10/22/09 Photo of the day – Oxygène

McComber photo Oxygene Exhibition photograph
McComber photo Oxygene Exhibition photograph

Come and see this photograph in large format (40″ X 60″) on November 26th, 27th and 28th 2009 at the Oxygène photo exhibition at la galerie Gora on Sherbrooke street. I’ll be there so you can get back in touch (or meet me) at the exhibit. This will be my graduation show, all 24 of us will have a large print and a portfolio on display. The style and contents (all about Oxygen) vary wildly and you’ll appreciate how talented my group is.

The lovely, beautiful and talented Ina Lopez (check out Ina’s photos) agreed to model in the pool for this. I wanted to show a rebirth, with an unusually clean, blue and fresh feeling, and yet have the waters dark and filled with the stains of remorse and anger. The shoot went very well, with Ina bravely jumping up and down, emerging with her eyes open and an expression of pure, happy liberation. Not an easy task, and she did it like a pro.

On my end, since I was using a couple of flashes, my biggest worry was top stop movement at 1/160 seconds so I could get a sharp shot. That meant clicking at the exact moment when her rise stops and she starts going down. