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Shooting with the Rollei 6008AF and a Sinar eMotion22 and eMotion54 Digital Backs by Graham Mitchell A diary by advertising and fashion photographer Graham Mitchell. He's based in London and is a featured Sinar Photographer.

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  #1  
Old March 1st, 2010, 05:03 AM
Graham Mitchell Graham Mitchell is offline
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Default Cigar lounge portrait

Rollei 6008AF, Sinar e54LV back, 80mm f2.8 lens at f5.6, ISO 50, 1/500




EDIT: there were two subjects. Here is the other:


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Last edited by Asher Kelman; March 1st, 2010 at 08:35 AM.
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  #2  
Old March 1st, 2010, 05:08 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Originally Posted by Graham Mitchell View Post
Rollei 6008AF, Sinar e54LV back, 80mm f2.8 lens at f5.6, ISO 50, 1/500
Hi Graham,

Good shot. While I'm not too fond of this type of pincer lighting in general, it works for this shot to set a sinister/moody atmosphere (hope that's what you were after ;-) ).

Composition and placement of hands is good.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #3  
Old March 1st, 2010, 05:11 AM
Graham Mitchell Graham Mitchell is offline
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Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Hi Graham,

Good shot. While I'm not too fond of this type of pincer lighting in general, it works for this shot to set a sinister/moody atmosphere (hope that's what you were after ;-) ).

Composition and placement of hands is good.

Cheers,
Bart
Thanks and yes, I was after the "Chuck Bass" look (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Bass).
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  #4  
Old March 1st, 2010, 08:49 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Hi Graham,

Good shot. While I'm not too fond of this type of pincer lighting in general, it works for this shot to set a sinister/moody atmosphere (hope that's what you were after ;-) ).

I wonder why you don't like this type of lighting? It seems to work well for people with well sculpted faces. Is it used too much by some, too severe in general or what that you don't generally go for?


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Thanks and yes, I was after the "Chuck Bass" look (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Bass).

I had never heard of Chuck Bass but followed your link and was impressed. This reminds me of Yale University guys, the sons of Yale University guys who keep giving money to the school and then one of htem ends up as President of the USA! (Now someone is going to be mad at me, LOL!)

Asher
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  #5  
Old March 1st, 2010, 09:13 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Graham,

I always am impressed by your people work. This is no exception. In contrast to the pandemonium of the lawyers retreat, this is very call and styled, reminiscent of the barons who built the railroads and exploited oil and then tried to buy a new reputation for posterity by setting up museums in their name.






The do like the lighting here, although in my portraits I go for the smoothest even light to be kind to the folk and not add my slant to their being. However, your approach is definite and highly successful in defining, as Bart points out, a threatening mode. You have executed it well and one really does feel that these guys are rich enough to be wasteful.





The amazing folds in his unbuttoned shirt help to build into the picture an impression of luxurious excess. I appreciate the reveal of the brocade of his over the top but elegant smoking jacket.

I have some observations that I hope might be helpful.

Hands: one up and one down makes for dependency and blueness as venous blood collects while the elevated hands drains of the same and becomes pale. Now do we match the colors to the face, or not?

Smoke: I have the esthetic preference for magnificent clouds in a landscape to be seen in whole and not cut of by the border of the image. Similarly, here, we are given the slowly rising cigar smoke writing wisps and whirls, from which a genie or demon might pop out, and yet it's cut off. Yes, the smoke then has a commanding presence, but here, that interest and verticality will balance the more triangular mass of the main subject and just be an accent. It's the every so casual rising and changing smoke patterns that slow the pendulum of time here and should, IMHO, be allowed to be fully realized. This might mean a wider picture, but that would be fine too.

Proximal hand: it's very clear and emphasized a lot. Perhaps this might be toned down a little in importance, but without losing the detail on the cloth of sleeve.


Once again, you have made me want to try new things!

