From South to North

I usually spend the Christmas holidays in the Southern Hemisphere, while I live in the Northern Hemisphere. Every year around this time I make a ‘Happy Holiday Photography’. This year I had a weird feeling. Crisis, early elections, unstable weather in both continents, the winter did not seem to be winter in the North and summer did not seem like summer in the South. So I made this picture from the inspiration of the times that we live in.

Merry Christmas © Marcelo Isarrualde  Merry Christmas © Marcelo Isarrualde

The hour of the realization of the photography was very important, as I wanted it to still be daylight but I also wanted the street lights to be lit. For a moment I tried with different locations in the neighborhood Raval in Barcelona, since the structure of the urban neighborhood is very diverse and full of passages.

© Marcelo Isarrualde

Because of the high amount of natural light the flash was too dominant and gave the environment an artificiality, but I liked it since it was not a typical ”Christmas look”.

I then tried a darker passage, which had an open window to a bar in it, and the result improved. In this case the illumination of the flash was direct and wide since I wanted to simulate the natural light of the passage itself that is seen in the upper right corner of the photo.

© Marcelo Isarrualde

I put a Yongnuo 560 flash on a monopod with a battery Godox Power Pack PB820. I put it from a lower point of view than the natural light of the passage for the illumination to be flatter and this way we can see the faces of our friends with more sharpness.

© Marcelo Isarrualde

Finally I did some more photographs of the street in the same passage but this time I decided to extend the surface of the light source for the illumination area to be larger, and at the same time be able to decrease the contrast a little.

© Marcelo Isarrualde

I did not want to increase the ISO too much, so I realized the photographs with tripod and very low speed.

Lighting diagram © Marcelo Isarrualde Lighting diagram

From South to North.pdf

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It is forbidden the use partial or global of this webside unless author written permission.

 

Head in a freezer

Some months ago I was in Montevideo, Uruguay, where I exhibited
my latest personal project – Love Rooms – and where I also did
workshops on the subject “strobist” techniques for two groups on the
occasion of the workshops organized for the Fotograma 2011, an
international photography encounter. Four practical classes and three
theoretical classes were realized, and during the first practical
practice this picture was made.

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde  Model Laura Martinelli

A friend of mine had got permission for me to work comfortably in an
abandoned spa facility, and in one of the corners inside this spa
center I saw an old fridge that inspired me to take a photo. The
natural light on the place was very good, but it came from behind of
the model.

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde

I decided to decrease the contrast with a translucent umbrella, from
the left of the camera and in this way balance the ratios of light to
Ratio 0.

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde

I opened the fridge and decided to take a picture where the model took
something out from it or looked if there was something inside of it.
That was when I realized how dirty the environment was and how worn
out the fridge was… You could only find something strange in there!

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde

I liked the result. For the light in the refrigerator to be the main
lighting of the scene I decided to underexpose the ambient light -2
EV. The light of the refrigerator lacked of character, which I gave it
by placing a green gelatin on the flash that I had put inside of the
fridge. In this way the color would emphasize the morbid theme.

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde

Finally, the wall in the background needed another tone and therefor I
decided to use a second flash, a Yongnuo 560, with blue gelatin from
Rosco. The interesting thing with the result was to see on the screen
of the camera, once the photo was made, how the picture had changed
from what we had seen before the flashes were fired off and before we
underexposed the atmosphere.

Head in a freezer © Marcelo isarrualde

Lighting diagram © Marcelo Isarrualde  Lighting diagram

Head in a freezer.pdf

Stiletto, a personal project

Some years ago the Belgian editorial Tectum, that had seen my work in the book “Nudes Index I”, edited by Könemann, invited me to take part in the nude pictures yearbook “Nude Bible”.

Polly Fey for Stiletto © Marcelo Isarrualde Polly Fey for Stiletto

I chose to contribute to it with a more extensive project on the object paraphernalia involved in some erotic and sexual practices. Till the date all my personal projects had been inspired on my childhood and this was my first approach to an “adult” subject. One of the references that immediately came to my mind was the fantastic work of Helmut Newton, who had been my idol in my early youth. Also he work of Jean Loup Sieff, Guy Bourdin or Bettina Rheims, among others, has always been a great influence in my photography. Finally I decided to pay tribute David Lynch and his emblematic TV series Twin Peaks.

In that TV serie there was one episode that really caught my attention. It was in the third episode from the first season called “Cooper’s Dream“. In the program the policeman Dale Cooper dreams about the assassinated girl called Laura Palmer, and a dwarf, The Man from Another Place. Everything really seemed to be “from Another Place” and the scenery was the beginning of my personal serie “Stiletto“.

Twin Peaks  Twin Peaks

Same way music is an important element in Lynch’s work, Laurie Anderson song “Born, never asked”, which talks about an enigmatic curtain, was my inspiration for this series of pictures.

Making of Stiletto © Marcelo Isarrualde Making of Stiletto serie

But let’s go back to the lighting! Because my budget was limited and could not afford red velvet for my set, I used a very thin grey fabric, in which I projected red light. I did the same on the floor that had been painted in white, black and grey. To avoid loosing the red hue dominant, we directed the main 5500º Kelvin white light only to the model.

