Abstract Photography is an interesting area because it is often quite difficult to understand. One explanation is that if you can recognise the object being photographed then the image is not abstract.
While this may be true it is quite possible to produce abstract images from very recognizable objects simple by getting in very close.
The shot below was taken of a spider web that has collected the morning dew. It was shot with a standard lens in as close as i could and try to time it perfectly so that no breeze was present.
In 1962 Brent Stern took a series of images of Marilyn Monroe that ended up being the last photoshoot before her death. I had long wanted to do a similar shoot and had previously discussed it with Grace when we shot a year before. I thought that the idea was consigned to the “maybe” file until I got a call from Grace telling me that she had lost 8kg in weight and wanted some new shots and did I want to do the Marilyn series. Hell Yes was the answer.
We arranged to meeting at Studio 9 in Lower Hutt which I had booked for the day to run a workshop. A couple of benches were pulled together and turned into a bed and a sheet of white metal served as a backdrop.
In keeping with the 60’s theme the shoot was done in black & white and I love the outcome.
This is still a work in progress. I had an idea of recreating a cartoon style image where a person conscience is represented by an angel and a devil. Sarah and Renee agreed to be my subjects and even co-ordinated their outfits. Morgan agreed to do the makeup and also to be the main person in the image.
I have decided that I would shoot in front of a green screen, and because of the number of people had to use my garage. This was not idea as it has a very low ceiling.
The shoot was extremely funny event as the girls kept cracking up all the time to a point where in the end it was easiest to shoot them separately.
Unfortunately Morgan could stay for the shoot so my daughter Samantha ended up as a fill in. Once Morgan is available then we will finish this project.
Part of the concept of doing the MOS shoot was to introduce an urban feel to the photos, and this was being achieved by having graffiti in them. I knew that there were too approaches to this. I could drive all over Wellington, models and gear in tow, and shoot on location, or I could shoot in the warm of the studio in front of a greenscreen and composite the images later.
I had shot both Grace and Janelle before so I knew that they could pull off what I wanted. Grace had the added bonus of having some really nice tattoos that I knew could incorporate in the look that I was after.
The shoot took place over two Sundays while at the same time I scouted locations around the valley as well as on the net.
Another category in the 2011 Wellington Interclub was “cosmopolitan”. The word can have several meaning and I took the drink as my inspiration. I wanted a close up shot of a cocktail and rich lips.
Grace agreed to help me with this one and we managed to nail it fairly quickly, although she was a little disappointed when she discovered that I was getting her to drink straight cranberry juice with no alcohol.
While Grace’s lips and makeup were perfect it was not until I got the final print that I realised that her nails did not have any polish on them. By that stage it was too late to fix. The judge picked that fact up but rather than downgrading the image, thought it was a deliberate statement.
The image did very well coming second in its category.
Another category in the 2011 Wellington Interclub was “shadows”. I have always like images that have shown light coming through a window with venetian blinds. This instantly came to mind when I say the topic, and wanted to create effect of shadows on a body.
Now my wife actually hates venetians blinds so there are none in our house to use so I had to create a set in the studio. Using a bamboo curtain from the recyclers clamped onto two supports I then set a studio light on the other side.
Cath volunteered to be my model and we ended up getting a series of shots that I believed were stunning and exactly what I was after.
Unfortunately the selection committee was very conservative and the image never made it to the competition.
Janelle agreed to take part in my Mirror shoot with the angels wings. At the end of the session I changed the lights around and using a studio light with a snoot took this image which was entered into several competitions and printed up beautifully.
I really enjoy entering competitions on themes, because it lets me bring out the creative side in me. The 2011 Wellington Interclub had a topic called “Reflect”. I imagined that most people would take this as meaning a reflection and we would see the usual mountain reflected in a lake. I wanted to be a little different so decided to interpret the total as a reflection on the soul.
I wanted to create a shoot where a mirror showed what the true self was like rather than the show we put on. What better way to do than the difference between an angel and devil. I already has access to a set of white wings and bought some black ones.
Janelle agreed to be my model and came with several sets of white, black and red lingerie. We photographed the white sets first, then moved onto the other sets. She was a great subject and nailed all of the expressions that I was looking for.
Then in post I selected the best and composited them in photoshop.
I make a few mistakes with the setup which made the post production a lot harder than it should have been. If anyone is interested I have an article written about it.
The final image was well received by everyone who saw it but in the end it was not selected for the competition.