with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

A Tool Shop Gallery

My cousin’s husband, Don, has an amazing garage. A long time oil worker in Washington State, he’s the perfect handyman, doing woodwork, metal work, renovating and building cars, boats, and always ready with a screwdriver.

One of the greatest joys I have visiting them is exploring the gallery he’s set up of his old tools, construction hats, and license plates. The tools, parts, and pieces are so artistically and yet organically arranged, it fascinates me to no end.

On many visits, I’ve used the light coming in through the garage door and reflecting and bouncing in from the floor and walls to naturally illuminate the back walls and darker tool areas. I’d tried using flash, but it was too harsh and reflected too much on the shiny tools. A tripod kept the camera still for the long shutter speeds in the low light. A gold diffuser helped not just bounce some light in but added some warmth.

The tools come from his family and his collection over the years, all carefully arranged tightly together, yet like artwork, admired for their continued usefulness or the memories they inspire.

As we put together our own shop and garage, I’m going to use many of the features I’ve learned from studying Don’s beautiful garage, showcasing much beloved tools as artwork.

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