While away at my recent Artist Residency, I took on practicing a new layer of skill as a photographer. DIY Lighting. I found mentorship from a photographer I've actually never met who took a fancy to my work. His entire career has been in commercial photography and he enjoys working with students and being part of their success. He's been super patient and encouraging. I feel rather grateful.
I have resisted commercial lighting for many reasons. Mostly because I didn't want to fuss with it. I felt comfortable using natural or existing light. I didn't want the expense of it, the clutter of it, the toting of it, the cords ...well, you get the idea. Yet to move forward in my work. I really needed to get off it about all my why nots...and be more about how can knowledge of lighting be useful for me. While I don't envision myself as a studio photographer, having access to doing work with lights...simply, does appeal to me.
I did some practicing at home rather successfully, my set up was rather crude, in my kitchen on top of my washing machine. Once I got to my working environment at my residency. I felt super nervous. I had to create a studio in a room that was an active dining room and store front. There were things I hadn't thought about like the back round. I didn't feel practiced enough with diffusing light or using the white board. Right after this shot I completely knocked over the jar of dilly beans. Can you say pickle smell?? A few times I tripped over cords. It was only a matter of time that something else would get broken.
One thing I know about myself is if I have to over think something it isn't going to happen.
I was able to get some imagery that I felt good about from the above set up, but in the end the top of this table felt limiting and dangerous!
Someone - perhaps a video I watched or a peer or a friend mentioned that sometimes trusting ones gut is the only way to go...often photographers are making do with a variety of situations they have no control over.
I shifted my mock studio to this storage space for firewood. Partly because I felt like I could control it more. I found myself drawn to the natural woody back round.
I admit I found myself rather amused when items like a carrot cake on a pedestal found it's way to the space to be photographed.
I spent several days experimenting with this set up. Playing really. and drooling. Oh my gosh, SO much delicious food!! (have to thank Alline of Milkweed Mercantile Inn for that !!) What I knew and trusted about working with natural light was actually quite the same as with lights. It was simply a matter of looking and following my gut.
Here a few of my favorites:
Back from my residency several weeks now, I have not pulled out the DIY Lighting set up again. In thinking about my work and what I am striving for, I have to find clarity in how lighting will fit with what my creative expression might be. Food. uh - that's a no brainer, yet I am not sure that I am that committed to photographing my making of my dinner each and every night. I can always photograph things. That's easy. Stills are around me always, but why would I photograph things?? People. Now that's something I have never focused on. Formal or Studio Style Portraits. Hmmmmmm....I have to think about that one. Stay tuned!!
Photography = a never ending opportunity to capture visual celebrations.