I’m drawn to the editorial portrait becuase of it’s natural ability to play into a conceptual narrative that illustrate the subject. Photos have the range of allowing the photographer the flexibility of keeping the image simple or adding information to help tell the individuals story. With my style of photography, conceptual illustration; editorial portraits are a perfect fit into my portfolio.
Last year I was introduced to Laura Gordon, an artist/painter in San Diego, California who upcycles (recycles) old retired surfboards and uses them as her canvas for painting. I was intrigued by her story and the use of the surfboards, which I knew would make for a fantastic portrait. The challenge was, what story should be told. The art represents the artist, so I took the approach of focusing on the surfboards as the main subject in the image, which also supports the artist…being able to get a two for one, providing an additional layer to the visual narrative I was trying to tell.
First I needed to create the setting that would provide hints and details about Lauras art (the surfboards) that would represent the death of one surfboard and the rebirth of a new one. The setting that came to mind, a graveyard or boneyard. A location that symbolizes the end of life, that is haunting and beautiful, which embraces so much history.
The boneyard image was created by compositing 13 images into one (1) and making seven (7) surfboards turn into 36 surboards in the final image.
I scouted a location before the shoot, and did a light study to make sure I knew what to expect. Shooting on location can always be a little tricky because you can’t control mother nature. Since I had previously planned out how I wanted, I was able to create the mood and knew what light I needed to add, to help create Lauras portrait when all the pieces needed to come together.
The second part of the shoot was shooting Lauras portrait, which was to take place in studio. The studio shoot allowed me to control the light so it could be matched with the light from the boneyard scene from the beach.
I shot at the Riverdale Studio in San Diego, which is owned by Nick Nacca. A great San Diego photographer. I highly recommend looking up the studio if you need a place to shoot.
The portrait session took about two hours as I worked through wardrobe and surboard options, but also because I wanted to grab some video content for creating a cinemagraph for a second conceptual portrait. the only trick with creating the cinemagraph is shooting in studio and then adding to the boneyard image from the beacj meant needing to account for how the color would seam together from the two locations and from a still image and a video file and keeping the integrity of the image to pair with the main, hero image. A process that is easier done in the reverse order than what I was attempting.
The project was a success, and I’m happy with the results of both the editorial still portrait and the cinemagraph. Looking forward to seeing this in some magazine and online articles that will be highlighting Laura and her art.
If you have any questions about this project or would like to inquire about working together, please contact me.