I did the first shoot for project two on Friday and used the 5d to begin with, spending quite a lot of time trying to get things absolutely right with the very simply light set up being used for these portraits. Essentially in the end this was a single constant light source with diffusing cloth over it, a very low intensity softbox directed at the background and a reflector. Worked a lot with the idea of emptiness, of both trying to work from a place internally in myself that was very quiet and present but also asking the subjects to look away from the camera for as long as it took to settle into themselves, find as much silence internally as they could and then to look at the camera only when they felt they were in that place. I didn't want the immediacy of relationship that being in front of the camera usually invokes but rather the mindset of someone who had been standing for some time, as if being painted. So much more passive and quiet in a sense. I have been thinking about the Buddhist concept of Sunyata, emptiness or voidness; a concept that evolved on teachings about the non-existence of self. It strikes me as an interesting (perhaps insane) way to approach a project on portraiture!!! But it's all just exploration right now and further plans are afoot to work with this approach in a deeper way to see what kind of results might arise.
All in all I am really happy with the first results, though obviously need to work a little on the skin tones, which is an exercise in futility anyway until I get my laptop calibrated this week. In addition, despite the fact that the widest aperture settings, as used here, give a painterly feel to the look of the images the depth of field is too narrow for my liking and this will be rectified. I want all the visible body to be in focus for this series, something I have only decided looking at these results. Will also be experimenting with the leaf back, probably Monday or Tuesday, depending on when the studio is free. Have located another subject who is very contemporary looking with multiple tattoos and piercings and red hair. I think he will photograph well. I intend to shoot people a very wide range of people over the next few weeks and then see what works best at that point in terms of narrowing down criteria for subjects. It is all very enjoyable right now though.