Wednesday, December 4, 2019

How I shot my 2nd Favorite Soviet Souvenir

I don't usually bring home souvenirs from my travels... in my mind my photos are the memory jog of the times we had.  (Besides, after awhile your house gets just too cluttered.)  But I made a small exception with my trip to the Soviet Union back in 1988, to document a cultural exchange between Soviet and American High Schools Students.  (You can see my work on that project here.)

This Russian Pepsi bottle is symbolic of that era - back then, the Soviet Union's Ruble was a closed currency; it couldn't be traded in the open market and therefore large Western companies couldn't sell their goods to this large market.  The mangers at Pepsi had a work-around for that - they would barter Pepsi Cola for Russian Vodka, and then sell it abroad.  Brilliant business practice.  I've kept that bottle all these years, and decided to memorialize it with a proper photo for the archives.

But photographing clear objects is hard.  You can't just take a picture of it with a flash and have it come out looking impressive.  You need to have the glass refract some light in order for the shape of the bottle to be visible, yet otherwise perfectly clear.