One of our favorite locations during the Pontiac shoot was a space between buildings (apparently an adjacent building was there that had been torn down). The walls had beautiful patina – not covered with graffiti but old brick, plaster, with one side painted so that it looked like adobe. Poof: desert on one side, Tuscany on the other.
From this one location we were able to develop a variety of looks.
With Erica, our model for this series, I was able to take advantage of this variety, using post processing to further sell the look of the images.
For this image, though key shifted slightly, I wanted to impart a warm feeling – sunlight streaming into view. Not exactly a pastoral scene, there is some question if this is an urban setting or not. Her gaze into the negative space on her left (camera right) adds a contemplative feeling to the image.
It was shot with a (slightly) wide angle lens, and placing her away from camera emphasizes volume in the image. There is a sense of space; she is in the context of the scene, but balanced by the volume of the scene itself.
Contrast this with a shot made just a few feet away.
Changing the composition, key shifting a bit more (increasing the exposure difference between her and the background), and adding an angle to the image provides tension suitable to an industrial feel. Now there is no question that this is an urban setting, although without an overly grunge feel to it. Rough, but there are enough natural elements to keep it grounded – the sky, plants, earth. Shooting with that same wide angle lens, Erica being close to camera, with camera angle up towards the sky, imparts an almost heroic feel to our model. There’s no question she’s the hero of the shot. And, although her actual size in the two images is similar, her placement definitely relegates the background to, well, the background.
With her gaze off-camera, though, there is still a sense of mystery to it.
Sort of like this picture taken in New Mexico:
Well, OK, how about a few feet away, on the opposite wall.
Same outfits, same location. Much different feel.
The images are quite different in how they were shot and presented, yet there is that unifying element to it of the off-camera gaze. By taking a different perspective, and emphasizing the unique look of each in post production, I was able to tell very different stories literally within feet of each other.