4.0 Statement of Intent - Potrait Shoot - CANCELLED

Following research and discussions with the tutor I decided that this project was too ambitious for the time available and my current ability. See the 'UPDATED' version of this post for the revised statement of intent.

Title of Theme: You Bring The Colour

Statement of Application
The influences behind my choice are included in blog 4.1 My Portrait Theme Choice. 

My vision for the final outcome is to produce 10 shots that could be used in a promotional campaign for a travel company. Thinking laterally they could equally be used in a promotional sense for  camera company - but that is not the purpose.

I have collected a series of images from a number of sources that provide the storyboard for the shoot.

Equipment Used
A full description of the equipment used can be found on Blog 4.2 Equipment and details of my experience with lighting on blog 4.4 Studio Trial - Portrait Shoot - Family

Technique Used
For details of the lighting, shooting and post shoot techniques used please see blog 4.5 Family Shoot.

Lighting Application and Control
Learning about the use and control of lighting is covered in blogs 4.3 Studio Lighting Set Ups & 4.4 Studio Trial - Portrait Shoot - Family

A discussion about the lighting actually used is covered in blog 5.0 Portrait Shoot.

Health & Safety Considerations
A review of H&S considerations and assessment of risks is covered in blog 9.0 Health & Safety

4.1 My Portrait Theme Choice - CANCELLED

These influences have lead to my portrait theme choice "You Bring It To Life".

The underlying idea is a 'travel advertising' shoot. Using shadows/silhouettes to depict iconic locations e.g. the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and safari animals. By introducing people in full colour, in typical holiday regalia, the contrast then supports the tag line "you bring it to life".

What is a Silhouette? - well according to the fountain of all knowledge - Wikipedia "A silhouette is a view of an object or scene consisting of the outline and a featureless interior, with the silhouetted object usually being black. The term was initially applied in the 18th century to portraits or other pictorial representations cut from thin black card". Perfect.

The term has also (from the same source) "....been extended to describe the sight or image of a person, object or scene that is back lit, and appears dark against a lighter background. Double perfect (if a man can say such a thing).

This effect has been used to create a very specific genre of theatre "shadow". Its history can be dated beyond the 13th century in China. Today there are over 20 countries with 'troupes' performing the genre.' Pilobolus' are an American troupe originating from New York City. Following widespread exposure on US TV, they have since appeared around the world, featuring on
the UK's Royal Variety Performance show of 2009.

The following images show how the effect can be created.

Because a silhouette emphasises the outline, the word has also been used in the fields of fashion and fitness to describe the shape of a person's body or the shape created by wearing clothing of a particular style or period.

Because of the limitations of studio space I will need to back light 'small' silhouettes to then projected 'larger' shadows on to a white background.

4.2 My Portraits

Here's a range of portraits covering posed to candid, all with natural light. Photoshop effects have been used for one - used because I felt it suited (reflected) Ben's personality (and I got to play with effects I usually steer a million miles from).

This one may look like it's in a studio but it's actually taken at the top of one of those inflatable slides - with a zoom lens). PhotoShop was used to burn out the already completely white background.

4.3 Studio photography Set Ups

Fashion Lighting Set-Ups

Here's The Set Up Diagrams & Results

4.7.1 Frantisek Drtikol

As 'one of the photographers to research' I was struck by Drtikol's use of thrown shadows and use of geometric shapes (I'm also a fan of that architect and designer Charles Rennie McKintosh). Drtikol's work was often related to the avant-garde period of the time as well as cubism and futurism. However, where McKintosh uses lines, Drtikol uses circles and spirals of light and of dark. They soften what otherwise might be harsh images. Equally they cleverly draw us to the subject in the wya that others use lines.

Whilst he was known primarily for portraits of the famous and nude shots it was the image 'The Soul' that struck a chord with my very own soul. Looking at Drtikol's other works the use of shadows and shape seemed aligned with my 'Pilobus' theme. The image was created from carved figures (with elongated shapes). The theme was repeated in many other pictures aimed at symbolically representing various Buddhist themes. Again I find parallels with eastern religions and philosophies.

When I look at Drtikol's nudes using geometric shapes the lines remind me of yin & yang and the Trigram lines of the I Ching.

It is shape and the contrast of light and dark that features so strongly in Dritkol's images, lots of contrast and rich shadows. 

In the slide show that follows 'The Soul' is shown in its original form and inverted (as displayed elsewhere) revealing entirely different interpretations of the image. For me the idea of the soul rising towards enlightenment or heaven appeals.

The images are arranged with the 'created figurines' at the start of the show, followed by the nudes with the final image depicting Buddhist meditation. As such they represent my interests and grouping and are not chronological.

'The Cry' from 1927 also appears and the idea can be seen in David Allan Brandt's images - see the slide show in the blog of the same name on this site.

A front cover of 'Vanity Fair' features the pop singer Madonna in a typical Drtikol pose showing his style's continued relevance.

Drtikol later gave up photography to take up painting themes representing eastern religions and philosophies. This also seemed to coincide with his fall from an internationally recognised photographer to self imposed hermitism and subsequent obscurity.

The Czech photographer Frantisek Drtikol (1883-1961) began his career when Prague Symbolism and "Art Nouveau" still held sway. The influence of these movements is evident in his early nude photographs, which convey a sense of alienation in their painterly quality. In the twenties and early thirties Drtikol reshaped the genre of classical nude photography by synthesizing into a new aesthetic aspects from silent film, avant-garde art, expressive dance and Art Deco design.

After his student years in the artistically fertile Munich of the turn of the century, after his apprenticeship and military service, he opened his own photographic studio in Prague, which became one of the most successful in Europe of the twenties. That his fame later suffered an almost total eclipse is only partly explained by the historical circumstances of the time, for in the early thirties Drtikol gave up photography, sold his studio, valuable glass pates and negatives, to devote himself to painting and mysticism in the seclusion of a hermit's life.
—Introduction from FRANTISEK DRTIKOL: Art-Deco Photographer