Pegaso automobiles

The Centre for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona inaugurated an exhibition on the iconic cars Pegasus. The curator, the artist Francesc Torres, had contacted me about making to the catalog.

Pegaso Z-102 Spider Rabassada (1953)

Like Josep Ramoneda says in the exhibition catalog: “…. It was probably also this power of fascination of the car that attracted Francesc Torres and made him convince us – the CCCB- of the interest to rebuild this rare burst of beauty in the sinister political and cultural universe during Franco’s rule. “

 

It was a very interesting challenge because Francesc did not want the photographic treatment of the cars to be like an advertising image, instead he wanted each car to be treated as a work of art, almost like a living sculpture. They needed three or four photos of each car, one long shot, always from the same perspective and three detailed pictures that gave us some clues about the car’s anatomy.

Pegaso Z-102 Spider Pedralbes (1954)

The operational problems were many. On one hand, only authorized staff could touch the cars, clean them and position them for each shot. On the other hand, we could not take pictures outside of the premises of the museum. Neither could we have access to the showroom to take pictures since the carpenters and electricians worked to place pallets and lighting in the room that was needed for the exposition. As can be seen in the picture above … The session had to be performed in a typical rental tent for weddings and other events!

We had to put black interior curtains that covered the ceiling and the walls, to that way be able to control the reflections from the cars.
On the wooden floor of the tent we placed a white vinyl floor, seamless, 6 meters wide and 12 meters long, to have a single continuous surface where the cars could slide. On the wall in the back a very thin gray fabric was placed, stiffened and stuck on a wooden frame that was 3 meters by 6 meters.

How to illuminate these cars?

All the bodies of the cars shone very much and the finishes were very different, but what really conditioned the work and how to illuminate the cars was the need to photograph 4 cars per day, each of them with one long shot and three more additional detailed photos.

  Pegaso Z-103 Berlineta Touring (1956)

For the long shot image we decided to use a large light box by Bowens that had the same size as the car and we placed it very close to the frame. All cars were to have the same position to the camera´s perspective and this way an uniform illumination was achieved. We used two Wafer 200 light boxes– of 1.40 x 2.00 mts. By putting them together horizontal, one next to the other, and position them in the structure of a Wafer Bank … They turned into a light box of 1.40 x 4.00 mts. !

I thought about putting a canopy in front of the light boxes – a diffusing surface – of 6.00 x 6.00 mts – to generate softer borders and gradients of the direct reflections of light on the body of the car, but the height of the tent did not allow it. To model the details I had two Wafer Strip 140 windows and another Wafer 200, which together with the Wafer Bank allowed me to shape the reflections effectively and fast. More than the subtlety in the treatment of the light, it was about trying to find a set of functional illumination.

   

The reflections from the light sources would have a defined edge, hence once chosen the point of view from which we would make the photo of each detail, we had to move the Wafer Strip until the reflections were good and putted the attention on the forms of each car.

  Pegaso Z-102 Spyder Touring (1953)

Sometimes the details were not in the shape of the vehicle but in some detail of manufacturing such as the more than 1000 rivets that Giorgio Giorda had placed on the body of the cars that made the prototype Rabassada, the first official race car form Pegasus.

  Prototype Spider Rabassada, exact replica

The choice of a white floor helped to make so many photos per day, because its color and the glossy shine reflected the light bouncing from Wafer Bank in the floor and reduced the overall contrast of the shot. In turn I used large black cloth on the white ground to mark up til where I wanted the reflections to be seen in the car.

Finally, … Now we only needed to take the cars away again and dismantle the improvised studio in the tent!

  Lighting diagram

Pegaso automobiles.pdf

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It is forbidden the use partial or global of this website unless authors written permission.

Beach or Studio ?

It was July in Barcelona and we could have gone to any beach to do the photo shoot for the cover of Clara for August. But for various reasons the photograph was done in the Hymsa / Edipresse studio. There you can have a complete control of the light, but the difficulty is almost always the same in the photos …They seem made in a studio!

