Monday, December 10, 2012

Guitar Hero: formation of an image

Guitar Hero by Jacob Åberg (jacke)) on
Guitar Hero by Jacob Åberg

Here is a picture I made very recently (the one I talked about in the last post) that I am very satisfied with. It was in many ways a very laboured project, that took a very long time to get done.

Looking through my correspondence regarding it, it is first dated from May, 2012, and I had been processing the idea some time before that too. Perhaps that is why it feels like an important picture to me, since it took so much effort to make. The effort was not only in planning, but also, probably more, in the construction of the set/light-modifier.

The initial idea was a wall of spotlights backlighting the "guitar hero". It was partially inspired by the BECK anime/manga, which deals with a rock band rising to fame. Since I don't have access to spotlights, I needed to somehow simulate them, which led me to the idea of a huge pseudo-softbox with a very particular grid. Cue lots of cardboard and duct-tape...

OK! With that done, some holes.

For the "pipes" I used rolled up pieces of a foam camping mattress, fastened in the holes with, you guessed it, duct-tape! I don't have any good pictures of that so you will have to use your imagination... The next step was to cover the backside of the whole structure with white plastic that would light up enough. (I used cut up white waste bags... keepin' it classy.)

And the look from the front with all lights going. For the record I used four speedlights behind the wall, widest zoom, 1/8 power. I could probably have gone 1/4 without problem, but I preferred not risking interrupting the shoot to change batteries in case they ran out.

I rounded off the image with two snooted speedlights on each side, slightly behind of him, placed low, aiming up. Pump up the smoke machine to get the magic going, then some postproduction spice on it, and voilà!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


Lighting is a funny thing to me.

Using only small flashes, without model lights, I never know exactly what will happen when I hit the switch. It's a world of uncertainty. You can conjure up a guess, based on past experiences, and with more experience your guess-work improves. But it's always interesting for me to see exactly what will happen with the light, part nervousness, part excitement. Tomorrow I'm going to turn the lights on my most ambitious project so far.

More to come.

Edit: this project is post-poned to whenever I can get all components in the same place at the same time.