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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Film Noir Workshop - Black Gets Blacker

Azra and Alister go retro. Camera: Ricoh GRDII
Recently, and by popular demand, the Creative Photo Workshops Film Noir event was once again organised for our customers who missed out the first time. This time we called it Film Noir - Black Gets Blacker. We thought Back in Black might have worked but apparently some Aussie rock band had taken that one. I'll have to look into that.
Our models were Azra Dedic and Alister LeToille. These two young people were wonderful to work with, but I wonder if either of them had ever even heard of Film Noir. Well, now they have. Funnily enough, they missed out on the first round of this event and after seeing the images posted on Facebook of our replacements, Natasha and Taisen, made sure that they were not going to miss out modelling for the second round. For a bit of spice, we added another model, Miss Carly, fired up our fog machine, loaded our plastic pistol and we were set to go. 
I love this genre. I have to admit it. This lighting genre is about 'not light'. Its about what you don't light, as against what you do. And that is a great lesson for photographers to learn. The mystery that darkness creates is what this genre was all about and it was created for those low life, dingy gangster tragedies of the 30's through to the 50's, although it had been pioneered in the silent cinema era. 
Now, this might sound simple, but when you 'don't light' something, what you 'do light', and how, is very important. Because you are only lighting a select portion of the frame or the subject, your selection is rather important. Then, how you meter it is also very important. Essentially, this is about metering for the highlights, and for our customers it demands that they put their cameras into manual mode, ensure the correct exposure and fire away. No amount of fiddling about in Program Mode is going to work here. It is a great workshop for those who believe that cameras know what they are pointing at. They don't. 
We also ask our attendees to set their jpeg settings to monochrome and shoot in black and white. Yes, they could convert the images at home, but we want them to learn to see in black and white when they shoot and become accustomed to the style. 
But the satisfaction of that process is palpable. Images that come straight out of camera are the most satisfying of all. Achieving a powerful, dynamic, artistic image in camera is an Everest for the neophyte photographer. It is a moment not soon forgotten. Film Noir shooting demands that attention be given to metering above all. There is usually little work required in terms of post processing when our customers return home. Some may choose to add vignettes, or perhaps do some retouching. But really, the images are perfectly acceptable and viable straight out of camera. Ya gotta love that.
Interested? Well it won't be the last time we run this event. Check here for details of our Brisbane Film Noir...

1 comment:

Katharina said...

These pictures are great...I really wish I would be able to take photos like this.
I really admire your work.

The Life, Times and Images of photographer, Shelton Muller

Images on this blog are copyright Shelton Muller