I certainly don't think of my basement as a "blank canvas" ~ it's my workout room. But it is also where I tackle some of my personal projects. I guess you could say it's where I work things out - physically and conceptually.
By starting with a blank canvas I mean that if I took a photo of my setup and looked at the back of my camera I would have a black image. I'm not allowing ambient light to seep in. I want to generate and control each light to set the scene I have in my head.
This stems from many workshops and practice - practice - practice over the years. On this shoot Demi and I talked about "motivating the practical" something I learned from Gregory Heisler while in Maine a few summers ago.
So here goes ~ the skinny on my lights
I wanted to make a "believable" room for my photograph. Hand painted backdrop to give a look of a weathered old wall. Old window that I picked up along the way along with material for a makeshift drapery. As I started building my set I would take a frame and see if I was heading in the right direction. That thought of an open window with a fan placed behind billowing the shade from the breeze came to be. Whenever I do these shoots I always forget about my edges. That made me think of adding my wall "wings" to extend the photograph and give my room more depth. Of course then I had to add a few family photos! But I've got to say once I took that next test photo I knew I had my setup ready for Demi.
Now the fun part ~ lights! The main light was the strip soft box on camera right with a grid. Additionally I placed an ice light for a little extra separation from the wall where Demi would be standing. Behind my window/curtain I place not only my fan but a smaller strip box with grid to fill Demi's face and side. Another ice light was placed directly behind Demi to give her nice separation from the wall. Lastly I placed a couple of small lights to illuminate her feet and legs. Spritzed the dirty windows with a little water for effect and we were ready..... camera ~ action!
I had purchased this vintage 1920's flapper dress and it was definitely the right choice for this shoot. Demi looked exquisite and made this "story" come to life. Final piece was a book I picked up that is based on a story in the 1920's. I liked the title and the colors went with my theme.
I'm going to look forward to reading this book and see if any parts of our stories come together...
I've learned so many things from this business. One of the the things I've learned is how hard I am on myself. I really enjoy shooting crew. There is just something about it that I can't put my finger on - but I get excited when it's on the days' docket. On this particular day though I was emotionally down. Not a particular reason just something that comes now and then. You get used to it and work through it. I remember leaving the docks that afternoon feeling like I didn't do as good a job as I could have. A few days later as I'm editing photos from this shoot I realize that all is good. I'm proud of how I shoot and what I shoot. I like that I'm hard on myself. It's not about striving for absolute excellence ~ is there even such a thing?~ rather I will always strive for the best that I can do. At the end of the day I will stand behind my work with pride and continue that drive to improve.
I must say I had quite a bit of fun with this one. My early ideas were rough and I knew would be too difficult to execute. But my concept stayed the course and I finally managed to come up with a way to make the photo happen.
Posing was everything in this image. I had to make it believable. This is how I sleep -
on my stomach with one leg up and the other hanging off the bed. So for me it was completely believable. But trying to do this standing up against a wall was a challenge to say the least.
I figured out the lean to my right worked best about the same time I figured out I had to keep my left hip down with my knee high and heel turned in. I felt like a contortionist to say the least ~ with a little bit of drunken sailor mixed in!
I will be the first to admit I have a bit or sarcastic humor in me. And I realize that's not in my dreams -- that's "real life" me!
So in my true spirit I present the "Witty Form" in a "Sarcastic's Dream"
Photography is just plain fun :)