In cooperation with our partners for memory solutions

In cooperation with our partners for memory solutions

Justin Lister


For the past couple years, I have been working on a portrait project of war re-enactors. Once a year at the World War I Museum in Kansas City, many re-enactors setup on the beautiful museum campus at city center. They bring period weapons, airplanes, and other artifacts and educate people about history.

This year a was thrown a bit of a curve ball, the event was moved to a small space inside because of record rainfall the night before had flooded the campus. No airplanes and no big lighting setups were possible like I had planned. Thankfully, I have built a relationship with the curator over the past couple years and she let me setup in the hall of the museum. I was grateful, but I didn't have much room to work with. I knew, to match my previous images in the project, I was going to need to do some extensive composting and post processing. I decided to use a 3 light setup.


I used a Siros 800 L as a fill bounced off the ceiling to get a base exposure. I then put another Siros L with a 30x120 cm gridded Softbox behind the pillar to the right of the camera. The key light was a Octabox 75 above and to the left of the subject. Everything was photographed with a Hasselblad H5D-50c.

I angled the lights to make it look as if the light was coming from somewhere in the environment so when I did the final composite, I would look more natural.

The compositing was quite extensive. I took images from Yellowstone Park, Ireland, California, and Arizona that I photographed to create my backgrounds. I then used smoke, fog, and snow shot in front of black clothe, to use as texture to make it look as if they were in that environment. I then created my own brush to add snow or ash on the uniform of the soldier, adding another layer of realism. As you can see from the before and after split image, It is quite a change.