Lockdown 2020 provided me the opportunity to explore portraiture photography in my makeshift home studio. It was a ten wonderful months of experimentation and learning, trying out new approaches and playing around initially with natural light and then moving up to studio lights. The former I love, the latter not so much. I’ll take the simple version anytime, but the moment I need to start calculating apertures and speed and this that and the other, I’m out. I believe in the KISS method, primarily because I will always be a documentary photographer before anything else, and out on the field there is no room for calculating light strength. You have the five-second-rule and that’s it, your subject moves away or the explosion is over. End of story.
In any case, home-studio creativity led me down several new and unexplored paths, and I decided to embrace them all under the umbrella of literary experimentation. I wrote in the previous blog entry that 2021 is all about the upcoming book Sunset Shadows, and in order to get my creative juices flowing for character development I turn to photography.
It is time to get into the criminal mindset, set the stage for a very different kind of mood in order to weave together reality and fiction. Once again I am incredibly grateful to have a muse who is happy to play along with my impulsive photoshoots. The first two are new, and the other two are re-edited shots. Under “normal” circumstances I would be out in a cafe or park writing, immersing myself in the environment and taking notes of the people around me. COVID-19 has stopped all that and there is only so much inspiration you can get from the subway or a bus ride.
It’s difficult to say what will trigger a much needed flash of inspiration. Sometimes it is just a word, other times a passing scene, but in my case, while developing the outline of the book, the different scenarios that come to mind, or the recurring themes that will make an appearance are what push me forward. In all honesty though, I turn to these makeshift scenes when I have writer’s block and have no clue how to proceed.
Although the images here carry a positive note due to the interplay of light and shadow, the finished product makes it so much easier to sit and brood over characters. It anchors me, allowing a creative fusion of ideas and research.