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Medusa themed body painting photoshoot

June 12th, 2011 No comments

Here are some images from a recent collaboration that I did with makeup artist Meghan Thomas and actor, model, dancer Genevieve Clements. I have worked with Meghan many times and it’s always a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with such a talented artist! This was the second photoshoot that I did with Genevieve. As an actor and dancer, Genevieve has great expression and body awareness, which makes her a wonderful photography model to work with.

In preparation for the shoot, I read up on the Greek myth of Medusa (in Wikipedia of course!) and found out that she had two sisters, both also Gorgons – monsters with snakes for hair and the power to turn anyone to stone with their gaze. Her sisters were immortal, but Medusa was not, and was killed by Perseus by chopping off her head. The winged horse Pegasus sprung from Medusa’s blood. Pegasus was the offspring of Medusa and the god of the sea Poseidon. In ancient times, Medusa was monstrous in appearance, but later was depicted as beautiful (except for the snakes).

In this shoot, we wanted to invoke the symbolism of Medusa – a combination of feminine beauty and snake imagery. We did two different sets – the first was shadowy with a dark background and lighting to show the body painting work. For the second set, I used a handpainted background featuring ancient Greek columns to go with the Greek myth theme. Here’s a photo gallery with more images from the shoot.

Medusa

 

Medusa Body Painting

 

Lighting for a dark & shadowy look

May 16th, 2011 1 comment
Medusa

Medusa: 1/250 sec, f/10, ISO 100

I was inspired by the ballet dancer photograph (see below) by Chase Jarvis and decided to try a similar lighting style for a photoshoot that I did last week. I was shooting body painting work by makeup artist Meghan Thomas for actor, model and dancer Genevieve Clements. The theme was Medusa, the gorgon of Greek mythology with venomous snakes for hair and the power to turn to stone anyone who looked at her face.

Ballet Dancer by Chase Jarvis

Ballet Dancer by Chase Jarvis

I wanted a dark, shadowy look for the Medusa theme, but also wanted to make sure that the body painting was visible. To achieve this, I used a black seamless paper background and positioned two softboxes behind the model, one on each side. This is similar to the set up for the Chase Jarvis ballet dancer shot. I then added two gridded strobes in front to use as spotlights for highlighting the makeup and body painting. I also used two large black foamcore panels to block the light from the softboxes to prevent lens flare (see the lighting diagram below).

Post-processing was done with Lightroom 3.4 and Photoshop CS5. I increased the contrast and did some light retouching, but kept the colours to highlight the body painting.

Let me know what you think. Do you have some lighting techniques that you use to give a shadowy look?

Lighting Setup for Medusa Shoot

Lighting diagram courtesy of Kevin Kertz.

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