One of my current fav shots from a shoot that I did with Andrew Silks a couple of months ago.. and since then I’ve had a few people ask me how I came up with it, so I thought I’d write a little the behind the scenes post here. Andy was such a great dancer to collaborate with, I originally shot for him for his audition pics this year (he just graduated from Ellison Ballet School and is off to Tulsa Ballet in the fall); we had just gotten into doing some fun stuff with his ‘crazy’ tights, when we ran out of time. So I asked him back to do some more experimenting with me and this was one of the results!
Shooting on a 10×25 foot piece of blackout material (I prefer the material over a seamless paper as it doesn’t reflect any light and gives a deep black) we used the 4×8 foot mirrored plexiglass in the studio I had purchased for a jewelery shoot that I’d been wanting to play with.
So we started out with him bending and moving with the mirror itself, and found the best way to light him to avoid the inevitable reflections of light from all angles was to have two lights almost 45 degrees upstage (a dancer term for towards the back of the background). We spent a little time testing the boundaries of the plexi when of course, it had to break on us! After much laughter and a little hoping that the 7 year rule only applied to real mirrors and not plexiglass, we continued on to find that it was much easier to work with a small piece of the mirror rather than the whole for certain affects. When we found the angle for this shot I knew we’d ‘gotten’ it!
In the world of post production there is just so much you can do with an image, sometimes it’s less is more, sometimes more is more, and sometimes you just work with something till you know you love it. The last is usually my general approach. The original shot:
I knew I wanted the mirror to reflect with more ‘mental’ faces, the voices that we hear in our heads that are so clear to us but not to outsiders.
Next I played with several different effects, settling on one that gave me the feel of his energy/essence being drawn up from the bottom of his body to come out his hand and surround the mirror and the different faces or voices. This was done primarily with the liquify tool.
A final few tweaks and we have the finished image: