Winning By A NoseSunday, November 30, 2014
Figure model Caitlin Legault broke her nose trice. The first time when she was studying karate she threw a man over her shoulder but forgot to tuck her head in. The second time, an incredulous gentleman did not believe the story so Legault demonstrated the move on him and forgot to tuck in her head…
Legault has the kind of face that makes me utter the same joke when she knocks on my door. I always say, “You look familiar,” and she smiles. She has that kind of universal face (perhaps one of Plato’s essences, the essence of woman?) that she can transform herself and her face becomes whatever you might want to make of it.
She poses for hours, without moving in art colleges but also does that kind of stuff with photographers who might say, “Move, do something different.”
I explained to Legault that Marlene Dietrich popularized what we now call Hollywood or Paramount or Butterfly (the shadow under the nose) Lighting. Dietrich posed for George Hurrell and loved what his high spotlight on a boom did for her cheekbones. She then commanded (and she could) that all lighting directors in her films use that boom light. Until somebody figured out in using a small light pointed at eye level to her face, many technicians spent days painting catch lights on long meters of movie film.
Another catch with Hollywood lighting is that if your subject moves a bit (millimeters) in any direction that shadow under the nose can drift and make the resulting image ugly. This meant that when Dietrich acted she had to be still. Once she did the boom light had to be re-positioned.
Legault, who can stay in one pose for a long time had no problem with my Hollywood setup this past Saturday. And soon (she learns quickly) she could feel where the light on her face was.
Here is a sample of some of the pictures I took of her with my Fuji X-E1 set at 800 ISO and tungsten as the pictures were taken with my flash’s modeling lights but not with the flash.
I would venture to assert that without that kink on her nose, Legault’s face would be as beautiful but perhaps not as interesting.