For the last few months I had really been slacking creatively. I have been doing a ton of freelance work which is fun and I love the challenges and changes of it but I've been letting my personal projects slip a bit. Not for lack of ideas but lack of motivation so, when I received an email from Light asking me to be one of the bloggers participating in their #VantagePoint project, I jumped at the opportunity (and the kick in the ass to get my ideas out of my head!) For those who don't know, Light is creating a new palm sized camera (think the size of your smart phone but packing way more photographic power) called the L16. According to their description, "each scene captured by the Light L16 Camera is shot by up to 10 of 16 individual 28mm, 70mm, and 150mm camera modules firing simultaneously." All of these shots are then fused together to make one amazing image.
As anyone who follows my photography knows, my style is by no means documentary. I prefer to take an image that is floating around my mind and build it into reality. This means selecting a location, choosing a color pallet, and bringing in props and lights to create what I want. For this image, I knew I wanted to shoot in my newly remodeled bathroom. I wanted to contrast the stark white of the subway tiles, tub, and mannequin legs with bright pink bath water, a yellow mini High Life beer bottle someone had brought to our house and teal toes on my mannequin. Now that the scene was staged, the next step was to get the perfect shot.
So, what makes a good vantage point? Well, that depends on your instincts as a photographer. There is no hard and fast rule to it but I approach it with the following ideas in mind:
1) Point of View: I always consider the viewer and how they will perceive the images. For this particular shot, as with many of my images in Disconnected, I am poking fun at social media and selfie trends, in this case the bathtub selfie which by they way I will never understand. Am I the only clumsy person who would immediately drop their phone into the tub? I was horrified of dropping my camera in during this shoot. But, back to my point. When setting up this shot, I knew I wanted the point of view to feel like it was coming from the 'person' taking the bath. However, had I shot this from outside of the tub, that could produce a sense of voyerism in the viewer giving the image an entirely different feel.
2) Uncontrollable Variables: No matter what I am shooting, there undoubtedly is always at least one unforeseen, uncontrollable variable that changes how I shoot. In most cases, there are more than one of these instances, but hey, that is the fun of it! For this shoot I had several things working against me. First, bath balms are slippery. Second, don't drop your camera into impending water doom of a thousand deaths when you slide on said slippery bath balm. And third and most restrictive to my vantage point was the fact that mannequins float. Why I never remember this I can't say and you safely bet that the next time I do a water shoot, I will forget this simply fact again. Since the legs wanted to float and that didn't jive with the vision I had in my head, I had to sit in the tub and clench the mannequin legs with my thighs while holding them down with one hand and shooting with the other. I would say picture this but you don't have to because I was kind enough to make a time lapse video of this hilarious and creepy event. I'm not sure the video does justice to how difficult this truly was. I couldn't move and had to splash bubbles away with my foot to reveal the pretty pink water that was vital to this shot while still clenching the mannequin with my thighs and not dropping my camera into the water.
3) Try It All: Before adding the water to the tub, I placed my mannequin roughly where I wanted it and tried shooting a bunch of different angles. I go into each shoot with a vision in mind but I like to try as many angles as possible because you never know, you might just end up with something better than you imagined. In this case, I had poked my foot up for a funny behind the scenes shot but when all was said and done, that ended up being my favorite and final image of the shoot.
So there you have it, a little glimpse into the magic or a lot of glimpses into living my life as a creep but that is what is so fun about being an artist!