When Ruby told me about her idea for a "style swap" type challenge, I thought it was fabulous and of course I was instantly up for it. Challenges are good, and challenges that compel me to haul out my lighting equipment are even better!
I am mainly an available light photographer. Sometimes I enjoy using on-camera flash, particularly at night, but at best I am trusting my gut with it rather than going by any real experience or knowledge. I know even less about studio lighting. Really, I know nothing. I just know that sometimes when I am photographing indoors, I need more light, and I don't always want that to be in the form of a flash. I own a few softboxes, mainly because a few months ago a friend hired me to do a little photo shoot in a bar so dark it may as well have been a camera obscura, and it seemed like a great excuse to acquire a little gear and try to learn something new.
Ruby's photography is hugely inspiring to me. This photograph, in particular, I find astonishingly, beautifully striking. The dramatic lighting, the dynamic pose, the look, even just the juxtaposition of a gorgeous woman with the fighting-wrapped hands: it's the calm before the storm. It's quiet readiness, but it speaks - loudly. It's an incredible portrait that goes beyond just a picture of person; you can see HER, and she leaps out of the frame and into your space. I have no idea how to make something like this, but I love portraits that really give you an insight into the living, breathing human being that stepped in front of the camera, and as soon as I saw it I thought about how much I would love to try my hand at it myself.
And then there came this photograph, which was part of a series so fabulously awesome that I feel like everyone needs to see them. The lighting is perfect, the background fits the scene so well, but my favorite part is the playfulness, the un-self conscious, glorious child shining through. There's the sense of movement, and there's Hello Kitty on the guitar strap. It's the kind of thing you would catch your child doing and WISH you could capture so you would never forget, and Ruby did it.
I have no clients, but I do have an often / sometimes willing daughter as a favorite model, so I called upon her to pose for me for my side of the challenge. It's possible this required a little bribery of the chocolate kind, but by now I have forgotten. These two were made with my Super Ikonta camera, Tri-X, one softbox (octobox) on the floor in front of her, and one gigantic bare bulb off to her left (the right of the photo).