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A Photographer • Graphic Designer • Illustrator • Typographer • Teacher • Creating effective visual messages since 1965

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Seth presents a studio challenge

by imagist on July 12, 2010

A couple weeks ago Seth Tyler completed two chandeliers. In this particular case Seth felt a “neutral” background would be preferable to their installed environment. We met to discuss how best to photograph them in the studio before they were permanently installed in the commissioner’s home.

So the challenge begins with questions like, “Do you want the illusion of a ceiling meeting a wall? Or the look of a ceiling meeting two walls (as in a corner)? Or the feeling of a studio sweep (more of an abstract space)?” Each of these possibilities requires a different approach to set design and construction as well as lighting; and of course budget in terms of time and materials. We must also consider the space limitations of my two relatively small shooting areas. In the end we decided to create an “upside down” sweep using a 4×10 foot sheet of gray Formica which I had in inventory; with the bottom edge held firmly in the channel of my Foba shooting table; we had only to figure out how to suspend the other 10 feet. When creating studio sweeps gravity is normally your friend. Gravity becomes your enemy when turning the sweep upside down. To save “my” time I drew up a suggested frame design that Seth could build and bring on the day of the shoot. But on the day we stood in my studio, discussing that approach, we also started pulling out nearly every light stand, clamp, and horizontal pole support I own. Three hours later we had the sweep inverted and needing only a 2″x4″x8′, properly drilled, to mount the chandeliers to. Lighting through the maze of light stands was, of course, yet another challenge. (additional chandelier details and lighting options can be seen in this slide show).

(click image for larger view)

Leica R8/DMR, 60mm Macro, (additional image slide show includes 100 mm Apo Macro)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt mILLEN July 12, 2010 at 7:48 pm

The photography gives me new appreciation for lighting light.
The fixture, especially the band ornamentation, is excellent.


Dan Nauman July 14, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Nice work, on both accounts. The German Renaissance -like pass throughs are well done as they are finely balanced and clean. Overall design is also well executed and thought out.

Regarding the image, a piece such as this desrves full attention from the audience when used for a portfolio. It allows the veiwer to see without distraction. The effort to achieve the effect was well worth the time involved.

On the other hand, an image of the piece in the environment for which it was intended would be a fine compliment to these images, as my curiosity has now been aroused wondering how and where this piece will be displayed.

George, you shot images of one of my chandeliers which instilled two totally different emotions, as the piece was shot as a stand alone, and also collectively with all the visual aspects of its final home. I believe this piece could be effectively shot in both situations, allowing others to see not only the integrity of the piece itself, but also how it relates in its intended environment.


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