This is essentially a problem solving exercise, to enable the photographer to work within a limited (no daylight scenario). Working in a studio environment, capturing portrait lit only by candlelight, (or the equivalent of) using a minimalist approach of studio lighting with the additional use of mirrors (which will act as an additional reflective surface), will create a soft ambient ‘pool’ of light. Deliberate focus will concentrate and experiment with angles on the face of the subject which will be in close up in order to accent contours that will flatter the skin. Silhouettes will also be experimented with, making investigation to how much light will become available to the photographer taking into account the limited resources.
This is a client brief, where the client is directing the photographer as to how she sees herself (depicted as Mary) in a series of five to six images in order to tell a narrative of the Magdalen Story. Inspiration is being sought from de la Tour’s original painting but this will be reconceptualised through the clients and the photographers vision into a modern aesthetic.
Researching a range of potential scenarios, it will be necessary to investigate other photographers who work within a similar context, which will inform my ‘no daylight’ practice. I will additionally need to understand the technical aspects of ‘night time/no daylight’ photography, applying inverse square law to my overall composition. This may involve adapting a technique known as ‘painting the light’. Appropriate research into colour temperature, reciprocity law failure and inverse square law will need to be considered. I will additionally be looking into religious texts in order to understand Mary from a contextual perspective but will rely mostly on the knowledge my client will impart, I will be technically directing the compositions.
I will be working in a studio environment, shooting in RAW, and ensuring accurate exposure; reducing noise and following the inverse square law rule to capture the correct ‘mood’ lighting for my subject. There will be several compositions, each one explaining Mary’s journey revealing stages of her acceptance of God’s love.
Focus will be on Mary’s face and the lighting progression will gradually become more intense, light will be used as a metaphor; the Magdalens clothing and gesture will reveal her spiritual transformation and may be used as a fashion icon. Props therefore will be kept to a minimum.
Exhibitions, fine art photography are possible target audiences, as there is an association with painting compositions (Mary Magdalene: http://www.bergerfoundation.ch/LaTour/english/terf.htm ). Religious themed galleries. Church Magazines.
Excerpt and painting provided by Paris, Musée du Louvre courtesy of the Berger Foundation entitled ”The Magdalen with the Smoking Flame”
”The contents of this picture – an intense flame, a face in profile, a skull shown frontally, two thick books, and a scourge – have been integrated into a circle or loop, a closed circuit of sorts. All of Magdalene’s thoughts are committed to this space, which emerges from the darkness thanks to the light of the flame and La Tour’s talent.
The composition clearly has been organized around the flame. Nonetheless, the doubts and hesitations that may still inhabit Magdalene can perhaps be seen in the discrete arm-leg diagonal that makes her recede. Yet, along this diagonal, the arm leads her thoughts without detour from one head to another. The detour is delineated by the other arm, and it is the play of these two lines of development, as in that of the two hands with respect to the two heads, that we realize the prodigious technique at La Tour’s command for staging such delicate themes.
Magdalene has given up luxury, vanity, seduction. There remain a modest oil lamp, a scourge to reiterate the sufferings of Christ, the Holy Books … and the skull which is turned in our direction, as if to question us.”