Thursday, April 25, 2013

Photographing Dancers


I've always enjoyed attending dance performances.  Living on the Upper West Side has provided me access to Lincoln Center where the ABT regularly performs each spring and where visiting dance companies have staged historic shows at the Met Opera.  Probably the best performance I ever witnessed there was given by the Paris Opera Ballet in the 1980's when Rudolf Nureyev (as Rothbart) and Sylvie Guillem (as Odette/Odile), then a young ├ętoile with the company, joined together in Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.

But it isn't my love for classical dance that gives me so much satisfaction in photographing female dancers.  These women rehearse several hours a day until their feet sometimes bleed.   As a result, when posing nude, they display an almost perfect musculature.  It's difficult not to admire their perfection of movement.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Couture Show at NYC Fashion Week


While posting photos yesterday of Boston runway model Jasmine, I came across some photos I had taken of her working the runway at a couture show during NYC Fashion Week in 2008.  The clothing shown had been designed by Jean Fares who has designed any number of gowns worn by celebrities at such red carpet events as Cannes, the Oscars and the Emmys.



Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston Runway Model



I worked several years ago with Jasmine, an excellent runway model from the Boston area.  At 5'11", Jasmine was much taller than most Asian models.  She was also extremely photogenic and very professional to work with.  I haven't been in touch with Jasmine, however, for quite some time and do not know if she is still active within the industry.


 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tokyo Model Lira



Another model now located in Tokyo whom I met through Model Mayhem was Lira (MM# 2013122).  Much taller than most Japanese, Lira has the perfect height and weight for fashion work. Lira is also extremely professional and a lot of fun to work with. When posing, she takes direction extremely well and brings a great deal of international experience to any shoot.  I strongly recommend her to photographers working in Japan's Tokyo metro area.

The top photo was taken in 2011 when I photographed Lira at the Viktor Luna show during NYC Fashion Week.  The one below it was shot at my studio.  The two photos at bottom were both taken several months later in the Tokyo's Asakusa district near the famous shrine while Lira and I were preparing to have lunch at a nearby restaurant.  I appreciate so much the hospitality Lira and other Japanese showed me in welcoming me to their country.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tokyo Model Chiemi


Over the past few years, I've inadvertently accummulated a trove of digital photos of the models whom I've photographed.  I say "inadvertently" because these photos were never intended for publication.  In the film days, like every other photographer, I shot Polaroids in the studio to check lighting and exposure before proceeding to take the "real" photos on film.  When digital came along, I found that the best use in the studio for my Nikon D200 was as a replacement for the Polaroids.  I would take five or six exposures with each change of lighting before shooting a roll of film.  If the model were inexperienced, I would continue shooting digital until she felt more comfortable.  At any rate, I saved the digital "Polaroids and will be periodically posting on this blog selections from my archives.

I originally met Chiemi, whose photos are shown here, in 2005 when she was living in Brooklyn on a student visa.  We eventually became best friends and I look forward to visiting her and her husband, himself a talented photographer named Kosuke, whenever I am in Japan.  Not only is Chiemi a beautiful model, but she is a talented musician as well, one of the few in Japan to have mastered the autoharp.  Anyone with an interest in Tokyo's cultural life should check Chiemi's blog for an update.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Low Key Lighting


I rather liked this portrait I recently printed of model Stella with whom I worked several times last year. The manner in which the face recedes into the shadows creates a sense of mystery as the model's features are partially obscured. I was attempting to suggest the model's beauty rather than clearly delineate it.

But is this a "low key portrait" or an example of "low key lighting"? There is a difference between the two that is sometimes confusing. The Wikipedia entry on "low key lighting" is so short that it can be quoted in its entirety:
"Low-key lighting is a style of lighting for photography, film or television. It is a necessary element in creating a chiaroscuro effect. Traditional photographic lighting, three point lighting uses a key light, a fill light, and a back light for illumination. Low-key lighting often uses only one key light, optionally controlled with a fill light or a simple reflector.

"Low key light accentuates the contours of an object by throwing areas into shade while a fill light or reflector may illuminate the shadow areas to control contrast. The relative strength of key-to-fill, known as the lighting ratio, can be measured using a light meter. Low key lighting has a higher lighting ratio, e.g. 8:1, than high-key lighting, which can approach 1:1.

"The term "low key" is used in cinematography to refer to any scene with a high lighting ratio, especially if there is a predominance of shadowy areas. It tends to heighten the sense of alienation felt by the viewer, hence is commonly used in film noir and horror genres."
Fair enough, but Wikipedia then draws a distinction in its definition of "low key":
"Low key as a term used in describing paintings or photographs is related to but not the same as low-key lighting in cinema or photography.
"A painting or image is low key if its dominant values are dark."
The source of the confusion may lie in the fact that the term "low key" antedates the invention of photography and cinema and the use of artificial lighting. There is an article in Photography - Stack Exchange that thoroughly explores the history of the terminology and makes for interesting reading.