Perhaps it says something, and perhaps it doesn’t, that here on my 59th birthday I’m posting a set of images that required me to learn a significant number of new processing techniques. One might be tempted to think that 35 into the game, I would already know all there is to know. Yet, that is so far from the truth and there remains so much more that I’m trying to understand and grasp in my mind.
I’ve become quite fascinated of late with directional lighting and not only how that affects the photograph, but how it translates when the waveform is applied. In this case, it is a straight overhead light that works differently from other single-light series I’ve done because it’s not the only light. We avoid the top-down shadow over the eyes that can be distracting but maintain the spotlight for dramatic effect.
That approach fits the concept well. I was barely walking when Lewis Morely took the now-famous shot of Christine Keeler sitting nude in a contemporary chair facing backward. The image was a publicity shot for a movie about a famous affair that shook the British government and, all the way back in 1963, the image stoked outrage in response to its blatant sexuality.
Naturally, given the way things work, the pose has been duplicated by nearly every photographer since many without any idea of the trouble stirred by the original or even who took the original. In referencing that pose for a moment, and then moving well beyond that seemingly simple concept, we acknowledge that sometimes the most simple things provoke the strongest response.
In this series, the waveform overlaying the base image is what implies the presence of fire. Take away the waveform and the photo is still provocative and sufficiently erotic but with the waveform in place, the added dimension provides a sense of enclosure and the light reflecting off the smoke infers danger, stoking the sexual tension. There’s a “burning down” of the pop art feel from the original pose as well as a destruction of the sexual inhibition of the 60s.
Analysis aside, I once again find myself excited to show these images to you. Once again, I also wish I could be showing them to you as prints rather than digital images. I genuinely fear the hours spend on detail is lost in a digital presentation.
Click on any thumbnail to view the series at the optimal size for your device. Our huge thanks to Ashley for the wonderful poses. I still have two sets from that shoot so there’s more to come!