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Hollywood Glam

It’s interesting that when one first embarks on a journey is when one is most free to experiment. The less experience, it seems, leads often to focus, to risk taking, to experimentation.

Harkening back to 2008, a time when I first really got serious about photographic lighting, I revisited this image I took of Barbara. It was one of my first “model” shoots (a stage I believe most photographers go through). There’s something about “people” images, and exploring concepts with models can be fun.

Plus I didn’t know enough to overthink things.

I have a fondness for Hollywood Glamour photography from the 20’s and 30’s. That age always resonated with me – from flappers to speakeasies, Art Deco design. And the photographers. George Hurrell. Eugene Robert Richee. There is an innocence and a simplicity that not only appealed to an apprentice photographer (lighting wise), but a reflection of he.

Take this image of Barbara – an homage to Richee’s image of Louise Brooks taken in 1928. Whereas Richee used “copy lighting” (2 lights at 45ยบ), I used my new-fangled AB Ringflash with a large diffuser to provide flat lighting that fell off really fast. Like Richee, I wanted nothing but skin and pearls to be visible – as if they were emerging from cutouts in the background.

This image of Barbara from the same session was shot with an iconic gift from that era – the beauty dish. Still in frequent use, on young skin it’s ability to provide a punchy yet flattering light, with lots of falloff to help sculpt, is a staple in beauty photography. Here I do love the fact that there is little background separation – probably not appropriate for a business or modeling headshot, but as a piece of art I love the simplicity of the lighting, its affect on her skin, and the tones of the B&W image.

I’m waxing nostalgic, not only of the imagery but of the simplicity of that time in my career. I feel like returning …

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