Yesterday I went to a friend who – amongs a wide variety of other things – builds traditional bows and arrows. The idea is craftsmanship, i.e. building the weapons from scratch with traditional materials like horn, sinew, wood and leather, albeit with modern machinery. He has built dozens of bows and scores upon scores of arrows, which are intricately detailed and deadly as f*#@! The sheer beauty of them is fascninating and almost touching. The details in fabrication and painting work on all senses. These bows look great, sound and even smell good. Moreover, there is a sense of danger about them that makes touching them very special.
A modern carbon fiber bow says deadly with more immediacy, but I doubt that it is possible to have the same level of attachment to a modern tool as you can have towards these new, but traditionally crafted arms. The process of making the more complex composite bows takes up months as it takes a lot of time for the animal glue to set.
While it is easy to appreciate these arches of mayhem in person, it is quite hard to photograph them appropriately. This is my first attempt. The idea was to go from overview to detail. Bows (and arrows) are long and pointy constructions that do not lend themselves easily to image formats that are popular at the moment. A panorama might lend itself and I am going to attempt that at a later stage. But for now I tried to present them in the context of the workshop in which they were built, going ever closer to mimic the process of a visitor who first encounters these little marvels of aptitude. In going from form to detail I relied on a single flashgun pointed at the low-hanging white celing, which emulates soft daylight. I guess it works out nicely.