The Making of An Image II

In the same spirit as my last post on the topic here is a completely different animal. This time I will get the techno babble out of the way first since it was the essence of simple. Shot on my Fuji X100, aperture priority 1/450s @ f2 ISO 1600. I did dial in 2/3 additional exposure compensation. Post processing VSCO film 02 using the new Fuji profile version of Portra 400NC. Actually the "++" version of that emulation.

Moving on to the important part - motivation, intent, subject treatment, pov, composition, etc. I shot a series of about 100 images with my X100 on this particular day. Not randomly as was my usual method with the little camera. Completely the opposite. I shot them with intent and a goal in mind. I had been practicing a bit with the Fuji so that I would know it as well as I know some of my other cameras. I was at a point where I felt I knew enough about it's imaging characteristics as well as it's handling where I would be comfortable treating it in a more serious manner. Something I had been promising to do for months. For some photographers I am sure that a certain level of intimacy with a device is not that important. Well maybe that's not an absolute truth but let's just say it's relative. For me that intimacy is critical for my psychological well being while shooting subjects and that is important. If the device doesn't go away - just disappear out of my thoughts I just cannot do a decent job with the subject. Maybe it's less true if you shoot rocks or trees but I don't.

This was the first day I took the X100 on a dry run for that camera's intended purpose in my photographic life. Specifically to be used exclusively on a long term personal project. I had a certain treatment in mind as well as a certain working method and the hundred images I shot this day were the proof that what was in my head would work for that project. I am more than a bit funny that way - I have to know before I commit. Another trick I play with my own head so that it's not cluttered with bullshit when I have subjects in front of me.

Overall I wanted a loose feel with a lot going on in the frame. I wanted the photographer, the camera, and artifice in technique and subject to disappear. Nuance rather than explicit. Quiet rather than loud. Casual but sophisticated composition with a couple of layers. This is what my "serious" project required from a look at my previous failed attempts.

Ten or Twelve shots for this scene. Within the first two shots the camera disappeared. Somewhat credited to the X100, somewhat credited to chit chat and approach of yours truly. Here's what I mean. Take a look at the second shot in of this particular sceneā€¦

Completely different, kinda interesting in it's own way. Of course I grabbed it while I was working the scene. Not what I was going for. Did I direct Anastasia not to do that? Nope just continued chit chatting about things that had nothing to do with these images, this scene, or anything photo related while I developed the frame a bit. Sometimes with camera to eye. Sometimes not. The framing was too tight for what I wanted and I wanted to arrange the almost matching reds of the candle, the lipstick, and the nail polish in some sort of interesting way. I also wanted to turn this scene into a few different pictures inside of a picture. I loosened up the frame a bit and started playing around with arranging the reds and using some of the lines of the mirror frame, the corner, and the stuff on the wall a bit.

I also played around with focus point which dramatically alters where your eye starts and then bounces around in any composition. All of that stuff is secondary but critically important. Primary importance is gesture and expression which are timing critical. That had started going in the direction of what I wanted at about shot number three or four. Here's one from mid sequence with a different framing and focus point.

Almost there. There was a part of Anastasia, a look that I had seen that I didn't have here yet. I refined the composition just a bit more to get the reds related a little differently and more explicitly take advantage of the pictures within pictures thought process. All the while I continued the conversation. I think I had the frame composed in the manner that I wanted. Now all that's left to do is wait for that look and a suitable gesture. That was the very next frame. The one at the top. I shot two more frames after that that were just variations of the same image. I like the first one at the top the best.

I probably like it the best because I found it most suitable for a prototype of the treatment that I am using on that personal project. Only time will tell. I have been using the whole series I shot that day to play with different post processing treatments as well. I have settled on three. Not three options three treatments to be used. One black and white and two color. The black and white is for scenes that I will shoot specifically for black and white. One color is for bright colorful scenes that would be analogous to a low speed color film that I would have chosen to shoot in those specific conditions. The other color treatment is for lower light moodier scenes again the same thing I would have done if I were shooting film. I wouldn't shoot a project on film ith 42 completely different films and 42 completely different looks. I would have picked one, two, or three. Since this is a longer term project and will definitely be shot under a lot of various conditions three seemed appropriate.

I did violate my "rules" a bit. I shot a session specifically for "that project" prior to determining the overall look. It's okay I am not a slave to my own rules, well at least not all the time. My next session is mid May but I am done fooling with looks now. I have tested them on that first session as well as this dry run. Now I can shoot with those looks as an end result in mind - in a lot of cases a better idea than deciding after the fact. Of course I am going to shoot with my new X100S primarily but it wouldn't be so bad if I used the old X100 either. I still have it. Maybe it's a back up. I do feel guilty I haven't used it lately. I am not comfortable with cameras that aren't used. Maybe I will re-think what I will do with it.

RB

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