52 Project – Week 13 – @pennjillette

Background: This year, I’ve decided to do a 52 project (one photo a week), and my “theme” is that I’m going to do a self-portrait each week, where I try to mimic the Twitter picture/avatar of someone that I follow, figuring I’d be able to learn a new technique/look each week that I can apply to future projects.

Penn Jillette is one half of the acclaimed magic due of Penn & Teller.  They have been performing for 35 years, doing a type of magic that kind of defies explanation, but they’ve labeled themselves as “eccentric magicians with a psychotic twist”.  I’ve enjoyed seeing them on numerous TV appearances, appreciating their off-the-wall type of magic and the humor that goes along with it.  Recently, my wife and I have been watching “Celebrity Apprentice”, which Penn is appearing on this season, and we’ve enjoyed his part in the show a lot.  He’s also been a guest on Howard Stern a number of times, so there’s an additional connection for me there.  We’re going to Las Vegas this weekend for Easter (yes, I know – how stereotypical, going to the Holy Land for Easter), and we were able to get tickets to see Penn & Teller’s show at the Rio (which has been running for 10 years, quite a feat in Las Vegas!).  I’m really excited to finally see this act in person, so I thought it would be appropriate to use Penn as my inspiration for this week’s project.

I initially started out doing this shot as a 3-light set up – I saw the side lighting on Penn’s face, and went off of that.  But what I didn’t look at was the shadows – the key light is clearly off to camera left, as there is more shadowing from his nose and cheeks on the camera right side of his face.  So, after moving my key light (beauty dish with 20 degree grid) to the side, and putting a snoot on the opposite light to focus it more cleanly on my face, I was able to get the look I was going for.  His face is a much different shape than mine, so I couldn’t get exactly the same highlights, but I think I got the basic idea right.  Good lesson learned this week: always look at the shadows to see where the light is coming from!  Finally, a quick shout out of thanks to my wife for unknowingly lending me her glasses for this shot.  Boy, are her eyes bad! I could barely move out of my spot after each shot without taking them off, for fear of hurting myself or worse yet, damaging my photo equipment!

Enjoy the photo and wish me luck at the tables!

Penn Jillette's Twitter Avatar

Me as Penn Jillette

Behind the Scenes for this shot


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