Unconventional Portrait Night

Tonight was Unconventional Portrait Night over here in our neighborhood. UPN involves things like paint, feathers, lights, imagination and whatever else might be handy. There are no specific rules, just a bunch of friends and family who take turns being models and or stylists by decorating each other in unconventional ways while I try my best to direct the action and get a couple of photograph of the results.

The models and stylists always start taking iPhone photos about halfway into the makeup and then uploading the results to various web sites before we can even start working on photographs with proper lighting. I think this means they are all having a thoroughly good time. It’s interesting to watch as the ideas unfold into photographs.

We only managed to make about half of the photos I wanted to tonight so I’m hoping we can pick up where we left off sometime tomorrow afternoon.

The project I have in mind is to take photos on film using the Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash camera. Tonight we used flashbulbs to light our photos on 120 format film and I’ll be very happy if those turn out well. The Brownie is very old and seems to have a mind of its own at times. My Brownie  has been modified by flipping its lens, so we will have to wait to see exactly what is recorded. This randomness is one of the things that makes using an old box camera so interesting.

I also set up a soft box and a a second strobe with a diffuser directly behind the model to act as a bare bulb flash to light the background and provide some rim light or wrap around the edges of the model. There is not sense in putting all your photographic eggs in one basket and of course the more cameras the merrier.

I like the look of this photograph taken with the Nikon D300 using the Yongnuo RF-602 remote triggers. Who knew that anyone here knew how to tie a head wrap like this. I was happy with the flowers in the hair look we started out with but this turned out even better. Everyone had something to contribute to the effort and I only had to use my photographer’s veto power once or twice to keep things going in more or less the right direction. Yeah, like they listen to me…

Some people like photos with borders on them that they can hold them their hands instead of looking at them on a screen. Is the medium as important as the image? I’m all for the artifact but getting there is half the fun. Photography is not reality but a combination of what is and what we imagine. This was taken with a single flash, camera left with a homemade  diffuser to scatter the light in all directions. The white tile doesn’t hurt either.

Tarred and feathered but still having the last laugh.

There has to be a certain level of trust in all of this. Everyone should be happy with the outcome when it’s all done.