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




 

The Wonders Of Restrictive Limitation
Tuesday, March 22, 2016




Andrea Stefancikova

We live in a world of over choice. I am from a generation where all phones were black.

I am in firm belief that in photography and the arts to be limited is the fastest avenue to startling creativity. Amedeo Modigliani who died when he was 35 is one of many artists who produced unusual stuff before they died.

As a an arts photographer for the Globe & Mail in the 90s I was always faced with a few minutes to photograph actors, musicians, film directors and politicians. Since the writer for most of these sessions was the now highfalutin lawyer Christopher Dafoe I was given the privilege of sitting in on his interviews before my photographic session at the end of it. In that time I would quickly eliminate what I could not do because of time and then I knew that there was only one approach left. For me this was liberating challenge and when I was given more time I always said I was done. In some cases (and I did this to satisfy my inner self) I might take three exposures in a ten exposure roll and quit right there.

Five years ago I had a lovely and large (with a very high ceiling) studio on Granville and Robson. I had a huge variety of lighting systems but I limit myself to shooting against a middle gray wall. By placing my lights and or subject near or far from the wall I could make the background go black to almost white.

Once I left my studio I placed a gray backdrop ( reduced in width) between my living room and dining room in the Athlone house. It served me well and that is where most of my red shawl series were taken.

In our new Kitsilano duplex the garage was converted by the former owner into an office. But he left 40% of it into a storage area too small for a car (a bike perhaps?). The storage area and the office are separated by a wall and door.

I had a rubber matt with a carpet installed in that storage area. Three of the walls are now white and my shooting wall is middle gray. I was pleased to find out that the wall is much wider than my Athlone Street gray backdrop!

The studio is intimate (a euphemism for small) and I like the restrictions on what I can do in it. It reduces my choices. I like that as I have pointed out above.

Here is a scanned Fuji FP-3000B (3200 ISO) instant print. Alas it has been now long discontinued but I have a few boxes left and I use this film gingerly. Because it is so fast I do not fire my lights as flash but use the quartz modeling lights that are built in. Here in the snap of my new muse Andrea Stefancikova I used a Chinese-made beauty dish with a grid. The grid is what produced those little squares of light in the background.

I am most pleased with this shot and I look forward to further creative restrictions in my new studio with the help  of my muse.

In the Athlone house the guest bathroom was close by. I liked taking my subjects there where I would take a snap and include myself in the mirror. The bathroom was narrow in depth but wide. The new guest bathroom is smaller in every way but that did not prevent me from taking Andrea and shooting our selfie. 






     

Previous Posts
Murray Newman - Smart Fish - R.I.P.

My New Muse?

Bass For Bach & A Manly Apollo

The Perplexing Redness Of Its Red

Cherry Pink & Hosta Blue

A Light Exists In Spring

The Lady Dare Not Lift Her Veil

Jean Stilwell - Mezzo-Soprano

The General Incognito In Civies In My Hood

Duke Ellington, The Palmolive Boy, Zombies - Just ...



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11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16