With all the ups and downs of 2015 the year ended on a high note with us moving the studio into a new location, it didn’t take long for us to become excited about the new place as I personally am a HUGE fan of vintage things and our new home and studio are located in a 176 year old Victorian home located on the west side of Cleveland. with 12 foot ceilings and wide sold wood doors the architecture speaks of the history of this beautiful home real hard wood floors and beautiful ceiling sconces it was not only a no brainier for us to live in but a great place to show case my pre 1920s book collection, and with a living room thats about 20×20 enough room to set up shop. The main room for shooting came with some interesting wall paper its a very tacky 1940-50s floral print from floor to ceiling. Some people may think its ugly however my mind started rolling on ideas for shoots the moment I saw it. After the move in and getting settled a little I began to concept a few shots for the walls, My mind went to the classic 1880s portraits that families or people of means back then would have on there walls the ones with no smiles just blank stares. Now we know from history the reason for the blank stairs was a long exposer time on old time cameras the technology just wasn’t there in 1827 when photography was invented, Then once we were able to shrink that exposer time on photographs to capture a smile it became a stigma possibly created by photographers that it was disrespectful to not honor something that was such a big part of the art styles history it wasn’t until the early 1900s some people started to break the mold.
After putting some time in on what I wanted to create I thought I would do a portrait series that would both honor my craft and bring those 1880s style portraits to 2016 I mean history is everything and such a beautiful time period as my inspiration and the fact that the location for the shoot was built not long after the craft I have fallen in love with it was like it was ment to be.
I began to assemble a team for this shoot, Having worked with Amanda B on a few projects through out 2015 and realizing her talent I could not not call her after a breef explanation about what i was looking for she was on board. I could not have been happier now on to model selection.
About 4 or 5 times a week I have models or aspiring models contact me to be added to our TF list and I keep everyone of them so when I have projects like this I can call on them and have a big pool of models to choose from I selected 12 stunning woman and began to plan.
Over the next month Amanda and I planned out as much as we could we had models quit and and new models be selected, design ideas that were just to much money ect. but we worked diligently to put this together Amanda is amazing doing wig styling at 3am after working all day just to get things done.
Then right before the shoot one of the final 6 models was hospitalized we were gonna be down a model which saddened me cause we had invested so much time into this series when my beautiful wife asked if she could be part of the project. OF COURSE I said yes shes stunning and her body type is perfect for the ara of inspiration and shes a outstanding model. the only reason she wasnt involved from the beginning is her work schedule has been crazy but she was now available that day so Amanda did some quick changes to the wig and i did some quick on the fly changes to the makeup concept and we had our 6.
Now I ve done shoots with 5x the models and way bigger productions after all this was a simple set up in my studio but this particular series really brings some deep level of emotions out I have literally cried looking at the final edits. Im not quit sure why these portraits mean so much to me but they do I can honestly say this is my best work to date.
The original plan with these photos once I had completed the shoot was to hold on to them and do a gallery showing with them but on a self financed project the cost of putting on a showing properly is just to costly I do hope to one day do a showing of these pieces 40×60 huge prints framed like you would see in the art museum but at almost $1500.00 per print times that by 6 plus all the other things like advertising and catering hosting a gallery showing is just out of the question right now. so I ve had decided to share these with the world via the internet and hopefully some rich person out there would like to sponcer a gallery showing. Ahh dreams.
on to the morning of:
Part of hosting a project like this is making sure everyone involved is comfortable and happy all day since the hair and makeup was going to take about 8 hours. I woke up about 3 hours before the shoot had my cup of coffee and a cigarette after checking the FB group I used to organize the team making sure we were all still on track for 11am I headed to the store I got fruit, OJ, coffee, creamer, and some disposable cup, got to keep the models and teams energy up. I had my assistant Marlon pick up some donuts too and they were the best donuts ive ever had and will not be a staple at bigger shoots JACK FROST donuts are beyond amazing. and not badly priced either.
once we were all set up for food the models and team started showing up and over the next 8 hours everyone worked so hard to help bring my ideas to life.
Here are some out takes 🙂
Now for the technical people out there who are gonna ask about equipment and settings here is a little inside track
Camera settings were: Nikon D600 ISO200 f8.0 1/200th WB 4500 Lens choice 50mm 2.8 sigma macro
The lighting equipment used:
Wescott 7 foot Parabolic soft with difuser cloth
NEEWER 250 strobe set on slave at 1/2 power
Wescott 43 Apollo ORB with difuser
Alien bee 400 set at 1/8th power with pocket wizard x
Please enjoy the BTS video for the shoot