Before starting shooting for assignment 4, I did try various ideas around natural and artificial light and their combination. Some of these experiments are summarised in previous blog entries (see for instance my entry on exposing for the highlights, combining natural and artificial light and flash in daylight), with the connection between them leading me to the final idea for this assignment, which was to explore flash light in the night. In consequence, this assignment is an extension and, hopefully, an improvement on some of the ideas explored in exercise 4.4.
In exercise 4.4 my subject was a red onion, which is a common vegetable, and I was quite surprised at the different results that could be obtained by modifying the light source and the angle of view even slightly, some of which were quite dramatic and unexpected. For this assignment, I wanted to try to do the same with everyday objects or things that surround me but that I would not normally pay attention to or even care to stop and photograph, but that could be made to stand out by virtue of the flash light.
My choice of subjects is in part inspired by the work of Keith Arnatt and Fay Godwin, whom I have researched earlier on this course and who worked with rubbish and other unglamorous objects to create something different and attractive, in some cases (as in Arnatt’s “Boxes” series – link) by using artificial illumination. In terms of light, I have decided to go for direct flash without using any light modifiers except for a couple of hand-made snoots (one cylindrical, another one conical) and in one session, a yellow colour filter. The look I was aiming for is something in between Bill Brandt headlight series and Lisette Model’s interior shots of people eating and drinking in public places (as commented in this blog entry): high contrast light with clear direction and reach, but exposed in such a way as to show some background information, even if faintly.