Asher
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  #6  
Old March 1st, 2010, 09:44 AM
Graham Mitchell Graham Mitchell is offline
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Thanks as always for your thoughts, Asher. I agree that the smoke is not perfect but to photograph the perfect trail of smoke would be a whole shoot unto itself!
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  #7  
Old March 1st, 2010, 09:48 AM
Cedric MASSOULIER Cedric MASSOULIER is offline
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Hi,

I love atmosphere of your shots... but these guys have definitively bad faces, i wouldn't sign any contract with them !

Cedric
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  #8  
Old March 1st, 2010, 12:05 PM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
I wonder why you don't like this type of lighting? It seems to work well for people with well sculpted faces.
It looks unnatural (we only have one sun) and it is not flattering for the subject. It overaccentuates the facial features like nose, eye sockets, lumps, warts, and uneven skin. It produces a dark zone at the front of the face if applied symmetrically. It is moody light, and can be used to accentuate weathered faces (if the subject doesn't mind).

Graham's image seems to be more about mood than merely a pleasing portrait, if so, he succeeded.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #9  
Old March 1st, 2010, 12:37 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
It looks unnatural (we only have one sun) and it is not flattering for the subject. It overaccentuates the facial features like nose, eye sockets, lumps, warts, and uneven skin. It produces a dark zone at the front of the face if applied symmetrically. It is moody light, and can be used to accentuate weathered faces (if the subject doesn't mind).

Graham's image seems to be more about mood than merely a pleasing portrait, if so, he succeeded.
You raise very important points, Bart. We need a reminder that our small planet has just one sun providing everything for us! We take that for granted, LOL!

Still, Bart, how do we reconcile that with the use of multiple lights in fashion and beauty. Is it that the best should look as if the extra light was derived from natural reflections from nearby bright surfaces. Are any of the much celebrated multiple light setups pleasing to you as far as simulating natural conditions. Is there some line of reality that when crossed is disturbing for you or is it just the arrogant mood here that's embÍtant.

Asher
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  #10  
Old March 1st, 2010, 12:55 PM
Graham Mitchell Graham Mitchell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
It looks unnatural (we only have one sun) and it is not flattering for the subject. It overaccentuates the facial features like nose, eye sockets, lumps, warts, and uneven skin.
Bart, as you already guessed my intention was to create a mood. I don't personally find "well lit" portraits very interesting unless the subject is really outstanding. Otherwise they can look like passport photos.

As for the 'one sun' argument, that seems extremely limiting to me. Your opinion is of course valid but I generally find direct sunlight to be the worst possible lighting. There is a reason that very few of the masters picked sunlight as the lighting model for their oil painting scenes.
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  #11  
Old March 1st, 2010, 03:55 PM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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You raise very important points, Bart. We need a reminder that our small planet has just one sun providing everything for us! We take that for granted, LOL!

Still, Bart, how do we reconcile that with the use of multiple lights in fashion and beauty.
Fashion is not portraiture. Fashion is about fabric and lifestyle. Multiple lights are not wrong perse, as long as they serve a purpose. They can simulate a main lightsource and reflected light or a weaker secondary lightsource. Reflections are always weaker than the original lightsource. When lightsources are equally strong they do not allow to accent one side over the other, the subject gets pincered like in a military manoeuvre.

So pincered light may simulate multiple lightsources, like an indoors scene halfway between 2 rooms, but they do not make flattering light.


Quote:
Is it that the best should look as if the extra light was derived from natural reflections from nearby bright surfaces.
For a portrait that would work when the setting is part of the message, but remember that natural reflections are never as strong as the original lightsource. So for it to be functional in a portrait, there should be a preferred side of the face.

Quote:
Are any of the much celebrated multiple light setups pleasing to you as far as simulating natural conditions. Is there some line of reality that when crossed is disturbing for you or is it just the arrogant mood here that's embÍtant.
It isn't about pleasing me, it's about sending a message about a person, or a mood.

As an example of at a typical portrait by one of the greatest, Yousuf Karsh, with strong lighting:

Image used as example under the fair use principle

Look at the shadow under the nose, there was one main lightsource, not too large so it could cast strong shadows to show a rough look, like the characters in Hemmingway's books. There were additional lights to create a separation from the background.

