Deconstruct TIME cover

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by bob_estremera, Dec 21, 2012.

  1. I really love the 'feel' of this portrait. I'm as intrigued by the fill light as the front and back lighting.
    I'd love to get some ideas on how to approach a shot like this. I'm sure there is more than one way to get there.
    Thanks,
     
  2. I had just commented to a friend about the lighting of this portrait. I really love it.
     
  3. Have to assume that you guys are talking about this image?
     
  4. That's the one.
     
  5. From what I see hard light from his front left. Undiffused strobe probably. The light behind him is more diffuse so softbox maybe, and is warmer so probably gelled. 3rd light from where the photographer is as fill at a low level.
    That's how I'd try recreate it.
     
  6. Nicely done profile shot. Notice how he just got a bit of the back eye/eye lash in the shot and a tad of light in the near eye. Classic. So soft box rear as main. Either a horizontal egg crated strip to control the kicker light from left rear off the shoulder and/or flag or burn to take down the front shoulder. Fill with blue gel low on camera axis. BG dodged in post?
     
  7. This shot does nothing for me. No ring light used, that is burning or dodging of some sort. That is not the shadow of a ring light. In fact there is a lot of post work done to this photo that I could not even begin to tell you what was done. To me it looks like two edge lights with a gridded fill just on his face from the cheek up. Just play with your lights and experiment and come up with your own creations.
     
  8. This shot does nothing for me. No ring light used, that is burning or dodging of some sort. That is not the shadow of a ring light. In fact there is a lot of post work done to this photo that I could not even begin to tell you what was done. To me it looks like two edge lights with a gridded fill just on his face from the cheek up. Just play with your lights and experiment and come up with your own creations.
     
  9. I'm seeing a reflection off the president's face with a ring shape, going concentrically around his temple. It extends from the crown, to the brow, to the cheekbone, and back to the ear. No catchlight, but people's faces make pretty good mirrors. I'm not ready to rule out the ringlight yet.
     
  10. I'm wondering if there might be a large source light behind the camera acting like a large source fill.
     
  11. I'm wondering if there might be a large source light behind the camera acting like a large source fill.​
    Hi Bob, I'm doubtful about that. Notice the shadowed area from the bridge of his nose down to under his eye. Also the shadow on the front of his cheek, it runs from the nostril down and curves around the corner of his mouth. These shadows are neither very soft nor very harsh. Since light couldn't reach those places, I'd guess the light is just left of, and maybe a bit above the lens. I could see it possibly being a pop-up flash with slight diffusion, or maybe a hot-shoe flash with a white plastic cap, tilted to that position. Or anything else producing the same effect.
     
  12. I don't think it's a large light source, but I don't think it's a point source either. Consider who the photographer is. The ringlight is part of his signature look.
     
  13. I keep googling variations of; Nadav Kander President Obama Time Magazine Cover photo technical information, but so far no luck.
     
  14. Does nothing for me either. The fill light doesn't work well, except to make his skin look pretty muddy. The expression is just not there. This doesn't capture the man I've come to know as president the last four years. It gives me no personality, no expressiveness. It's all photo, all technique, all about lighting and obvious lighting at that. It's more of an exercise than a portrait.
     
  15. The best trick in this photograph is that he was given the chance to make it, and didn't screw it up. Three lights, lots of flags, and plenty of post... plus having the people skills to line up the President of the United States for those catch lights, and getting it done right quick. As Lance Armstrong says, "It's not about the bike".

    And I don't get all the harsh about the aesthetics. The question was regarding objective issues. And editorial contemporary portraiture is all about the photographer, these days. Which I find sad, but that doesn't matter a bit in Nadav's world.


    Even though no one asked, I think he rocked this one, and I'm no fanboy. The singular cold darkness is perfect... it's been one helluva ride for Obama, and more to come. No warm and fuzzy for him. All Boehner and Cantor.

    And the dissing about excessive technique? Comes from some pretty heavy directors (pages 18 and 25, in particular)... t
     
  16. <<<The question was regarding objective issues.>>>
    Tom, I didn't think so. The OP's opening statement was "I really love the 'feel' of this portrait," seeming to emphasize 'feel' which I took to go beyond objective issues.
    Are you referring to Pages 18 and 25 of the magazine? Did some critics diss the photographer there? I don't have the benefit of the magazine in front of me. Just curious. To be clear, though, when I said "It's all photo, all technique . . ." I wasn't suggesting there was excessive technique. What I meant was that all I focus on is technique because, for me, it's lacking expression and aesthetics, so it comes across more as an exercise to me than actually exuding a feeling of coldness.
     
  17. Now that we've had some pretty good feedback and I look at the photo again, what attracts me is the treatment of the face in profile. And even though I agree that it's as much about the photographer as the subject these days, I think this treatment really does capture the effect of the weight and war of modern politics on what was a much younger man 4 years ago. And I also feel that there is something beyond the pose. I see something happening in the eyes and expression.
     
  18. >>> I think this treatment really does capture the effect of the weight and war of modern politics on
    what was a much younger man 4 years ago.

