piece, but it was not the king it was the bishop, with the knight overlooking it. That was a conscious choice on my part. While not something that would actually happen in a chess match - it has other symbolic meaning. Infer what you will from it, not something I think is relevant to derail this thread with.
 
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Actually, you made me think of a setup I may actually try.
Piece would be labeled: "Me vs Bobby Fischer"
My white king would be on h1, one of the corner squares. The only white piece on the board.
Every single black piece would still be in play, and most are all gathered around my king. Every space around the king filled with 15 black pieces, the whole 16 squares in the corner of the board filled. The black king sitting on e8, implying he never even had to move. In a real game this would be an impossible situation, but I have played master ranked players before- and this is what it felt like.
I know I am nuts, but I am actually laughing out loud thinking about it.
I needed the laugh- thanks!
gary
 
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Actually, you made me think of a setup I may actually try.
Piece would be labeled: "Me vs Bobby Fischer"
My white king would be on h1, one of the corner squares. The only white piece on the board.
Every single black piece would still be in play, and most are all gathered around my king. Every space around the king filled with 15 black pieces, the whole 16 squares in the corner of the board filled. The black king sitting on e8, implying he never even had to move. In a real game this would be an impossible situation, but I have played master ranked players before- and this is what it felt like.
I know I am nuts, but I am actually laughing out loud thinking about it.
I needed the laugh- thanks!
gary
Made my day!
 
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This is one of two chess sets my friend is selling on Ebay. Both sets are the same model designed by architect Michael Graves. This photograph will be one of several that I'll make for him for use on Ebay. The scene is really too large to photograph well in my makeshift studio but it's certainly good enough for Ebay and it's a lot better than anything my friend could have done given his limited setup. Once I get done photographing the obligatory documentary shots for use on Ebay, I'll make some photos that are more artsy.

Mike 2020-12-03--0001-S.jpg
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I guess I never understood the "fancy" chess sets. When you are playing, you do not care what the pieces look like- although the feel is nice. Actually you could put 32 identical pieces on the board and two good players would have a normal game. You know where each piece is, and the real estate it is responsible for.
The image does convey a nice set, in good shape, even the box. Well done
gary
 
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I guess I never understood the "fancy" chess sets.
Agree, traditional rule. Found this, from one of our previous #CS
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Mike, did you see my comment on your chess photo and suggestion in the CS thread?
I didn't see the edited part of your post until you suggested that I revisit the post. I now see your mention of including hands in the photo. I'll be able to photograph my own hand but I won't be able to photograph anybody else's hand, especially during these days of COVID-19.
 
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