Runaway – A conceptual photo shoot (and 2013 Fine Arts Fiesta entries)

About 3 weeks ago, my friend Jennifer asked me if I’d decided what I was going to enter in this year’s Wilkes-Barre Fine Arts Fiesta.  I told her I hadn’t really thought about it, and wasn’t sure if I was going to enter this year.  I’ve been doing mostly commercial work lately and didn’t know if I had anything that fit the bill for entry.  Then I thought some more and realized that I’d had an idea for a photograph in the back of my head, and maybe I’d try to create that for an entry.  If nothing else, it would give me something different to think about and work on.  The concept I had was based on a couple of things – a favorite shoot location, and the work of Brooke Shaden.  She shoots a lot of self-portraits with a theme to each, and although her work has a much higher conceptual value than what I was thinking of, I love the look to her work and wanted to try to create something along those lines.  So the “story” I came up with to shoot was a girl running away from home, set in roughly the early 1900’s.  I had in my head a shot of this girl standing in the middle of the train tracks who had run away from home but who gave up hope and decided to just let a train run her down and end it all. Dark, I know, but not to worry, I was going to shoot my model on the tracks, and then composite in the train using a train from the Steamtown National Park nearby.  I ended up changing the “story” but still got the look I was going for and liked the way it came out better.

Although I have 2 girls of my own, Jennifer has a daughter who perfectly fit my mental image.  Jennifer was up for the idea and luckily, so was Jess! I talked to Jennifer about how I wanted her to look (dress, make up etc.) and we set out “styling” our shoot. I spent about half an hour shopping in Salvation Army (no good outfit but an old suitcase that made a good prop), Jennifer found a skirt in a costume shop, and we looked around through some consignment shops and found a shirt.  I asked some friends and got a cool pair of lace-up boots, and they all went together to make a perfect look. With our styling complete, we went to Seven Tubs county park for our shoot.  I’d seen the train tracks that border the park a few years ago from an overpass and have used them for an engagement shoot previously, so I knew they would give me the look I was going for.  The weather was perfect as it was overcast with some darker clouds to give it that dark, moody look I was going for.  We got to our location and set up, did a bunch of different angles and looks to see what would work, and even tried some things I hadn’t even thought about beforehand – this was the most fun part of the shoot, just trying things to see what worked!  As we went, the story evolved.  All through the process, Jess couldn’t have been a better model! She totally bought into what I was going for and managed to give me exactly the look I wanted, despite her mom and I delving into silliness and our inevitable Seinfeld references throughout.

When I got the shots into the computer and started working on them, I was even more excited – I got exactly what I had envisioned in my head and more!  I played around with coloring and look, using both Lightroom and Nik’s Color Efex to develop a consistent look and feel.  The last touch I added was a texture from the basement wall in my house, which is a pasted-on brown kraft paper.  With everything put together, I was able to get the exact photo and feel I wanted, and after going through the shots, the story unfolded.  The last part of the process was the printing – I wanted something different that would keep in with the theme of the photos, so I printed on Canson Arches Aquarelle Rag paper, tore the edges, then mounted directly on black mat board.  I found dark frames that had a wood texture to complete the look.  After everything was said and done, I was incredibly happy with how this project came out – it was something different for me, but I found the creativity involved in it to be great fun, and I’ll definitely be doing this more often!

So, with that lengthy background, here are the photos we created, and shots of the final framed prints.  I’ve also included some behind-the-scenes shots that Jennifer took while we shooting.

Into the Woods

Into the Woods

On the Tracks

On the Tracks

Fly Away

Fly Away

Surrender

Surrender

Peace

Peace

Print 1

Print 1

Print 2

Print 2

Print 3

Print 3

Print 4

Print 4

Print 5

Print 5

IMG_3487

IMG_3500

IMG_3505

IMG_3495

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Comments
9 Responses to “Runaway – A conceptual photo shoot (and 2013 Fine Arts Fiesta entries)”
  1. bwbears says:

    Wow this is amazing work. A mysterious feel to the pictures, powerful and authentic.

  2. c.k. ledford says:

    These are awesome! A somewhat eerie feel to them and beautifully shot.

  3. banditwe says:

    David – love them all, but the 1st and second prints are my favorite. such a great old time look never gets old – no pun intended.

  4. Ryan Hermann says:

    Some great shots! What a great tone these pictures have as well!

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