For a while now, I have been studying at length the lighting treatment the old masters applied to their paintings to apply in my fine art portrait photography. As my studies give me access to more and more knowledge, I am finding myself very pensive of what it must have been like painting stories of the times while using nature’s guidance. I am starting to see light as emotional carriers like never before. And in my nature of loving stories, I started making a mental parallel between our current times and my photography.
I met Clara during one of the studio opens at Fountainhead Studios. Upon setting eyes on her, I immediately had a flash in my mind of a story set in the European 1940’s about a young village girl who’s lover had gone to war and what unfolds when loneliness from his absence settles.
I am not sure why I think of things like this since I have no clue what those times were like, but that is all that could come to mind. I thought she had this look that reminded me of old gritty and romantic Spanish movies which usually I find perfect to capture via fine art portrait photography. So, the key method with which I wanted to convey this array of emotions was more so through the light than her actual expression. Since my recent study of Caravaggio’s style of treating light, I had been refining where the darkness fell and where the light pierced through a scene.
You can imagine what it must have sounded like to her when I told her on set that this is what we are shooting. “Imagine your lover has gone to war and you have no clue of his whereabout and the news you are hearing from the war aren’t really inspiring confidence. You must now go through life carrying on between staying faithful to the idea you will see him again or you may need to move on”. I mean we laughed because this is not a movie set after all.
Strangely enough, this brought me to 2021, where we are certainly not at war per se, but the divisive climate that peaked in 2020 brought to light many socio-fissures around the world; particularly in America. I thought of how many loved ones are “left” behind while we go to battle (again not literally). All I see around me for the most part are corpses, surviving through digital lies, lack of character and weak backbones. — Broken souls swimming through the waves of life laying a carpet of dried blood for the next generation, while leaving behind those who love them.