Poetada Clara 167 © Marcelo Isarrualde Clara cover

Alexandra © Marcelo Isarrualde   Model : Alexandra

The idea was for the photo to look like it had been made on the beach and therefor the main light had to be like the sunlight on a sunny summer day, without clouds. Sunlight is very harsh unless it is filtered through a cloud or if it is a cloudy day. Outdoors, heaven helps lower the contrast of light produced by the sun and fills the shadows, but in the studio this contrast is higher and has to be carefully controlled.

As main light we used a Bowens 1500 W/s flash with a Maxilite reflector and the result was great. It was important that the main light was hard, and a flash with a standard reflector – as is the Maxilite – situated far from the model it becomes a small light source and generates a harsh illumination, without gloom, and is wide at the same time ..

Bowens Gemini Bowens Gemini with Maxilite reflector

Fresnel Lens

I could have used another more efficient type of accessory like a reflector with a Fresnel lens but it was being used in another set and hence I could not dispose of it.

Broncolor flooter

These accessories make the light beam of the flash look as the sun by using an optical element. This causes that the rays of light – instead of dispersing – are projected parallel.

Fresnel lens

The Shape of a parabola

I could also have used a parabolic dish like the reflectors from Broncolor such as the Satellite Evolution parabolic dish with a perfect parabolic curvature.

Broncolor Satellite Evolution Broncolor Satellite Evolution

It was only a matter of positioning the light in the right place and that way we would have a very direct and hard light. But we did not have this accessory in the studio!

Parábola © Marcelo Isarrualde  Hemisphere vs paraboloid

It would have been even better having one of the fantastic parabolic umbrellas from Briese, but the budget was limited and few studies in Spain have this fantastic German brand.

Briese 77  Briese 77

Because of their parabolic shape, these accessories allow that the distribution of the rays is parallel (in theory) and thus resembles the sun. I will speak about the Briese accessories in another post because it’s design is spectacular. The effect it produces is like the one of a Fresnel with a very spectacular light, and at the same time very enveloping.  Amazing and true!

Final take

Let us return to the studio to see how the illumination for the set was done. A Wafer Strip light box acted as secondary light to decrease the contrast caused by the direct light from the principal flash, and it was put at a rate of – 1.5 EV. The background was overexposed + 1 EV so that the blue gelatine in front of the flashes that were illuminating the background would burn it a bit. This was to decrease the saturation of the blue color so that the background color would seem more celestial, like the sky.

Lighting diagram © Marcelo Isarrualde  Lighting diagram

Beach or Studio.pdf

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It is forbidden the use partial or global of this website unless authors written permission.

 

 

Bream with tradition

Bream is a fish with delicate meat, traditionally eaten in many parts of Spain on Christmas Eve. It can be prepared in various ways and it is an oily fish with low content of fat, ideal for light meals.

Besugo © Marcelo Isarrualde Home economist Ana Torróntegui

The idea of this story was for all the recipes – all of traditional making- to have a very clear and clean graphic image, and at the same time give a subtle  impression of a festive Christmas Eve dinner.

Besugo © Marcelo Isarrualde

The prop was very white, and the glasses of wine – white as well – were accompanying the general mood of the shot very well . I wanted to accentuate the table, but make a close-up photo that made the attention go to the plate and not a wider and descriptive image that would take away the attention from the food.

Making of © Marcelo Isarrualde Hymsa/Edipresse Studios

The initial lighting scheme consisted of a Wafer light box from Bowens as a back light and two white frontal reflectors which decreased the overall contrast of the scene. A white background, distant and overexposed completed the set of lights.

Making of © Marcelo Isarrualde

The article is called ‘Bream with tradition’ and it was realized for the magazine ‘Lecturas Cocina‘. It consisted of 5 recipes, each one with particular ingredients. This generated different forms, volumes and shine in the different plates. For every photography some modification of the light was necessary. Not changing the initial scheme,  but complement the scene with other lights. In some cases we used a reflector with a honeycomb or a cone, in others a Fresnel, or both simultaneously.

Esquema de iluminación © Marcelo Isarrualde Lighting diagram

Bream with tradition.pdf

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It is forbidden the use partial or global of this website unless authors written permission.

 

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

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