I’m formally trained in art. I even have the piece of paper that tells people that I’m trained in art. Isn’t that something? So every once in a while I go back to my roots, so to speak, and play around with the physical things, paint, canvas, clay. Over the new year, my wife, Abby, and I went to go visit my sister, Darya, and my folks over on their side of the continent. A ritual of visiting Darya is stopping by her studio for an hour or five. Last time I tried spinning some clay into a pot, but this time I decided that I wanted to continue a project I had started a while back. It was a miniseries sculpture/painting thing that until now had only one piece, Julius Caesar
The idea for the series came to me when I was on a historical kick a couple years ago. I read Rubicon, and The Assassination of Julius Caesar both of which are fantastic by the by, and got really excited about sculpting a bust of Julius Caesar. As you see, he’s holding up the canvas he’s in, as a sort of joke about being self made and all that. From Caesar, I was going to read up about Alexander the Great, but got sidetracked reading about physics or cats, I can’t remember. But while I never did read anything about Alexander, I did come up with an idea for another painting-scuplture thing. I’m not sure how I came up with this, but I thought it would be neat to show him as a kid, carelessly swinging his feet, sitting on a bench. He died young and on top of the world. His Gordean Knot adventure makes him seem, sure, like a great leader, fearless and all that, but also carefree and that’s what I wanted to show.
I won’t go into the work that went into making these guys, as this is still a photogrpahy blog, but I will talk about lighting them.
Alexander is lit with 3 flashes. The key is top right, at +1 EV, fill, bottom left at -1ish EV and the rim light is at -3EV far left. This creates that nice darkened center without losing detail in his right (viewer’s left) eye.
Caesar was a similar idea. His key light is on the right, creating those harsh shadows. His hands are lit with a flash i put underneath the canvas. I really wanted to have an accent on his hands, since they are the joke of the piece. Finally, I filled the shot with a ring flash at about -2 EV. It softens the shadows a bit, pulling out some of the detail in the dark part of his face.
Without the ring flash, the shadows are very harsh. It’s a more dramatic image, but you can’t see what he looks like.