It took almost a full week to decide on an idea for this months shot . I have to admit the temptation to say “forget it” and just go out and shoot whatever I feel like is strong. I won’t say I won’t do that at all this year, but these monthly shots are an exercise in the craft of conceiving and executing unique shots that capture and communicate ideas through a single photo. So I persist, if only for my own benefit…
This months theme: Light and Shadow
This concept was not born in a photographic technique and the idea is not to simply create a shot that includes lights and shadow (most good photos do), but to actually take the tension of good and evil and the story darkness verses light that has been told and retold as part of Christian heritage and somehow in a single image capture that conflict.
I chose this month to play with projection, both the projection of light and the projection of a silhouette (shadow). I will not simply include a silhouette figure in the image, but actually use methods of projection to show simultaneously a snake like shadow and a cross like beam of light.
I am torn on a main subject. A heart? A self portrait? A Bible? I want a subject that isn’t a massive cliche. I have enough classic imagery planned for this shot already. As a result of this lack of decision on a subject I came up with a crude storyboard featuring only those two elements (I said it was crude and I mean it, you probably couldn’t even tell it was a snake, and for that reason I won’t show it here. Fortunately for me I’m a better visualizer and photographer than I am a sketch artist.)
My basic lighting plan consists of a background horizontal plane lit by a flash behind a sheet of cardboard with a cross shape cut into it, the cross proportionally smaller at the top so the the projected image will look proportionally even in the light source.
The second light will be a weaker direction light which will provide the main fill light and will most likely be a medium source light like a window.
The shadow element will be a projection from a softbox through a narrow opening to give more directionality for the projection and a simple black stencil on cellophane will serve to create the image of the snake (The images I have contracted to my wife to draw for me. She is a crazy good artist and it gives me an excuse to involve her in the project.)
This post is getting to long and lacks the visual luster of my typical work, so I’ll end here, but take a moment to look at my gallery page. You won’t regret it and it will give your brain a chance to focus on visual aspects and less on the language center, if that’s even a thing (I’m apologetically not a neuroscietist, maybe when I’m older…)