152mc Working with Light: Easter Homework – 10 images – Part 2

Rankin (2013)
Rankin (2013)

Rankin is another famous portrait photographer that often gets involved in campaign images. The above image is one he shot to raise awareness of the increasing problem of blindness in developing countries and that the large proportion of these sufferers are women. A team of models and make up artists were assembled and Rankin used his own recognisable style to make the images. For the above photo the light is neat and even and I would think he has used a beauty dish from in front and above the subject. There is slight shadowing in the cheeks, accentuating the cheek bones and under the chin. These are all traits of a beauty dish.

Annie Liebovitz – Queen Elizabeth II (2008)
Annie Leibovitz – Queen Elizabeth II (2008)

In 2008 world-famous photographer Annie Leibovitz was commissioned to take a series of images of Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. With both women being strong opinionated characters there was an instant friction as both had ideas on what the images should look like. Leibovitz finally got her way and the above is a typical image from that series. Using a large open window Liebovitz has made excellent use of natural light, from the view you can see the day looks cloudy and overcast and this ensures that the light is soft as it has been diffused by the clouds. Angling the Queen at 90° to the window creates a half-light and half dark effect similar to that which I demonstrated in the studio. With the other objects in the room the light entering is reflected back and this means that the dark half is still clear and visible.

Gregory Crewdson (nd)
Gregory Crewdson (nd)

Gregory Crewdson is another image maker whose individualistic style is instantly recognisable. His visions are created by a team of people using large elaborate and expensive sets. Lighting as always is a critical factor in what he wants to portray and the above image shows this. There are dozens of lights used to make this effect but Crewdson has opted to use a cold blue light to accentuate the sad and depressive scene we see here. There is lamp light in the image and even the warming orange glow from this has been overpowered. This particular lighting is suggesting that the person in the chair is desperately unhappy or lonely and even has connotations of death. Conversely, in the background a warmer light is in play. The person in the Kitchen is active and the use of lighting reflects this happier feeling.Without this clever use of lighting the overall feel and mood of the image would be very different.

Marcel Christ (nd)
Marcel Christ (nd)

Marcel Christ is considered one of the top marketing photographers in the world. His style centres around high-speed action photos coupled with product shots combined into a single composite image. The above marketing poster for the watch maker RADO is a good example of this. When it comes to lighting Christ is faced with a similar challenge to Joel Grimes in that he needs to ensure that from the images he uses to make a composite that the light appears to be even and from the same source. Shooting in a studio gives Christ all the control he needs and he usually chooses to use an even light with little to no shadow. Because he is also working with plain backgrounds he has no need to worry about the light beyond the subject.

David LaChapelle (nd)
David LaChapelle (nd)

My final image is by David LaChapelle. Like Crewdson he works with elaborate and purpose-built sets or props to deliver his message. I was drawn to the above image as it reminded me of the New Topographics images taken of petrol stations in America back in the 1950’s and again in the 1990’s, but other than the composition the similarities end there. This would most likely have been another purpose-built creation and LaChapelle has opted for using an ambient light effect. The light used in the petrol station structure are not usual though as they appear much brighter but this would have been done to accentuate the stations presence. There is not a lot of information about this series available but it is likely to be LaChapelle’s condemnation of the destruction and pollution caused by the large oil companies. However I can’t help thinking that the portrayal seems more like the petrol station is a shining beacon in the natural world.



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