I’m thoroughly enjoying reading the book titled “Why It Does Not Have To Be In Focus: Modern Photography Explained” by Jackie Higgins. (Available at Waterstones) and enjoyed reading about the photographer Gary Schneider. In particular, his long-exposure portrait photographs in the project titled “faces“, made by sculpting the face with a torchlight over a long exposure of 10 minutes plus. Taken in a darkened room, the effect is a softened, multi-faceted representation of the sitter.
I decided instantly that this was a technique I wanted to explore. To begin with, I chose my favourite ornament, a wooden sculpture of Mozart and set about setting everything up.
To create these images, I:
- Created a dark area behind the sofa using blankets… yes, much like building a den as a child.
- Got together the equipment I needed:
- Focussed on the object and set the exposure
- Add the Big Stopper in front of the lens
- Adjust the exposure accordingly (I set 30 seconds and used bulb mode to allow for longer exposures)
- Either use a remote release or, if you don’t have one, set the camera to a 10 second self timer to allow the camera to settle. (you can see from one of my photographs that the subject is blurred as a result of camera shake)
- With the shutter open, shine the torch on the subject and move it around to paint the object using the light. The longer you stay in one position, the brighter that will be depicted on the final photograph.