A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

The Window
Friday, October 15, 2010


Some weeks back I discovered some unintended scenes in pictures I had taken in my studio. For most of my professional photographic life I have depended on the predictable and accurate effects of my studio flash system.


This often occurred at the expense of my ignoring beautiful natural light. My use of natural light came in short shifts and I always would go back to the flash. But I did manage to take quite a few pictures with the window light of my Robson Street Studio which had light coming in and being reflected from the Eaton’s/Sears building across the street. In photography the control of contrast is the most important aspect of what I notice before I press any shutter. Of late I have discovered that my iPhone can take beautiful pictures if contrast is low. In the past for magazine photography, contrast was always a big enemy and this is why I so often resorted to the reduction of contrast by using flash to fill in the shadows.



In the taking of portraits (even these skimpy ones I consider to be portraits!) by a window one has to decide what is more important, what is outside the window or the face and skin of one’s subject. For me face and skin win every time and these black and white negatives I shot exposing for L’s luminous skin. But with the advent of the good scanner (an Epson V700 Photo) and some rather easy work with the shadow/highlight tool of Photoshop I was able to bring in the detail of the over-exposed window scene. I also purposely darkened L’s body to somewhat diminish her overt and most beautifully erotic body and leave it a bit to my viewer’s imagination.

While I can no longer return to this wonderful studio which I let go in September of 2009 I am so glad that I did take these and others. They have a quality that a backdrop and a studio flash could never in any way replicate.









     

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