Photographing Elize

Elize Rostant photographed for the Sunday Arts Magazine. Read the story here.

Last week I had a wonderful opportunity to photograph Elize Rostant in Cascade.
I'd considered photographing her in studio with some of her bold jewelry and to be honest, if I'd known she was such a babe, I'd probably have proposed it as a first option.

But I really like photographing creative people in the spaces that they work in. I see all such spaces as modern ateliers, their resonance and ambience forming part of the creative process and outcomes of the work.
So I found myself at her apartment and immediately decided to do the interview first.

The setup of gear for this photograph.

Elize works in a tiny space, working with and on a sewing machine on a tiny second level built into the high ceiling of the apartment space that's jammed right up against the wall.
I'd walked with my medium kit, which includes one big gun, a White Lightning 800 but the space was far too small for me to consider deploying the big umbrella soft box that I use with it.

Hell, there was barely space for the sewing machine, Elize and my big boned self.
So I asked questions and took notes, occasionally sneaking a glance up at the space to consider exactly what I'd do up there.
As engaging as Ms Rostant was, there's a time when the questions and the rambling begin to wear a bit thin and it's time to make the photograph.

I climbed the almost vertical stairs, more ladder than stairwell and immediately realized that I wouldn't be standing up straight for any of this. The ceiling was shorter than I was by a good eight inches.
So I assembled the WL, a light stand and my smaller 42 inch fill umbrella and dialed up to half power, eyeing the expanse of white wall that the artist faced while doing her work.

My alternate take for this image, done from the far roomier left hand side of the artist's workspace.

The catch? There was no space for me. At all.
So I appealed to the charming artist's sense of humor and invited her to be smart and sweet for a camera that was jammed up against the wall and turned back to face her, just over the sewing machine.
At 24mm, I was just getting the jeweler, the sewing machine, her art work together in the frame, except for the times that the zoom gently crept forward and cropped the image into an unusable detail shot.
Or I simply didn't guess at the framing correctly.
I maintained a never-ending patter throughout the shoot, playing to the absurdity of photographing the artist right alongside her and inviting her to offer great expressions to a lens on a camera jammed up against a wall.
Illuminating her is the light returning from the wall in front of her from the strobe behind us both.

The all-white walls offered enough fill and the soft, though still quite hot light didn't blow out her back and the rear of her head too terribly.
But this is one time that I have to give the kudos for these Hail Mary photos to modern electronics and good autofocus lock, careful metering and a subject who gave her all in a really quite ridiculous situation.
Thanks for being such a good sport, Elize!
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