Friday, July 15, 2011

42/52 Evelyn

So, time has finally brought us to one of this project's weirder moments. My steadfast commitment to completion, paired with my frequent lack of foresight, crosses paths with the rebellion and indifference of youth.

This is normally where a brief biography would go, describing the accomplishments and ambitions of my subject, through the lens of your humble narrator. Instead, for one week only it will be replaced instead by the following: a time, a place, a person, a convergence, and... um.... a condition? All weeks being their own unique intensity of hectic, and this week was particularly so. Once again (and hopefully for the last time) I was down to the wire, having worked all week between two jobs. It was Sunday night, and I was feeling particularly bad about constantly guilting friends and acquaintances into last minute shoots. Instead, I conceived of a method to do something which I've wanted to do since the inception of this project: photograph a total stranger on the street.

Jeff and I spent some time thinking up the best method for encountering a subject. Both of us are social experimenters at heart, and thusly we arrived at the following:

I lovingly handcrafted the sign above, and we walked down to the intersection of Milwaukee avenue and Damen. We were to stand there, me holding the sign, until someone inquired as to how we were totally NOT about to scam them. Us being reasonable folk, and knowing the neighborhood pretty well, we set out with the reasonable assumption that we may end up standing there for an hour or so.


After roughly three or four minutes, we encountered a small group of high school kids walking down the street. 

"How is this not a scam?"

"Funny you should ask..."

We explained my project to them and they were game. We ended up shooting at "six corners," the Wicker Park intersection most notable for its large amount of bicycle accidents and illegal left turns. Here is the group en mass:

All the kids were high school seniors, presumably enjoying a nice summer evening in a state of notable intoxication. As there might be implications for them with families, school, authorities and such, I'll leave them all anonymous. Also, I'm hardly a Photojournalist and I failed to take thorough notes on our casual conversation about backgrounds and future plans during our brief 15 minute shoot. Suffice it to say that they're all from the city and attend a private high school on the north side.

As for the lighting aspect, it's pretty straight-forward. I pushed my camera settings to allow me to properly expose the background while hand holding. I then keyed from high camera right. As with any city street, color temperature was all across the board. I was forced to do a bunch of work in post to bring things together. I gelled the key with half CTO to simply split the difference so that I wouldn't have to far to go in any direction. I had to do quite a bit of photoshopping, as the shadows were filled in by a particularly nasty mercury vapor light, but very orange and very green. The lights on the taco joint to the right are straight up florescent, and the bank in the background appear to be some sort of vapor light as well. I probably could have gotten away with throwing a window green gel on too. Live and learn.

Strobist Info:
SB-800 high camera right through silver over white umbrella with 1/2 CTO

Camera Settings:
1/50 f/9.0 at ISO 1600
Nikon 17-50 f/2.8@ 17mm

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