I bought this magnifying glass at an antiques market in Zagreb. It was an ideal memento that I could easily fit in the suitcase and a great prop for a new still life. I had already bought the newspaper in a vintage shop in Haworth and had an idea of using the two together. After considering what else I could use I thought of an old ashtray with a burning cigarette in it. Then I decided I did not want to wait till I find an ashtray when I can just use something I already have in the house. So I chose one of my old oil lamps. I shot many a frame trying to find a good angle and perspective. The newspaper tended to appear too large in the frame so I got in quite close to the set up and used a 50mm lens to slightly "squash" the perspective.
A dark red background seemed a good colour option that would add a touch of mystery and intimacy to the image so I used a red curtain texture layer in Photoshop. I like the painterly look of the curtain, the turquoise reflection in the magnifying glass and the little window reflection in the oil lamp.
And yes, I am very pleased with the overall mood. "Looks like a scene from Sherlock Holmes", my partner G commented.