Wednesday, February 1, 2012

4/52: Get Pushed R17

4/52: Get Pushed R17

For Round 17 of Get Pushed, the challenge was:

"You have an excellent photostream and you've really branched out into a lot of different areas. You have color and black and white. You have street photography and still lifes. You have captured moods and holidays.

It made me really struggle to think of a challenge. A lot of the pictures of people in your stream are of a more journalistic nature. I challenge you to take a portrait of yourself of someone and I challenge you to take it in the style of Irving Penn."

I would probably make a laughingstock out of myself if I tried to mimic "The Master", but I still wanted to do something in that direction. Most people will probably think of Penn's early work, with the full size portraits, his use of corners, and a simple but striking gray background. He also used other styles. I wanted to take one or two technical things that he used and try to take my own photo. I learned that the vast majority of his photos, although studio photos, were shot using natural light. The other thing I noticed on a lot of his later, tighter portraits is that light comes from one direction with deep shadows falling off very quickly, and there are extremely clean and clear details.

My original plan was to take a portrait of Gretchen, keeping these criteria in mind. The day before, I took a few selfies to test the light and the setting. Eventually, I picked one of those test shots as the answer to the push.

The light is a natural light coming from a big window. This was taken in the morning when the sun is actually on the other side of the house so you get the softer more even light on this side. I read somewhere that if you use a black barrier on the shadow side then you get deeper shadow. Never tried this before and I'm not sure if it works and how this photo would look without it, but I did use a black screen on the right side of the photo. I thought that there was enough detail in here to use the same photo for the 52 project weekly theme "Extreme Details".

What you cannot see in this photo is that elbow area on my left arm was swollen considerably. I've been dealing with it since that day and looks like it is finally getting better. I'll spare you the gruesome details

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