by Joseph Linaschke
When I shot for this project, I had two possible end results in mind. I'd like to point out now that this was a Bad Idea™, as it distracted me and I ended up not putting 100% attention on either one. However given the expense of organizing the shoot — the studio, the models, the assistant, etc. — I wanted to get as much out of it as I could.
I was shooting with two cameras, for two very different results. I shot with the Leica S2 medium format digital that I had on loan, and I also shot with an IR modified Canon 5D Mk II that I rented from BorrowLenses.com. I had shot some portraits in a studio with an IR modified camera once years ago just for fun, and the results were very interesting. An IR image of a person shot under studio lights has this wild effect of making the skin almost translucent. It's preternaturally smooth, and you can actually see the veins underneath. It's cool, and creepy, and kind of wild. And I loved it! Because the end result of this shoot was to look like statues, and marble can have beautiful veins in it, I thought I may be able to take advantage of the human veins and make them look like marble veins. I posted a test image here a while ago, and the comments were universal; that the veins weren't working. So I backed away from that, and went for the MF Leica shots for the entire project.
Except for the image above.
Remember what I said about being distracted? It really is a bad idea trying to do a studio shoot and swapping cameras all the time, trying to shoot each pose with both systems. Invariably you'll end up getting a shot with one camera that you wish you had with the other, as is the case above. This was the last pose I did with this model, and I completely forgot to switch cameras before wrapping. So the IR shots were the only ones I had of this pose. Not only does the source file look dramatically different than the rest, it's only about 60% of the pixels! So to get to my final size of 40ʺ tall at 240 dpi (9600 pixels), I had to scale this one a lot more than the others. Fortunately though, it worked. The casual viewer won't be able to tell that it's different from the rest, and I can spot things with my nose on the acrylic but that's just because I know what to look for. And of course the image is perfectly strong on it's own. If anything, this image was easier to work with, because the skin already had most of the smoothness that I wanted on all the other photos.
In the next post, I'm going to talk about the flat, too-even blotchy areas that you're seeing in some of these photos. Hint: it's only because you're looking at them so small :-)