One Big, Beautiful Light

15 01 2010

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So I’ve been really busy lately. For one, we’ve been planning the seminar that’s taking place this up-coming weekend, November 7th and 8th. We’re almost sold out, which is exciting and I want to thank all of you who have purchased tickets and are planning on attending! It’s going to be really fun, the models are GREAT and the studio we’re using is just A+ professional, as are the people who run Smashbox. Secondly, I have been spending ALOT of time SHOOTING SHOOTING and SHOOTING some more! Here are some new pictures along with a Lighting Diagram on a test I did with just 1 Big Beautiful Light!

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I recently decided to start working with Maria Bianco at Blur Production. Maria has a long resume of working with photographers and ad agencies as both an agent and a producer. Maria approached me to work with me and after our first phone conversation, I was convinced! We met briefly before she took off to Chicago, in the meantime, I had an ad agency in Europe ask me to put together an estimate on an image and I immediately called Maria to help me with it. We bonded through the experience and I was eager to start working with her when she got back in August.

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The one thing Maria wanted a hand in was the organizing of my portfolio, the most important selling object a photographer has. I brought my book over to her office and she immediately grabbed the post-its and started tagging the pictures that she wanted out of my book. Honestly, I love that! I need a seasoned voice, someone who is emotionally removed from the images and who knows what art buyers and editors are looking for. Often times, as photographers, we are too attached to a photograph and it isn’t representing us in the best light or in the direction we are heading in. I can handle a harsh critique of my work, I welcome it! And while she wasn’t mean about it, she did point out some things that I hadn’t realized until her critique. One thing she said to me was that my work had this very “dark” almost Gothic feel to it and it was overpowering my book.

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I believe that art imitates life, in other words, we tend to create art that mimics what is going on in our own lives. My father passed away almost 2 years ago and the experience of being with him in his last 6 months was very powerful. I literally put all things aside to be with my dad as he prepared to die. It isn’t something I really want to go into here, but the experience was incredibly cathartic. I have written before how my father was the one who convinced me to become a fashion photographer and was incredibly supportive of my career choice. It’s the one thing I am so grateful for as I know there are people when starting out who’s peers or parents are strongly against them going into such a competive and financially unpredictable field. At any rate, back to the portfolio, the sadness and grief I experience of losing my father translated itself on to my work and my work did have this “heavy”, “dark” feel to it. And it was consistent. However, in my personal life, I am fairly happy. I love to laugh, I’m surrounded by great people and friends who really love me. My own world is not so dark. And my old work was beginning to feel contradictory to how I really see things. Maria suggested shooting a fashion editorial test for my book in the way that was much brighter and more approachable and this shoot here with Sarah Deanna is the first of many tests that are keeping me busy these days but also really inspiring me as an artist!

One Big Beautiful Light - Lighting Diagram

(Lighting Diagram)

I used one light. The Elinchrom Rotalux 39-Inch Deep Throat Octagonal Softbox on a Profoto Head. That’s it! I placed it above the models head, about 6 feet away from her. She stood near the background so we had a nice short shadow. Again, I cannot empathize it enough how important my crew is. Having the best model, hair stylist, make up artist and wardrobe stylist is tantamount to having a successful fashion shoot. I worked with Sarah Deanna again, from LA Models. You remember Sarah from the Mechar Handbag shoot? After we worked together that day, we have wanted to shoot a test together and we finally were able to pull it off 4 months later! I worked with Steve David from Artists by Next who did Sarah Deanna’s hair and Heather Kubly-Pepe who did the make up. Both Heather and Steve are just geniuses when it comes to their craft. George Blodwell was kind of enough to lend his styling wizardry for my test. The whole team pulled together and we produced a stellar test for my book. I had 10 shots retouched, only 4 will go in my portfolio, 8 will go on my website. My website, incidentally, is being updated and moved over to Viewbook! I love the guys at Viewbook, they are so helpful and nice. But I what I really love is the ability to manage my own site from now on!!! No more having to beg David to upload images  or take down images that are updated. It’s so nice to have that freedom now!

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All images from this shoot were shot on my Nikon D2x with my 85mm/1.4 lens. I shot at f10 at 1/250 of a second. The studio was a daylight studio when we entered it, I had them black it out. I think that’s it, as far as technical information. I think the most important information here is to always use the best talent you can get!

sarahdeanna-7(ALL IMAGES ©2009 Melissa Rodwell Photography)

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