This is the second self portrait in my project to shoot 30 self portraits. You can read about the project in my first post.
For this one I wanted to experiment with edge lighting and profiles. I think it turned out OK. I'm going to revisit this one and try some props (I'm thinking a hat work well) and change the angles a little.
One thing I left out were the camera settings. Although the light is at f/5.6 I had the aperture on my camera set to f/8.0. This helped to darken the side of my face even more.
I also had a question about why the light is at an angle instead of behind me (which would have given more of a rim effect). The reason is so it doesn't appear in the scene as I wanted a black background. It is just out of the frame to the right, I made it as close as I could where it would not show up in the scene.
One other thing to note, I purposely made the light very close to me, the reason was to have a lot of light fall-off from the front of my face to the back. This creates more of a gradient and wider range between the highlights and shadows.
As with all projects the Thirty Self Portraits Project came about as the result of several different influences and directions.
The first influence came from watching the HBO documentary on Robert Mapplethorpe (Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures). There were several photos that he took where I really liked his lighting and decided to try to emulate them, I also really liked the very last self-portrait he did of himself.
A few weeks later I went to the Palm Springs Photo Festival (which I have written about here) and took a class with Howard Schatz. The class was all about experimenting with lighting and trying different techniques. I really enjoyed the play and learned a few tricks that I wanted to try myself. One thing I have learned about taking workshops, if I don't practice what I learned I soon forget it. So I thought taking self-portraits would be a great way to practice what I learned and to continue with the experimentation.
Finally I need more head shots of myself. For a lot of the gallery shows and publications I have been in over the past couple of years they are often asking for a head shot and I don't have that many. This works well with the practice I mentioned above. I need a subject and I need more shots of myself so the self-portrait project was born.
I just pulled a number out my ass and it happened to be thirty. I don't know if I will actually shoot 30, maybe I'll only do 20, or maybe I'll just keep going and shoot 100. I've put a stake in the ground, but am not absolutely committing to it. I currently have 23 ideas for self portraits, so I figure I will at least get that far.
Also this is not a self portrait a day, or a week, or a month. Every time I've tried a project like that is just kills the joy for me and makes me stop taking photos. So this is just doing it when I feel like it, some weeks I might do 3 or 4, then I might not do another for a month. No pressure, no commitment, just do it when the mood strikes me.
My subject in these portraits is an ugly son of a bitch.
Here is the lighting setup for this image.
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