“Lost in Translation”
Canon 7D, ISO 200, F/8, 70 mm, 1/125second
November 10th 2012
“Lost in Translation” came about because I was trying to be more of a conceptual photographer: a type of photography that is staged to represent an idea. I had an idea and began to brainstorm the shot on how it will look once complete. I drew up some sketches on how I had it imagined and I was pretty happy with the outcome. I had to figure out clothes, which would best represent my vision as a model, atmosphere, props. Also, I had to create an actual set that brought it all together.
I wanted to create an image of a man who has been taken over by science; the one who stares at a chalkboard for hours. I asked my uncle, Keith, who was a city planner for Fargo, if he could pull off a mad scientist. When I asked, he didn’t understand why he thought his face would be photo worthy. Anybody that sees the final image will understand that he fits it perfectly and my casting couldn’t have gone to anybody else.
For the chalkboard, I found an old sign during clean up week from the Fine Arts Club. I bought some chalkboard paint and painted the back of the sign. That night, I looked up some equations and I filled the chalkboard up as much as possible and that weekend I was ready to shoot at Keith’s house.
For clothes, I simply asked Keith if he had any suits from the 70’s. He had a couple hanging up and when I arrived; I couldn’t have been happier: Brown suit, gold watch, brown/orange tie, very warm toned. I set up the chalkboard on an easel and placed him a bit in front of the chalkboard. I wanted the chalkboard to be somewhat in focus where you could read it; however, soft enough to not compete with his face.
I wanted the bottom to be darker, and only a limited amount of light to strike Keith; so, I set up a single strobe behind me (camera left). I placed a 20-degree grid on the light, so the light wouldn’t spill everywhere.
I was working in a small area in his office so for some images I had another little light behind him to add a bit of a kicker backlight to him, but it made his gray hair glow even with the lowest amount of power and all the way to the back wall. So, I think the only thing I would change about this image is to get a little bit of light behind him so his hair doesn’t get lost in the shadows.
Over all I wanted the final image to look like a scientist who knows too much, and doesn’t have time to explain it to you. Or a man that has forgotten more information than you will ever know.
- Score: 81 at PPA Northcentral District (Merit image)
- People Choice at Northern Light Photography competition.
- Kodak National Gallery Award
* Spirit Room Art Gallery, Downtown Fargo
- “Wood N’ Shutters” exhibit.