I arrived at Warsaw on the 11th of November, it was snowing. which seemed magical to me already. I met with Tomek, the production manager of Studio Hustawka - the studio organising the workshop, and Marek Wurfl, the lighting assistant, whom I met in Basel during my broncolor training.
We went to check out the workshop photoshoot location which was truly was magical: an old grungy building with huge baroque windows. We planned 2 photoshoots, one with the natural available light and another with artificial lighting. We decided to mimic the diffused natural light coming in from the window with our gear. Using the window light has always been a favourite for me in terms of lighting since I started shooting. Being able to duplicate this type of light with artificial lighting gave me the freedom to shoot anytime with the desired lighting effect.
For the natural lighting photo session, I placed the two redhead models near the window, on two white ladders, each sitting on a different level. I demonstrated to the participants how I would compose the photo and direct the models. The use of the ladder portrayed the competition between the two subjects who is each sitting in her comfort zone. I attempted to create an interesting dynamic to the picture and an ambiguous relation between the two characters.
For the artificial lighting photo session, Marek helped me set up the following lighting scheme.
To successfully imitate the soft natural light coming trough the 4 meter tall windows, we needed a lot of power. We were lucky to have two broncolor Grafit A4 power packs, each giving us 3200 joules to work with.
As a key light we had not one, but two lamps, one with a Octabox 150 and the other with the smaller Octabox 75, both of them facing towards a 3,6 x 3,6 m large butterfly panel. This double diffusion gave us one really huge and soft light source.
After some test shots, it was obvious we still have to much contrast in the shadows, so we just added one lamp with reflector up high, bouncing the light from ceiling.
I chose ladders as a main prop for the shoot, due the wide array of symbolism connected to that object. I wanted to give the participants the freedom to use the ladders according to their own perception. We also had other complementary prop options like large plastic sheets, baby powder, and many wardrobe options. Seeing what the participants could create with the same props always leaves me speechless. So much can be created with so little and its always interesting to see how different people can come up with such different results, using the same models/location/props.
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