Shot of the Week – vol 2

Nothing like starting a series of weekly posts and immediately breaking the rules…

Resisting-Escape-4-27
Resisting Escape

Nothing like starting a series of weekly posts and immediately breaking the rules that you set for them!  I posted a photo that I took yesterday, which was definitely my favorite of this week, so I thought that I might go to the archives for what actually is a work in progress; but more about that aspect later.

This week’s image is titled ‘Resisting Escape’ and it is part of a series of surreal images that I am putting together over the next couple of years.  I shot this during a workshop taught by the wonderful, giving Brooke Shaden (Promoting Passion is Brooke’s inspirational blog).  As you might imagine, this image was not captured in a single shot, but rather took a bit of visualization, planning and post-processing to make it come to life.

Brooke Shaden’s workshops give an in-depth, hands-on look into how she creates her amazing images; Brooke takes the participants from inspiration and techniques to set up the shoot all the way through post-processing.  For any photographer who is looking to expand the artistic side of their craft, I wholeheartedly recommend Brooke’s workshops.

A little about the process that I used in creating this image.

We were in an old, dilapidated mansion in New Jersey for the shooting segment of the workshop.  All of us took a tour of the mansion, so that we could decide on the rooms, in which we wanted to shoot.  Each of us got to pick one room for each of the three shooting segments.

When I saw this bathroom, I immediately had an idea about how I wanted to put together the shoot, as I visualized the struggle against being pulled into the hereafter, even though it might be a release from an abysmal existence.  The stark red served to me as an immediate indication of something wrong that affected the woman’s existence in this plane of reality.  To enhance the effect of moving into the menacing sky, the shooting angle had to be low, so this is where I set my camera on its tripod.

After some test shots and locking in the exposure, I shot the master image, which serves as the background image for the post-processing.  I explained to my awesome model what I was trying to achieve in the shot, so that I could get the right posture from her, as she was propped up in the air.  As you can understand, hand position and body angle were key to get the desired look of fighting against what is pulling her into the sky.

The one element that I did not get at the time of the shoot, is the sky.  It took me several months to find a sky that provide the kind of menace to fit the overall feel of the image.  As there were many photos that came together in creating this overall image, the post-processing took a bit of work, about 8 hours of work.  Even then, it was not until I started looking at this image a couple of weeks ago to consider it for a large format print, that I noticed a slight bit of imperfection, which is still to be edited.  Extra credit, if you find where it is…

Feel free to ask further questions about this image or the process, as I’d welcome your comments.

Author: jansenphoto

A Fresh Perspective Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment. Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael. My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals. Universal Connections My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation. This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections. Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client. And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!

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