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




 

Underarm Deodorant & Breath Mints
Saturday, May 26, 2012

You have a studio. You have a backdrop. You have a beautiful model. You have a camera (on a tripod). You have a light and you have you. In most situations this is a formula for failure. It is particularly prone to failure if all of those diverse elements above are all on non intersecting parallel lines. The results most likely might be boring pictures and if you have a motorized film camera or a digital camera with the same you will have many boring pictures. Add to this the new element that after each picture you might want to look at the result in the back and or show it to your subject and your flow of inspiration will be inspiration interruptus.

I teach photography and I attempt to impart to my students my passion for the portrait. I can hear them zip and zip. I can see them fall for models who act like models and do poses that are model-like. The models purse their lips; they swing their hips, this way or that way. They wink.

I tell my students to wear good underarm deodorant. I tell them to brush their teeth and chew gum or suck on breath mints. I tell them to get close with a medium wide angle lens so as to almost be confrontational with their subject.

They mostly reject the advice and further ignore my instructions to bring that light (or lights) really close and get dramatic shadows.

But a memory for the value of shadows which suggests curvature and three dimensions in what really is a world of two dimensions (a photograph is just that) is almost forgotten. Very good cameras, when faced with extremely low light will pop up a flash. The light will evenly light the face into flatness.



A memory for the window lighting of the Flemish painters is now forgotten. It is not forgotten because it is not remembered. It is forgotten because few of my students, regardless of their age have seen paintings, old masters or gone to museums. What they see is on the net.

Here are two photographs of Joanne Dahl whom I photographed sometime in the early 90s. I remember that my lighting was the light coming in through the windows of my studio. It faced the big white wall that was Eaton’s and then Sears. The light would come in and be reflected back by the wall on the opposite side of my studio which was white. For this shot I used a velour drape as a backdrop and snapped with my Nikon FM-2 and a 50 or perhaps a 35mm lens.

I do not find the photographs boring but then I cannot possibly be objective as I am the one who took the pictures.



     

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The Dark Lady From Belorusse

Tim Turner & The Iron Duke

Karl Stittgen's Homage To Frank Lloyd Wright On Pe...

Katheryn Petersen - Accordionist

That Meandering Melancholy That Is Entropy

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Garbo Talks - Garbo Laughs - Jennifer Lines - Play...

María & Dominga Persist In My Memory



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