Friday, 20 September 2013

Photograph 1 - Assignment 3: Monochrome

This first photograph for the assignment contained a lot of detail evident in the props and also the clothing for my model. Also the lighting was soft window lighting, all of which was in keeping with one of Vermeer's portraits; namely 'Woman with a Water Jug' - Vermeer (c. 1662-1665). The quality of light was of particular importance as Vermeer was famous for his 'characteristic pearly light' - The National Gallery (2013) [accessed on 16th September 2013].

Photograph 1 for Assignment 3: Monochrome
   In the end I chose contemporary objects to replace the old equivalent objects so it was clear that times had changed. I thought this worked well; the objects and clothing were still similar in form but it was clear that they were more modern. The shirt on the chair, the curtain and the
very shiny jug were the  most prominent objects that showed this trait.

   I also got my model to look up rather than down so the eyes were visible and it looked like she was thinking about something. Because the canvas she had drawn was placed slightly behind her it, this  suggested they had a connection; namely whatever was on the canvas was at the back of her mind. Because the canvas, the partially visible window and my model were the brightest features at the top of the image this further enhanced their apparent relationship.

   However, I felt the similarities between mine and Vermeer's work were still apparent, with attention paid towards the quality of light and placement of props.

   In order to make the canvas stand out as a prominent feature of the photograph I had to apply some fairly aggressive processing. This included lightening the canvas only - by carefully using the adjustment brush in Adobe Lightroom and setting the exposure to be slightly brighter. Because I was working in black-and-white I could also adjust the colours of the canvas (which included green) so that there was contrast in the canvas between the green and the brown, which changed to light grey and dark grey once converted to black-and-white.

   Speaking of converting to black-and-white, I once again used the 'black and white mix' box inside Adobe Lightroom to lighten the red/orange facial features without changing much of the rest of the image. I also increased the values of the green slider, which mostly affected the canvas and so helped to  lighten the canvas and ultimately strengthen the connection to the (already light) model. Lastly, I decreased the blue slider, which affected the curtain and shirt (hanging on the chair) and her clothing (excluding the shawl). I decided to decrease this slider so there was more contrast in light and dark areas of the image, which for me made the image more balanced. This was reflected in the histogram I checked was optimised, where there was information in the extreme highlights and shadows (without clipping), while there was a lot of detail in the mid tones.

   In my opinion the inclusion of the canvas added another dimension to the photograph; making the image more imaginative - the viewer's eyes (or at least mine) were drawn towards the canvas and possible connections between it and the model.

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