2 new strobes,
2 new models,
and lots more opera
Last year was another productive journey in the course of my work as I continued to integrate more abstract forms within the mirrors. Perhaps my biggest area of growth in 2018 was my use of lighting in the studio, in primarily two ways:
- I significantly upgraded the lighting system in my studio. The impetus for this change had to do with safety – during a shoot my studio is dark – really, really dark – lit only from the modeling lights on the strobes [which provide not much more light than what you would have in a darkroom.] I do this so extraneous elements don’t show up in the various reflected materials. As a result of working in essentially a cave, I would often trip over the legs of the light stands. Since this is a working, creative space I could splat on a multitude of things on the floor such as broken plastic mirrors, scissors, lenses, black crates, models, etc. So I invested in a rail system where the lights are hanging from the ceiling. The result is much, much safer, instead of tripping over the lights I now bang my head into them – a significant improvement! The unintended benefit is that it is so incredibly easy to move the lights up and down, and side to side that I have been much more playful – always a good thing.
- The second reason for my growth in my use of light is that I started working with a new model, J., who is from Jamaica and has beautiful dark, dark skin. My other new model, R, is a lovely and expressive young woman of Filipino descent.
J.’s skin appears metallic – almost granite like in texture- with brilliant highlights dropping off to shadow very quickly, while R.’s lighter skin has a broader tonal range from highlights to shadows.
I have not had a regular female model for several years, so combining her with J. in a purely formal way has been a new direction this year.
Sometimes, like in the above image, Untitled #08-20-18-899, I get to work with two models, but when I only have one, the mannequins I began working with in 2016 continue to serve as superb stand-ins.
Another area of growth for me in 2018 was my continuing love of opera and frequenting more productions. Opera is full of extreme emotions – jealousy, unrequited love, a love triangle and/or death, murder, sickness. There is nothing subtle in an opera plot. [BTW opera fans are just as enthusiastic as football fans, and almost as vocal!]
It seems that my devotion to opera manifests itself as RED in my work.
RED – seductive, visceral, angry and passionate, crept back into my work toward the end of 2018. RED can be both joy and agony, and passionate and visceral. More about RED in a later blog.
As with the last handful of years, 2018 included a significant amount of time spent in the studio and shooting on a consistent, regular basis. 77 shoots total, finding myself behind the camera an average of at least once a week. I have loved being able to devote so much time to looking through the lens, seeing new and exciting forms emerge from the same materials I’ve worked with for over 30 years, and I’m looking forward to what develops in 2019!
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback!