Heartwarming Interview with Ian Ruhter, the Master of Wet Plate Photography

Written by Fredrik Franzén on . Posted in Fine Art Photography

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ian ruhter wet plate colodion 14 1024x862 Heartwarming Interview with Ian Ruhter, the Master of Wet Plate Photography

©Ian Ruhter

Long-term readers of our blog are well-aware that we are huge fans of Ian Ruhter’s work. Evidently, so is the good people at Steez Magazine who just posted an interview with Ian. It’s good. You should read it. 

Being a snow and skate culture magazine, there is admittedly not a lot about lighting in the article. But there is, on the other hand, quite a lot about the photographer’s creative process and the craft of wet plate photography. Click here to to read the full article.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to once again highlight a few of our favorite Ian Ruhter videos: MadisonAmerican DreamWhen Death Do Us Part and When Dream Collide. Every single one of them is worth watching more than once.

Alexia Sinclair Traveled to a Frozen Castle, Left Untouched for Hundreds of Years, to Shoot Portraits That Will Blow Your Mind

Written by Fredrik Franzén on . Posted in Fine Art Photography

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Fine art photographer Alexia Sinclair was given the keys to a frozen castle left untouched since the 17th century. “When you’re given such an incredible opportunity, you have to create something equally incredible yourself,” she says. “Otherwise it’s just a failure.” Keep reading and learn how she pulled it off.

It all started with an email from the Royal Palace in Stockholm. The Royal Armory was preparing an exhibition on Queen Christina and wanted to feature the portrait Alexia had done of the flamboyant queen as part of the portrait series The Regal Twelve. Alexia was also invited to the opening ceremony in Stockholm.

Never one to let an opportunity pass, and with a well-documented fascination for kings and queens, Alexia asked the Royal Palace if she could photograph a real-life princess while in Sweden. The reply she got was: “No. But we do have a castle you may use.”

A couple of months later, Alexia arrived at Skokloster Castle – a 17th century Baroque masterpiece situated just outside Stockholm. She had done weeks and weeks of research and planning. She had rallied people from all over Scandinavia willing to travel to Skokloster to style, model and assist. She was now ready to start her brand new portrait series, which was eventually named A Frozen Tale. Read More

Light Shaping Tool of the Month: Umbrella Deep XL White

Written by Fredrik Franzén on . Posted in Fine Art Photography

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Profoto Umbrella Deep Zhang Jingna Motherland Chronicles 44 Germaine II 600x785 Light Shaping Tool of the Month: Umbrella Deep XL White

Germaine II | ©Zhang Jingna

Each month we highlight a certain item in Profoto’s rich assortment of Light Shaping Tools. This month we talk to Zhang Jingna about one of our most recently released tools: the Umbrella Deep XL White.

The umbrella is one of the most popular Light Shaping Tools out there. No surprise there. Umbrellas are affordable, easy to work with and very easy to transport. What’s not to like?

Profoto offers twelve kinds of umbrellas in two shapes: deep and shallow. This article will focus on one of the deep models: the Umbrella Deep XL White. The deeper shape is designed to give you better control of the light spread. It also allows you to focus and shape the light by sliding the umbrella shaft in its holder. Put together, the umbrella’s size and smooth, white fabric creates a large, soft and very even light source. But again, the light is surprisingly controllable and shapeable, thanks to the umbrella’s deeper shape.

In short, it’s a straightforward tool that you can do a lot with. Zhang Jingna’s images are a clear evidence of that. Just consider the fact all the images in this article were shot with just a single flash: a D1 monolight equipped with the Umbrella Deep XL White.

“Last year I launched a personal project of mine called Motherland Chronicles, a series of fantasy-inspired portraits” says Jingna. “A Prayer, Germaine II and Tabitha are all taken for this series.”

Jingna has her roots in China and Singapore but is now based in New York. She spends most of her time shooting fashion and beauty for clients such as Montblanc, Canon and Mercedes Benz. She’s also published in the international editions of Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and L’Officiel on a frequent basis. But it’s not all work. Sometimes she does stuff just for the fun of it. Motherland Chronicles is an example of just that.

“I had a certain illustrative look in mind for this project,” says Jingna. “To achieve that, I needed a very soft, even light source. That’s why I’ve been working with the Umbrella Deep XL White. I generally enjoy working with umbrellas. I find that setting up and packing away softboxes can be pretty tedious. Umbrellas are a great substitute, especially for on-location shoots.” Read More

Aaron Conway Dances with The D1

Written by Fredrik Franzén on . Posted in Fine Art Photography

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 Aaron Conway Dances with The D1

©Aaron Conway

Cincinnati-based fine art and commercial photographer Aaron Conway was challenged to introduce the city’s ballet to a new and younger audience. His solution? Shoot the ensemble dancing in a location where the kids actually hang out.

Different photographers have different needs and different preferences. There are quite a few who value being able to shoot fast and on the fly. But there are also photographers such as Aaron Conway who prefers taking it slow and getting deep into the details.

“Patience is essential,” says Aaron. “Taking the time to build the right set and working on the lighting is critical. I’m always my worst critic and have realized that if you rush a shot you’ll always see it in the image.”

It is a surprising stance, considering some of the stuff that Aaron shoots. For instance, getting deep into the details seems to be a difficult thing to do when shooting the bustling activity of the Cincinnati Ballet.

“I like working with images that have more focused lighting,” replies Aaron when asked about the thinking behind his lighting setup. “There may be fill lights or accent lights, but I try to always have a strong main light in my images. I’ve always been drawn to images in which you can see the direction of the light. I think it creates an identity in the image, as if you were looking through the photographer’s eyes, seeing what they see.” Read More

Francesco Ridolfi Shoots Chess Portraits with the D1 Monolight

Written by Fredrik Franzén on . Posted in Fine Art Photography

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Chess Portraits is the name of a series of images by Francesco Ridolfi, an Italian fine art photographer who uses chess pieces and the D1 monolight to explore the duality of human nature.

Chess Portraits is a personal project of mine”, says Francesco. “It’s not something a client asked me to do. I just had this reoccurring idea of humanizing the pieces of a chess board.  Inside each and everyone of us there are opposing forces that pulls us in different directions. There’s brightness and darkness. Good and evil. Black and white. My idea was to use chess pieces to explore this dualism.”

How did the project evolve from idea to planned shoot?

“Like I said, this was a personal project, so it was up to me and my team to take care of all the details – designing the costumes, researching what fabrics to use, creating the objects, casting the models, planning the shoot, the post production, everything! It was all very interesting, but what really got me excited was the opportunity to explore the duality I mentioned before. I was intrigued by the possibility to put each character under a different light, so to speak!” Read More