This is a composition that was hiding inside a larger image. I didn't notice the photo
until I got the film back. What you see at right is about 1/5th of a 6x6
negative that contains the model, a beach, some rocks, and a
whole bunch of other stuff. By itself, the picture is a loser.
Cropped heavily, one could call it art. That's one of
the nice things about
Rachel, PhD Biology UCLA 1992, enjoys the wealth of material comforts
that she has accumulated during 10 years of hard work in science.
(click on the photo for a 500x750 JPEG; click here for a
1000x1500 screen-filling image)
1100 square feet of bare hardwood floors called out: "You will never
have this opportunity again. Tomorrow you are going to move all of your
worldly goods into this new
condo. You'd better grab your Canon EOS-5, 20-35/2.8L lens, and
TMAX 3200." The model and room both have to be bare to show the bleak
poverty of the unemployed PhD.
Here's another image that was completely planned before the camera was picked up.
It was during the 1992 presidential campaign
when women's rights groups were upset by the Republicans' rhetoric. The image is
called Republican Platform. It would be better if the
red, white, and blue footprints had been made with smaller feet.
Here's a photo from junior year at MIT, 1981. The background is a
dark brown blanket. Illumination is from a dormitory overhead light.
The camera was a tripod-mounted Yashica twin lens reflex (6x6), valued
at approximately $100.
In 1993, I tried to duplicate the picture with higher-tech equipment,
starting with a $5,000 Rollei 6008, elaborate studio strobe system with
softbox, and motorized seamless paper background. Even the model was
higher tech (taller, thinner). The results? Pathetic. The room
light was too bright to adequately judge the outcome with the
strobes' modeling lights. Consequently, the image was much too high
Sometimes a brain is more important than a fancy camera.
Most nudes are static, heir first to the tradition of painting and then
to the limitations of early cameras. But with $30,000 of studio strobes, why
not show the body in motion? Richard
Avedon keeps his models constantly in motion so that he never gets a
frozen deer-in-the-headlights look. To ensure that the light on each
model stays constant as he or she moves, Avedon has assistants follow
the models around with lights at the end of booms.