Enchanted Doll photoshoot. Involving an indoor pond.
A few months ago i came up with this idea of photographing one of my nudes an a water setting. I love quiet, still ponds for their serene and mysterious beauty, and they also kind of creep me out. I would never swim in one as i don’t know what could be hidden on the bottom, but that, somewhat rational fear unfortunately extends to all natural bodies of water deeper than my waist. But I imagined that this would be a perfect water setting for a theme shoot.
The good news was that North West coast rain forest is full of lakes and ponds and all kinds of pretty nature. The bad news was that setting up a shoot in a natural setting was going to be quite difficult. I had been mulling over the idea for some months trying to find solutions to the challenges involved.
One- Doll could not be immersed in water, therefore some adequate, yet invisible support must be found to hold her above the water for at least 3 hours. Two- expensive photo equipment along with Chad and I had to be set and work in water at least knee deep for at least 3 hours. Three-Suitable location had to be found with the right aesthetic, depth and access which would accommodate the doll being safely posed and Chad and I safely moving around in water to shoot, re-shoot, pose and re-pose the doll ten thousand times in session. But the Fourth and main challenge of shooting outside was being unable to control the constant changing of the natural light. Usually, hours are spent on getting the right shot, at the right angle and the right pose of the doll in the studio, where we have full control of the light and unlimited working time, and I kept thinking of how I was going to get that perfect shot, or a decent shot for that matter, with so many uncertain factors.
All of the above challenges seemed doable of course with enough effort invested, but without a team of professional photographers and prop designers to help us with this water shoot for a doll, seemed like more trouble than it was worth.
So, I decided that at this point it, a simpler solution was to build an artificial pond in my studio. There will always be real ponds to shoot later when i’m more capable of such an ambitious undertaking.
This is a small segment of how I went about building a small pond for a doll shoot.
First I went to China town and bought fake water lotuses and a lot of black fabric at a fabric store. Tarp was laid out and walls raised to create the depression.
Then, Chad and I went to the beach just in front of our building and collected several pounds of sand and small and pretty pebbles to make the bottom of the pond which we then filled with over 50 liters of water.
Then i went to the park and crawled around in the abundant underbrush for half an hour, finally finding the perfect log to accessorize my pond. However it was full of worms and rot and I was pretty disgusted. But art demands sacrifices, so I heroically dragged the log half a mile to my apartment and hosed it down in a parking lot. I also collected some red maple leafs on the way to echo Kia’s bright red hair.
Then I spent several hours in water, arranging the pebbles and lilies and setting everything up.
Something always kept falling over or floating away.
It took me several more hours to figure out the best lighting arrangement for this set up as there was a lot of reflections coming from the white tarp and the water, and I’m not a professional photographer and so it takes me hours through trial and error to figure out what works best. Chad helps me out a lot of course, but i’m usually determined to figure it out myself first. A lot of times he rushes in to my rescue at the sound of me crying or stomping around because i’m too frustrated.
I love technology. The Camera being tethered to my Macbook Air allows me to see each shot on the big screen immediately, so that I can see what aspects of each photo need improvement: Lights adjustment, pose adjustment, props adjustment, angle change, etc.
And so, 3 days and about two hundred photographs later only 10 weren’t bad and only two of those made it on the website. I was able to get something close to what i was envisioning, and although I can’t say that building and shooting the pond was particularly fun because it was so difficult, more annoying actually, but it was certainly an interesting, learning experience. Like an exercise in stubborness.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 14th, 2009 at 1:06 am
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