Friday, March 27, 2015

Art of an Actress

After a bit of a break from doing these I was excited to do a new creative-person-in-her-space portrait with my friend Kate who has a background as a professional actress. The potential to do something really fun was obvious. I scouted her house for possible locations. I must say, I cannot help but get a  warm, fuzzy feeling when someone tells me, with some trepidation, that their place is small and kind of cluttered. These words fill me with joyful anticipation and I was not disappointed. The second I saw the family music nook, I knew we had our spot. Fortunately, Kate's family are warm and generous and artists themselves, so they indulged my needing to move their furniture and belongings all over the place without blinking. In fact, they often move the furniture around, themselves, to accommodate various filmic and photographic undertakings, so I admit I was a little thrown when I arrived and discovered that many of the things I remembered being in the nook, and wanted there, were not. Note to self...always bring the reference shots to the shoot. We found most of the props (I'm calling their stuff props), but I knew something was missing and it wasn't until after the shoot that I figured out it was the Christmas garland I had loved and anticipated using. I somewhat made up for its absence by making the hanging triangle move. Then I stressed for a while thinking about where to get a garland and when/how to shoot it so I could add it in during post. But in the end, I decided against doing that, feeling it really wasn't necessary. Now I'm looking at it again and wondering, though...(Stop it! There's enough going on!)

On to lighting. It was always going to be a lot about the lighting. And that's when I hit obstacle number two: hardwood floors. The one thing about this kind of fluid lighting is that nothing can move, not the camera, not the set, and, for at least a few of the frames, not the subject. I realized as I checked focus over and over that something was throwing the focus off, and it had to be some slight movement. It was the floor. Old house, wooden floor: bounce. Not good. But too bad! I decided to do like the artist, played, I think, by Catherine Keener (who I love) in the movie Synecdoche, New York, 2008. Her art exhibit requires viewers to don head-mounted magnifiers so they can see the tiny, tiny art. I LOVED that scene (or scenes...pardon the faulty memory). So, my art will, similarly, just have to be small, too. Not that small. But sadly, this image is just not going to be able to be shown really big, or the slightly compromised sharpness will be apparent. (That said, you can see it a lot bigger than this in the Creative People section of my website.)

This lighting technique, once again, left me needing to take many bits and pieces of different frames and composite them together post-shoot. I'm not even sure how many I ended up using. Quite a few. But I got what I wanted, which was, essentially, one page out of a make- believe illustrated work of fiction and imagination, inspired by a lovely mum and a music nook.

Thanks, again, to the inimitable Christine Cho of Christine Cho Beauty. Collaborating with her is always a joy. 

I'll sign off with a picture of me lighting the triangle...I am not supposed to be showing up there. 

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