Thursday, April 05, 2012
Sooska: Bloody Princess
The following blog post (which we've attempted to translate into English via the help of Google Translate) from Romanian photographer Sooska takes a look into a recent photo shoot in which he used a newly acquired Photoflex TritonFlash.
What causes things to happen? Is it all random? Personally, I don't think that things happen just by chance. Recently a friend of mine told me about a unique setting -- a house left neglected, but still in fairlystable condition -- and invited me to visit. This place turned out to be visually gorgeous, with infinite possibilities for conceptual photo-shoots. I immediately coordinated a photo-shoot for this location.
For this shoot, I wanted to have a lighting setup that would allow maximum flexibility and mobility. I spoke with the folks at Photosetup, who had previously helped us organize a photo-shoot in Croatia, and we discussed the equipment I'd ideally like to use for this project. I proposed using a new product from Photoflex, the TritonFlash™, which is a DC-powered 300 w/s strobe kit powered by a small, lithium-ion battery, along with a Small OctoDome, which they agreed to let me use.
Before the day of any shoot I do, I try to visualize what will happen, or write it down on paper, so that everything is ready once we arrive. Then it's usually just a matter of putting everything into motion. And while everything does not always sync up in reality to what I have envisioned - camera angles, backgrounds, lighting conditions - a rehearsed plan does help me to maintain my overall direction.
Much of this approach is inspired by an experience I had while working in Hungary, where I had the good fortune to meet with and photograph the well-known painter, Endre Szasz. I spent the day with Szasz and his wife, and became fascinated by what surrounds him: his style, his art, his unique personality, and last but not least, his talent to paint very quickly. In the 1970's, he emigrated to the Unites States, and on the day he arrived, he went to one of the largest television studios and asked to speak with a producer for just five minutes. Within those five minutes, he produced a beautiful oil painting for this producer, who was so impressed, that he decided to create a weekly TV show in which Szasz would paint live for its viewers.
While photographing him, I asked him what his secret was? How was he able to paint for a live audience and have it be captivating and not boring? After all, it can be difficult to maintain the typical TV viewers' attention. He answered, "Before I start to paint, I have all the imagery in my mind, right down to the last detail, which allows me to paint without thinking! I don't experiment with colors, angles, etc. in front of an audience. I stick to my plan and just let my hand do the work."
So it's important to have a plan, but there are times when you have to improvise. This shoot happened to be one of those times. When we arrived at the scene, we discovered that the castle bridge that we had planned to use in the background had toppled, and so we were forced to shoot in a different location. We ultimately decided to set up in the attic of the main house.
Inside, we discovered sunlight breaking through the cracked roofing tiles, which provided a unique atmosphere, dramatically illuminating the dusty air. My choice of model was simple: I wanted her to be tall and have long hair, and Alex was perfect for what I had in mind. I wanted the makeup to be theatrically red to match the dress, which was created by Loredana Novotná, whom I also worked with in her "Sacred" series.
I have a good friend, Attila Lovasz, who owns an antique shop and before the shoot, I swung by for some accessories. He's an expert in his field, and after I told him my concept, he recommended two objects, though we ended up using only one: a candlestick with three candles representing "three sins". I actually forgot to bring the white candles I was planning to use, but this turned out to be a happy accident, as I ended up finding a place nearby that had red candles instead, which I think tied in well with the red dress.
Alex, my model, didn't have much experience in modeling, which made me a little anxious at first, but her great attitude and desire to help really compensated for her lack of experience. It was challenging for her to work in the cold with ten men surrounding her, but I can't imagine a professional model faring any better in such conditions. I'm so grateful to you, Alex! Thank you!
Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a photographer who is fascinated by technology or devices. That said, I do feel the need to say a few words about the Photoflex TritonFlash. Oftentimes, a newly released product will be praised highly on a website, but these praises don't always measure up in reality. With the TritonFlash, however, I was genuinely surprised with how well it performed.
At full power and 2 meters away from my subject, I was able to achieve f/11! The kit comes with an extra battery, but if you forget to bring one, don't worry. A typical battery this size might give you 300-400 flashes on a full charge, but here I shot a total of about 500 frames and never had to change out the battery! The battery is also incredibly small and very easy to operate.
If you're interested in this kit and you happen to be in Croatia this summer, you'll have the opportunity to test it out at Summer Photo Camp.
I owe much of the success of this shoot to a wonderful team of talented individuals. Thank you for all who helped in this project!
To see more of Sooska's work, visit pintograf.blogspot.com