Category Archives: Ex 4.4

Exercise 4.4 – Using light to reveal form

Photographs need light and light takes many forms – the way in which light strikes a surface, the nature of its source and how it is modified before reaching the subject all influence its appearance.  For this exercise I chose the form of my Glamorous Assistant and used the somewhat unorthodox light provided by a hand-held fluorescent tube.   The idea was to produce a diffuse source and have it very close to the subject to let it ‘wrap around’ the form.  This made pressing the shutter awkward as I ended up being some distance from the camera, so I set the shutter to a 2 second delay whilst I assumed the desired lighting position.  It also meant that I couldn’t see through the viewfinder, though I was able to get a good idea via the LCD screen.  This is what happened:

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The camera position remained static but I moved the light around from the right, round to the left. I added a piece of cardboard to the far edge of the light fitting to flag off the background and make it dark  I’ve converted these to monochrome because I found the skin tones distracted from the tonal effect.

Although the effect of moving the light position is very noticeable I didn’t really get on with the method.  The light was soft but polarised (in the sense of directional);  it was meant to emulate a striplight softbox but the ‘strip’ aspect was too narrow

Christian Coigny – Men & Women. Retrieved Apr. 25, 2017, from Web site: http://www.christiancoigny.com/artwork-portfolio/43-men-women/image/#524

I am influenced by Christian Coigny, as well as Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and Gregory Heisler for their use of light in portraiture.  It looks very simple and natural but I have a feeling that much of their work is carefully built up layer by layer. Notwithstanding this I find the results pleasing.  I notice how the background is illuminated to produce a ‘rhythm’ of light and dark across the image – where the model has a dark edge, the backround is light and vice versa.  This accentuation of edges helps to give depth cues to the eye/brain where they do not occur in a 2d photograph.    Here’s a lighting diagram for my shots as above:

UntitledI used a 28mm (56 – 35equiv) lens at F4 for all the photographs; the shutter speeds were slow, around 1/4 second because the light was only 30 Watts.

To summarise, it produced an informative result but  it doesn’t really work as a lighting resource.  I quite like the idea of BIG window light and we have double floor-to-ceiling glass doors in our current accommodation so I hope to experiment a bit with that quite soon.

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