This week I submitted two images to my program that might in turn be submitted to this year’s PPOC competition. I’m not sure if these are going to make it, or even if they could be considered my strongest images, but I’m tempted to write about them now since they represent two influential points of my photography career.
This piece was part of a series I did with a friend from another art program at our school. It had many influences and a significant challenge of finally going well beyond the expectations of my assignment at the time. While originally aiming for a simple high key image, I called upon my friend to model for me. Since she was a painter it felt no less than appropriate to make a riddle of our situation; the medium became the subject, and the subject became the canvas. Thankfully, tempera does not a blinded eye make.
I chose another image to use for the project, and kept some others for future composite projects, but this one always stood out to me as a representation of the subject’s character, energy and style, as well as an example of my own preferred style and creativity. When I have a full portfolio built for the upcoming gallery I hope to take this conceptualism even further.
Last August while visiting family in New Brunswick I had the interesting experience of being both thoroughly under-equipped for gear, and overwhelmed with curiosity at the sight before me. A wasp nest was forming far too near the trailer of very young children, so my cousins sprayed it and knocked it down. On impact it opened up and revealed an entire lifecycle of wasps, from the larvae and cocoons to the queen herself. Two infants had just barely survived the spray, and they were stuck inside the honeycombs within which they had just recently metamorphosed.
I immediately reached for my 105mm macro lens, but was met with two distinct issues; it was far too dark to shoot with natural light, and only having two speedlights handy, it was entirely too harsh for me to try shooting such a small subject with flash. After several positioning attempts of the light and camera, I thought back through all of my lessons from the previous year of college. How do I highlight a minuscule subject on this muddy toned camouflage of a background? Texture lighting. The same lighting we learned on food textures and clothing fabrics – I placed one light low behind the wasp and reached for a paper plate. Holding the plate below my lens I bounced the light into it for a good edge light separating the wasp from the background while gently filling the entire scene with the reflector. A testament to my progress from my first year at Humber in a single, unique photo.