Studio Workshop #5 – Retake

This Monday was the last day in the studio before the Easter break and there was concern that lecturers suffering from Covid may not be around to provide advice and support. (Sounds a bit selfish now I read that back)

Leaving the house with my bag, camera bag, suit and shirt, as well as my roller blind, I jumped in the car and headed to Wolverhampton to meet up with my group in the Studio.

Bagging a free parking space close to the George Wallis building saved me £4 that it usually costs to park in Molineux. Heading off to the School Of Art with my belongings I entered the studio and sat down to talk to my fellow colleagues ahead of the morning’s work.

MK Building at University Of Wolverhampton

We discussed who had shoots to do and who would be able to help each other out like in a proper team fashion. Liberty had a Pentax 645Z booked out from the media stores so we were good to go.

The first shoot was for my retake of a picture we did in workshop #3 which saw me sit in a similar portrait to a self portrait by painter Sir Joshua Henry. In the first shoot we did the picture came out really well but upon closer inspection it was found to be a little blurred. This time we’d make sure it was spot on.

I grabbed the backdrop stands and brown paper roll before moving the softbox in with a small head set on a lower power to illuminate my eyes, as we’d done in the third session.

The keylight was set to provide 16 stops of light on my nose and the side fill light was set to give us 2.8 stops of light, and Liberty kindly sat on the stool in order for me to meter and set the powers of the lights up. Once the lighting was sorted I sat in the position and Liberty and Chan re-tested the lights before I went to get dressed. This sounds like an easy task, but due to the shirt cuffs not sticking out oif my jacket sleeves two weeks before I changed the shirt I was wearing. Forgetting that the shirt uses cufflink style buttons, which I’d left in the box at home, it meant my shirt wouldn’t do up and I didn’t want to have wasted everyone’s time with the set up so I pulled it across as far as I could, and then tucked it into my trousers as best I could. My thought was that the waist coat and jacket would hide the issue apart from the top few buttons which were left open like some sort of stereotypical ego obsessed poser. I told nobody of this issue and no-one seemed to notice so I think I got away with it.

When I got into the position for the image I had to do the lifting arm again which again was agony, but as we’d got the lights set up from the previous shoot and some memory of the height of lights etc it was quicker to setup the final shot and take the picture. Liberty was behind the camera and both she and Chan gave excellent directions as to where I should look, how high my elbow should be and whether there was enough shadow over my eyes.

Picture taken by Liberty & Chan on Pentax 645Z

With the picture in the SD card, I swapped over the camera for my Bronica ETRS shooting 5×4.5 on 120 FIlm, Ektar 100. With the sync cable in the port and Chan trained up on the shutter release and focusing operations it was time to do a release, I asked for a second image and then I noticed that the lights did not trigger, so two shots would be dark when I get them developed. We tried one more, after showing Chan how to wind on the camera to the next frame, but the flash still failed to trigger so we sacked it off and went onto the next shoot.

Liberty had a shoot list agenda of shots she wanted to get captured for her year-long project so we turned off the side fill and used solely the key light. It worked out well but I won’t share those images as they’re not really mine to share. I mean I did take them and provide the directions for the images but they’re Liberty’s really. They involved Red Wool being wrapped around her body and then other images of pinky fingers and index fingers being linked with the red wool in a representation of symbolism from some Eastern cultures.

Liberty, Picture by Bob Griffiths

Chan then set up the camera to do some portraits of the back of people’s heads and was asking around the photography studios for volunteers and by pushing herself to do it ended up with a few. I’ll be interested to see how their year-long projects work out as I have mine to do next year on my first year part two.

Veronica, Liberty and Chan at work in the studio.

Whilst we were working Euripides, the course leader, came over for a chat with us all and was helping us to understand that the work all needed to be in before the 10th May and that our sketchbooks if they were physical versions should also be digitised ahead of the submission. There was no argument from me as I don’t really fancy handing my work in for it to be lost. Once we’ve digitised it we can hang on to it and send in the digital works.

To get it all digitised the course leaders and techs have offered us a week of using copy stands and cameras to capture all of our work, but I needed to do digitise some negatives, some old pictures and a photo so I set up another tool to help me, it seems to have worked and I’ll share the method in a post in the near future.

The next post will be about my efforts to catch up on some prints from the colour dark room and then some of the selection of the final images for Colour, Black & White, Digital and Studio parts of the module ahead of the hand in date on May 10th.

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