Thursday, December 16, 2010

Musician portrait, Jerome Gordon, Viola player

Yesterday I photographed violist Jerome Gordon (who subs for LA Phil and Pacific Symphony) in my parent's living room. I had wanted to use it as a location for along time, but didn't have the right subject until now. My concept was this, Jerome has two aspects to his personality, and I wanted to show that in a single picture.

The way I was going to execute this was with a picture in a photo. Easygoing, laughing Jerome under a framed photo of concentrating, game face Jerome playing his viola. Here was the basic set-up:

I'm using two Profoto Acute heads with 50ยบ Magnum reflectors on either side and a ring flash on the camera for fill. Next to the camera on the table is a Broncolor grid spot made for a ringflash, and adapted to fit Profoto. Its nice when you want the ringflash look but don't want to light the whole room.

First I'm going to show you the finished shot, which frankly isn't my favorite. Usually my concepts are solid and I end up executing them and going with the planned shot, but this time I wasn't entirely on target.

The problem here, is not that its a bad shot, but that symbolically it looks like he's an ego-maniac (Jerome is humble as the day is long in summer), hanging a picture of himself in a fancy living room. That's not really the look I was going for.

But there are a few shots that I am quite happy with, including this one:

Hasselblad HC150, 1/350 sec @f8.0, ISO 50

My friend Tram Tran said "That's so sharp, the wrinkle on his shirt looks like it could cut me." I can live with that. In fact its so sharp, that it was difficult to show 900 pixel jpegs because all the detail goes away. For the brave and well connected, here's a 3MB close-up screen capture with Lightroom settings in the frame.

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