Monday, March 28, 2011

27/52 Ryan Szeszycki

This week, and interesting attempt to photograph an artist, incorporating his own techniques.

Ryan Szeszycki is an artist from New Palestine Indiana. As with a lot of folks I know here in Chicago, I've known Ryan since High School. He's a graduate from the Heron school of art with a degree in Painting. He works full time as a caretaker at a half-way home for adults with physical and mental disabilities. Side note, unknowingly Ryan and I played youth hockey in the same league as kids. Many of his recent art works deal heavily with perspective. Many of his paintings consist of several canvases suspended from the ceiling. When viewed from a specific point, the canvases line up to converge into a single image. We decided to try to incorporate this technique in the photo, which proved to be an interesting challenge.

Our idea consisted of two portraits in one. First, I did a quick headshot of Ryan in my living room. I used two lights, one in a silver-over-white umbrella as a key, and the other to light the background. I keyed from high camera right.

We did a few serious ones, and then Ryan started making weird faces. The one you see above was just too funny, so we decided to go with it. We printed off black and white photos in a few different sizes then headed outside. It was raining and nasty out so we decided to shoot underneath a bridge near my house. We taped half of the printed photo to a pillar and carefully lined up both Ryan and the camera for the portrait.

Because the original headshot was keyed from camera right, I keyed him from about the same position with an umbrella. Then I lit the print from about the same angle but with a bare flash. I had to do some trickery to get everything to line up correctly. I ended up using my Sigma 50-150 to get the perspective right. I placed the camera on a tripod and inched Ryan back and forth to get him to line up. I also shot at f/8 to try to get the foreground print to be as sharp as possible. Here are a few snaps of the setup:

Strobist Info:
SB-800 camera right through white-over-silver umbrella
SB-800 camera right

Camera Settings:
1/30 f/8 at ISO 1600
Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 @ 105mm

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