Sometimes a concept for a photo just falls in your lap and it's too good to resist. When you find yourself in an old building with a super deco interior, and your subject just happens to have access to a smoking jacket, you just have to go with it.
Garo Tokat is a musician and producer from the great city of Chicago. Garo has been putting on electronic music shows since well before I hit the scene. He and his Moment Sound crew have been running a monthly event at Rodan for six years now and it's still going strong. Together with Josh Kleckner and Slava Balasanov, Garo has been putting out independent releases on vinyl and generally keeping the Chicago scene alive and well. I've had the good fortune to play at shows Garo has curated several times, and I'm very happy I have. It's always a great time with like-minded people, and the music is the best in the city by far.
For the shoot, we met at Garo's building. It's a huge space that appears to have been formerly of commercial use long, long ago. We explored the various rooms for possible locations for the shoot, and we came upon a room with a serious art deco theme. Five minutes later I had Garo rooting through his roommate's belongings for a smoking jacket.
He came back with three.
So we had our concept. I decided we should incorporate a melodica instead a pipe, as to incorporate Garo's music-making ways. If you know Garo, you know he is one of the most down-to-earth people around. All the better to make him try to look as pompous and aloof as possible.
As for the light, ambient was a mix of sunlight and tungsten, so there wasn't a ton for me to work with. I bounced a flash off the ceiling to give the feel of standard overhead lighting, and then lit Garo with a white over silver umbrella from camera right. This is the first time I tried McNally's double diffused key technique, placing a sto-fen over the flash that lights the umbrella. I can't tell any appreciable difference, but when I'm not near 1/1 I don't see what it could hurt.
Here are some shots of the setup:
SB-800 camera right through white-over-silver umbrella with sto-fen diffuser
SB-800 camera right at ceiling through barn doors
1/250 f/4.0 at ISO 400
Tokina 11-16 f/2.8@ 11mm