40 Sharp and Shattered Photographs

We're surrounded by broken things. But what if, instead of lamenting that it's garbage, we changed our world view? What if we saw the broken as beautiful? For this week's Shooting Challenge, Gizmodo photographers did just that.


WINNER - Rise of the MP3

I wanted to find an image that captured the 'beautiful abstraction' of the broken and cracked. After trying a few different things, including ice, without getting the look I wanted, I hit upon the idea of breaking a CD. By adjusting the direction the light was striking the cracked disc, I managed to get this shot. I was going for something colorful and abstract; I think this fits the bill. This was shot with my Canon T1i with a 50 mm f/1.8 lens. Camera settings were 1/250 sec at f/5.6.
-Tim Sackton


I thought the word "shatter" could have double meaning, so for this shot not only is the broken glass shattered, but so is a life. It wasn't an easy task. I first had to find a homeless man, knock him out, get him into the bathtub and slit his wrists. I should have used a pulley system as it would have been much easier. :) JK. It's me. I used a delay timer, extra lights and a whole bottle of MiO liquid water enhancer (fruit punch). I then did some touch-ups in Lightroom. Nikon D80, ISO 100, 50 mm Lens, f 1.8.
- Jeffrey Phillips


Buzz Saw

The timing of this shooting challenge is serendipitous. I was driving down the road and the car in front of me tossed up a small stone and it hit my windshield. After saying a few expletives, I noticed how pretty the shape was and recalled your photo-challenge. Though your blog mentioned things other than glass as preferable, I hoped that you would find beauty in something viewed as 'ugly.' Before I took my car to have the windshield repaired by a local glass technology technician, I decided to photograph the chip. Using colored lights to enhance the look of the break, I took the photograph in a darkened garage. I used a Canon Rebel XSi EOS, a macro lens, tripod and yellow, red and green clamp on lights. With camera settings on manual; I set the shutter to f/13, and the ISO to 200, shot using the timer. The subject was back lit as I shot from the front. The lights were set in a triangular pattern, behind the "shattered" windshield. I took several shots, but this was my favorite because it shows details of the break that aren't normally visible to the human eye. Other than cropping the image for composition, the image has not been manipulated.
- Julie Gordon



So, a friend and I had ideas about dropping some glass bowls or vases and taking the picture as they shattered. So we went to a thrift store and bought 4 or 5 vases/bowls to break. As we were about to leave we saw some mirrors leaning up against the wall and bought one kind of as an afterthought. The picture we took with that turned out to be the best one! He had to stand on top of a flat bed truck that was nearby so that it fell far enough, and I happened to capture it just as it broke. Luckily, I also turned out to be in the picture! (wasn't confident in that happening, even though that's what we were going for)
- Chris Morey


USS Enterprise

My husband was playing with a USS Enterprise pizza cutter I got him for Christmas. Nearby were a defective glass cabinet door from a certain Scandinavian retailer, an oversized coffee table book of Hubble Telescope images, an emergency LED flashlight, and a hammer. This was the result. Techy Stuff: Nikon D7000, Nikon 35mm, f/14, ISO 400, 2 sec exposure. Minor color/contrast adjustment.
-Ashley Carter


Angry Bowling Ball

Shot using several 12"x12" mirror panes shattered with a bowling ball, which actually took several attempts. The rented garage at my apartment complex was my studio, and for lighting I used a handful of red, green and blue LED fingerlights placed at varying intervals. The hardest part of this shot was attempting to maneuver around my tripod, all of the broken glass on the floor, kayaks, fishing and camping gear, all by the light of a couple tiny LEDs. Nikon D7000, Tokina AT-X 100mm f/2.8 PRO D, ISO 125, F/8.0, 1.3s
-Andrew White


A Wrinkle In Time

I spent a good 2-3 hours searching around my neighborhood for ideas that fit this week's shooting challenge. With it being the winter season I figured I could venture into the woods and try to get a few interesting shots of broken or split tree branches and not have to worry about stepping on a snake. I took about 100 close up shots of various broken branches, interesting moss formations, nasty green algae growths in the local pond and even took pictures of this cool water formation that looked like cracked glass. But not of those pictures stood out in my mind. The very first picture I took to test the macro setting on Canon just happened to be the best picture of the lot. Canon Rebel 2 Basic settings using the flower icon for close up photography.
- Chris Ondrus


Drunk Hulk Smash

I get to drink beer AND smash things? This is my kind of contest! First, I did a crappy water color painting, and placed it on the floor; then, I placed a pre-smashed glass baking dish about 8 inches above that (held in place with 4 beer bottles). In the dish, I put in about a half inch of water and some cooking oil (for the bubble effect). As lighting, I just used one of those bright halogen construction lights shining in from the side. I placed my tripod in the upside down position and shot away quickly before the water seeped through the cracks. Canon 60D, f/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO 100, focal length 200mm, beer drank 14.
- Barrie Parkman


Gallagher Lives!!!

So I read the challenge and immediately thought: "eggs shatter, so do glasses - eggs IN glasses!". The sledgehammer came after repeated attempts to drop the glass/egg package from a hight failed to break the glass but did waste a lot of eggs. I also had a protective screen across the lens and made a remote shutter control to keep me away from flying egg/glass shrapnel.
Shot with a Canon E0S1000D, 1/1600, ISO 200,a ton of lights and a big sheet of glass to keep me safe.
- James Slade


I love how many of you simply used this week as an excuse to break something, with the picture being a relative afterthought. You proud, berserk visionaries really got it. See the full galleries below, and find the wallpaper-sized shots on flickr. I'm certain that at least one would make a great broken Macbook screen prank...

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