Yousuf Karsh also made other photos, e.g. of workers in an electrical power plant. There he used a type of pincer lighting, they were not portraits about a personality but about a situation (the post war reconstructions in the '50s).

Cheers,
Bart
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  #12  
Old March 1st, 2010, 05:47 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Bart,

Just a reminder, I didn't see any answer on the difference in "f stop" effect on diffraction of f11 when that apparent value is reached by adding a series of 1/4 and 2.0 extenders to a lens as opposed to just setting the lens to f11. I was thinking about the 1D Mark IV's small sensel pitch.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Fashion is not portraiture. Fashion is about fabric and lifestyle.
Helpful distinction.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
As an example of at a typical portrait by one of the greatest, Yousuf Karsh, with strong lighting:

Image used as example under the fair use principle


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Look at the shadow under the nose, there was one main lightsource, not too large so it could cast strong shadows to show a rough look, like the characters in Hemmingway's books. There were additional lights to create a separation from the background.
So, what would you guess is the size of that light and where did he place it? Does anyone know what he used in terms of size of light and the box if any? I'd imagine, one could adjust for that shadow by taking the light higher until the shadow became that sharp. Just wondering if he might have used a simple 7" bare reflector on something like a Norman basic head.

I wonder if it's in the book to once recommended, and I love, "Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting"?

Asher
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  #13  
Old March 1st, 2010, 08:25 PM
Leonardo Boher Leonardo Boher is offline
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Nice pics, Graham. I would add that the second one, the hand of the guy holding the cigar looks a bit imposed and the other hand a bit desaturated and purple. I would go for something more dark, more accented contrasts and ratios, more dirty and heavily post processed with tons of showing details though it, specially in the skin. The overall colors looks very nice for the escene an also the angles too but I still feel they need a more hard character on the pics, with some more dirty guys =D
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  #14  
Old March 1st, 2010, 10:56 PM
Dawid Loubser Dawid Loubser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Mitchell View Post
Rollei 6008AF, Sinar e54LV back, 80mm f2.8 lens at f5.6, ISO 50, 1/500
{snip}
EDIT: there were two subjects. Here is the other:
{snip}
Graham, your images show exemplary technical quality. Others here are much more qualified than myself to comment on the posture and lighting of your portraits (I an neither a portrait, nor an artificial lighting man) but both your images are crisp, vivid and immersive.

Still, there is "something" artificial about their posture or facial expressions... It's hard to put my finger on it, but somehow it seems as if both these gentlemen are not in their natural "habitat". I may be completely wrong, that's just my impression.

But technically, very well done...
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 08:15 AM
Ruben Alfu Ruben Alfu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawid Loubser View Post

Still, there is "something" artificial about their posture or facial expressions... It's hard to put my finger on it, but somehow it seems as if both these gentlemen are not in their natural "habitat". I may be completely wrong, that's just my impression.

But technically, very well done...
So, in a nutshell Dawid, "close but no cigar"? LOL just kidding.

To me the models look like convincing "Chuck Bass" substitutes, in fact, these photos remind me the kind of imagery used as marketing material for films and TV shows.
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  #16  
Old March 3rd, 2010, 12:04 AM
Daniel Buck Daniel Buck is offline
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I like them, especially the bottles in the background, that really ties in the rest of the atmosphere of the photographs! Brand, Scotch and what not :-)

The one thing that I immediately think looks the weakest in the photos, is the expressions. They look a little to forced, I think I might prefer something a bit more towards the neutral look, or a stern look that isn't quite as forced looking. I could almost see the guy in the first photo about to burst into laughter trying to hold the pose :-) It might possibly be due to the fact that I would instinctively expect someone looking a bit older than these folks do in a scene such as this (not many young folks really take the time to enjoy a good scotch or cigar), but even at that, the expressions I think are the weak point in the photos, to me.
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