We are Statues

6 04 2010

Black. Man., originally uploaded by kamikaze productions.

It is my belief – mainly because I’ve been taking portraits for some time – that people have a uniformity of range. When it comes to posing, I will never make an argument that a model/actor (i.e. entertainer) has less range than a regular person. But what I will argue is that the raw and natural exposure to emotion that we all possess as humans gives us a range of posture and position that can create photos like this.

This photo makes me recall images of famous leaders that have carried their torch through our cold world. There are several factors that make their images inheritently more powerful – context, history, significance, to name a few. But that doesn’t mean we can’t attempt to re-create those same powerful images.

Technically speaking, I find that a close crop is going to be the best way of bringing the power to our protaganist. Shooting too far away invites distractions into the scene, marginalizing our subject and ultimately diminishing his/her power. For the model, simplicity is best. There are a range of emotions we as humans can express but it isn’t the “what” as much as it is the “how.” How should you express sadness, fear, strength – simply. Do not overthink the easy. And while modeling for a non-model may seem hard…it isn’t if you just channel what you already know. I can give more advice on techniquie, but I think it is self-explanatory and it would be more fun to experiment – which is what I advocate on this blog!

Some post-processing was used for the photo. I worked with contrast and saturation, but it pretty much communicated all on its own. Now go, get out there and shoot some powerful portraits.

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The World’s a Studio

14 03 2009

Next., originally uploaded by kamikaze productions.

Ok…so I’m exaggerating but then again I’m not. Whenever I’m asked by a friend to help them with some modeling shots, the first thing I say is you have to understand – 1) I don’t have any sort of studio lighting, and 2) I don’t have proper equipment (backdrops, etc). But I never turn down an opportunity to capture another subject, learn another skill, or just pick up the camera.

My friend Chelsea was in town and asked for a favor, so we tried to navigate my apartment in a way that would give somewhat usable lighting and background. Now here is where the whole anywhere is a studio idea comes in. We made a white wall be the equivalent of a backdrop and propped up lights to help eliminate shadows. Biggest downside – regular lights aren’t white!

But creativity is the important part of the experience. There was no way pictures were going to come out and be worthy of her final portfolio, but the practice and the experience yield returns as well.

One thing I learned – when you get in tight, you can mimic a studio quality image. Now this picture I have edited of course but the point is you can make an ordinary wall be a plain backdrop – I’ve contemplated taking the idea to another level and hanging paper to change a background color as well.

The ultimate lesson is that anything is possible with a camera and an idea. Studios traditionally have the fancy equipment, lighting, etc…but if you follow the mantra “Life’s a stage”…then it won’t be that hard for the photographer like you and me without the fancy stuff to adapt the phrase to say – “Life’s a studio”…just make sure you bring the camera with you when you leave the house.