Floor drawing © Marcelo Isarrualde

Painting the floor © Marcelo Isarrualde

Set for Stiletto serie © Marcelo Isarrualde

The main light source was a 1000 w/s Bowens flash and for the background there were three 1500w/s Bowens flashes with red gelatins hanging from the ceiling. They were used at their maximum power since red gelatin absorbs more than +1 EV.
In the wider shoots it could be noticed that the red light projected on the floor looked faded because of the incidence of the main light. This had to be later retouched with Photoshop. This though wouldn’t be a problem because we had been using a Hasselblad with Imacom digital back.

Making of Stiletto serie © Marcelo Isarrualde

Lighting diagram © Marcelo Isarrualde  Lighting diagram

Stiletto, a personal project.pdf

Gobos, spots and fulgurators

In the previous post I explained how, from a technical point of view, the Image Fulgurator had the same function as a spot light, like Zoom Spot 18-135 or a Mini Spot Lite, both from Elinchrom.

Elinchrom Zoom Spot 18-135

Elinchrom Mini spot lite Elinchrom Mini spot lite

DIY Image Fulgurator © Marcelo Isarrualde DIY Image Fulgurator

The special features of these accessories is that they have an optical part – lens or condenser – that allows that image located between a strobe and the optical part, to be projected in a background. These metallic parts that can be put between the light and the optic, are called Gobos (Goes Before Optics). There is quite a large variety of options that can emulate venetian blinds, foliage, and stars, among others.

Gobos

On one occasion I used them on a photo shoot for Clara magazine. It consisted of making a cover on Araceli Segarra, followed by an illustrated article that could be the first of a series of covers, dedicated to prominent women in different professional areas.
The ambience on the set shouldn’t have to have too many elements because any of the pictures could be considered a possible cover. There had to be enough empty space to allow for text and headlines.

Araceli Segarra © Marcelo Isarrualde

It had to look like it was a wide space with natural light. To achieve this, we used a Wafer big softbox with a Bowens 1500 strobe and the contrast was decreased with three big expanded polystyrene reflectors (Porexpan®, Telgopor®, Styrofoam®, Frigolit®, etc). A big white umbrella was set above the camera, exposed at -1 ½ EV below Wafer softbox power, to light up Araceli. Finally, an Elinchrom Zoom Spot 18-135 adapted to a Bowens’s bayonet was used together with another Bowens torch at 1500 W/s. A gobo with the image of a venetian blind was placed on to the spot light.

Lighting diagram © Marcelo Isarrualde Lighting diagram

The shot was taken with a Kodak slide film EPP100. In the analogical world a correct exposure and the power ratio correspondence between the strobes ,was key because of the little latitude margin of the slide film, (error margin in the exposure). But also nowadays it is very important a correct exposure in order to the make the most of our raw files.

Araceli Segarra © Marcelo Isarrualde Making of

Gobos, spots and fulgurators.pdf

Clara Magazine cover assignment

This assignment was for a feature on beauty and health, and it was shot by the pool of the Majestic Hotel in Barcelona. One of the pictures was to be considered a possible cover for the magazine.The covers for Clara Magazine are characteristically very clean looking, usually with a white background and wide framing to allow for text and headlines to be included.The story headline texts of most women’s magazines have to be on the cover, which unfortunately detracts from the picture.

We have to take into account that each magazine is a product addressed to a very specific public and therefore every cover has to fulfill all the requirements set by the management department. But I guess that every photographer’s dream is a less crowded cover, like Harper’s Bazaar or V.

Clara magazine  © Marcelo Isarrualde  Harper's Bazzar magazine © Marcelo Isarrualde

Back again to our assignment – the difficulty in it was finding a white wall with enough available space to work comfortably. In addition, this cover had to be brighter than usual because it was summertime and it had to deliver a fresh look.
I found the perfect place on the last floor of the hotel and luckily there was a white sofa that I could use. We just had to move the furniture a little and shoot the cover.

© Marcelo Isarrualde  Cover Clara magazine © Marcelo Isarrualde

Lighting

Clara covers are usually shot with a neutral, low-contrast light that is neither too hard nor directional; which tends to be more natural.
To achieve this effect I used a couple of Wafer 100 light boxes with Bowens flashes of 1500 w/s plus a silver/white Lastolite reflector. However, on the left of the set one can notice a Window and a zenithal skylight. They have not interfered with the lighting since its light power is lower than that of the flashes.

Making of © Marcelo Isarrualde

The light box directed to the background wall, overexposes the surface and bounces off to the model reaching her hair slightly above the main light. The shots have later been exposed to 1/2 EV again above the main light to slightly “clean” the skin. This shoot was done with film and the exposure error margin in the slide EPP was critical.
I took a couple of Polaroid pictures to be sure that the light was under control.
Nowadays with digital sensors and histogram readings everything has changed. There is much less need to use a light meter! I am not sure that this is a good thing.
Lighting diagram © Marcelo Isarrualde Lighting diagram

Once the cover was done, I shot the photos on beauty and health using natural light and reflectors (and a less prominent flash)

Model : Janna / Agency : Colors

Clara magazine © Marcelo Isarrualde  Clara magazine © Marcelo Isarrualde

Clara magazine © Marcelo Isarrualde  Clara magazine © Marcelo Isarrualde

Clara magazine © Marcelo Isarrualde

Clara magazine cover.pdf

All rights reserved. © Isarrualde Photography. It is forbidden the use partial or global of this website unless authors written permission.