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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Girls in the alley

Originally uploaded by brendan.oshea
I always say a good portrait is 99% expression. Well, actually, I've only started saying that recently. But I've begun to realise the truth in it. No matter how fancy your lighting setup, or how good your photoshop skills are, if you aren't capturing some of the essence of the subject, nobody is going to care. I'm not saying that's what I've done here, but I'm slowly moving away from worrying about doing "clever" lighting, and I'm beginning to think about how to make the subject feel comfortable enough to reveal some personality. Unfortunately, clever lighting and tricks have an immediate impact, and when you're early in your career, you sometimes can't afford to be subtle. Or tasteful for that matter. You need to slap the viewer in the face and say "here I am!" Annie Leibovitz said she can't look at much of her earlier work because of the overbearing lighting and contrived setups. I'd argue that without that earlier work, nobody would give a hoot about her current stuff, no matter how brilliantly subtle it is. You need to be loud to get noticed initially. Once you've got people noticing, then you can do tasteful. And hope your clientele sticks with you.
Single Sunpak 383 Super backlighting. Triggered by Elinchrom Skyport, and front lit by the sun.