    For sure...


    The portrait is both powerful and brilliant. For me, great portraiture, especially of well-known people, is
    about going beneath the surface and revealing aspects not captured by typical media portrayals or
    photographs with familiar/expected/safe posing. The Obama portrait is expressive and exemplifies
    going deep, conveying the culmination of his four years, stress of the office, contempt of the process,
    and his maturing as a leader gaining strength and determination along the way. Obviously I've read a lot
    into that portrait, but there is a lot to study and contemplate. I can only imagine the experience viewing
    the image as a reasonable sized print displayed on a wall.
     
  19. To me, it's merely superficially severe, more photo than man. Not unlike so many other "serious" and forcibly "dark" portraits of great men I've seen in recent years.
     
  20. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I think he rocked this one,
    I agree.
     
  21. Well guys, I just wrote to Nadav. Let's see if he'll oblige and respond with his workflow ;-)
     
  22. Thanks Mark. This will be interesting to see if there's a reply. Kinda doubt it but let's be positive.
     
  23. I am left fairly unimpressed by Nadav's photo. As a political portrait it is politely complimentary; Obama is pictured looking down, thoughtful, reflective with slightly moody lighting, the focus on the surface of his skin is personal and I suppose meant to emphasise his humanity? Overall I feel it to be over stylised to the point where he appears unreal, almost like a bronze. It surprised me because I only know Kander's work through his photographs of the Yangtze and this seems very different.
     
  24. Watch it, Andrew. If you don't like the same pics Tom likes, he'll tell you to take a closer look at your own work because that's the mature way to react to someone who has a different aesthetic take on a photo: tell them to be more critical of their own work.
    Tom, trying to make someone else's critiques be about their own work is truly one of the most classless things I see somewhat regularly being done on PN. Check how often one of the Photo of the Week photographers has a hissyfit if they get negative critiques and goes off on the work of those daring to be critical. I don't know you much at all and wasn't referring to you as Jeff surmised I was, but still never would have imagined your stooping to such a level.
    However, I do have this great image of Brad in a tight red tee-shirt with pom poms cheerleading right behind you. I'd actually like to photograph it if you two would consider modeling for me sometime. Then, if you want, you can go to my portfolio or whoever here you think needs to be more self-critical and critique their work like a guy who has a set instead of backhanding the work of those in this thread who disagree with your assessment of a photo of Obama.
     
  25. Oh, and I forgot to punctuate that with . . . sigh.
     
  26. Enjoy your little fiefdom, Fred.
     
  27. Ok, here it is, from the proverbial horse's mouth :)
    We set up a studio area within the white house and used a combination of Kino Divalites and Broncolor flash with a strip shaped softbox to create the lighting for the cover image. We shot the work with an Phaseone IQ180 back on a H4X body.
    The inside image (green background) was all Broncolor flash using different gels to make the colour against a grey background. Again we used a strip softbox and also some P70 reflector dishes.​
     
  28. Mark, you da man! Those Kino's look very cool, so to speak.
     
  29. Mark, thanks for the follow-up.
     
  30. It was my pleasure :) I always believe in hearing it from the source, whenever possible...
    About the image: I think it is a powerful image. It likely had been been stage-managed to the nth degree, but I think it works, on a number of levels:
    It shows a man who has taken a beating and is gearing up for Round 2. Here is a man who is a lot grayer now than he was when he took his oath those years ago. That first term took its toll and it shows... but I also see a man focused on the next 4 years with a quiet determination and resolve. A hint of anger at things that have happened or not happened under his watch. I think that's what they were aiming at, and I think that's what they achieved...
    Whatever post-processing may have been done just served to enhance this storyline IMO.
    (Caveat, I am not very familiar with Kander's work, but I will say this: Whereas it is important that one develops their own style, I am all for changing things up a bit, once in a while. A departure from the norm is not a bad thing, methinks. I think it adds some flavour)
     
  31. >>> It shows a man who has taken a beating and is gearing up for Round 2. ... but I also see a man focused on the
    next 4 years with a quiet determination and resolve.

    Absolutely. Also, I really like use of the profile view, which is rare for a Times Person of the Year Photo. To me that's
    symbolic of "the other view" the public doesn't see, behind closed doors head to head with the opposition. It's much
    more interesting than many of the safe, expected, and traditional photos of him out there - ie portraying a friendly and
    charismatic president with a million dollar smile.

    Seeing the cover I can visualize him staring down (and slightly looking down at) John Boehner in negotiations just
    outside the cover with the steely resolve he has demonstrated over the last few months. The silver border, also rare for
    Times, works with that steeliness nicely.

    Overall it's a brilliant portrait that speaks to the times.
     
  32. >>> However, I do have this great image of Brad in a tight red tee-shirt with pom poms cheerleading right
    behind you. I'd actually like to photograph it if you two would consider modeling for me sometime.

    Just when you think he couldn't sink any lower, Fred reveals this very bizarre fantasy he's having about me, stirring
    in his head.

    Another day, another thread and forum infected by Fred's juvenile and selfish antics.
     

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