It still amazes me that I’m able to have a photographic idea, set it up, put it into action, and then see that idea come to fruition all in the space of a few short hours. Being able to develop at home gives me that means to find out whether I’m right or wrong almost immediately.
That means that I can then take what I’ve learned from the first session and apply it to the next.
For this one, the concept was simple, the execution inelegant—but in the end, more effective than I’d hoped.
I keep seeing these photo background boxes pop up in eBay. The ones that people who photograph products might use as backgrounds, generally with a white or black inside. The idea was that I’d build one of these boxes, and photograph this small statue that I’ve been wanting to take pictures of for a while.
I’d intended to shoot it in black and white to try to force the contrast between the two ‘dancers,’ but I have been wanting to shoot some color in medium format for a while, and when my “solution” presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity.
All I had on hand was either large or small boxes, and some sheets of construction paper the would fit in neither one very well. Not necessarily out of frustration, but rather desperation, I stuffed a sheet into the small box, and then a couple of others to fill in all the corners, and came up with the backdrop you see here.
Instead of searching for perfect lines, I quite liked the way the background was imperfect—to me it looked like shooting dancers in front of some intentionally skewed lines in an art gallery or a city hall.
I set up the box on my kitchen counter, aimed one of my studio lights at it (from a couple of different angles), got my camera as close as I could, and played around with placement.
I measured the light but misinterpreted the measurements on the first few shots. I also added a little fat Buddha for another look, but the main intention was to get the dancers to look as interesting as possible.
There’s an interesting point between overexposed and underexposed where it seems to give the game away. It gets a little too real. The best shots, in my opinion, were slightly underexposed and brought out more of the background colour and less of the background definition. They’re all a bit interesting in their own way.
Judge for yourself below.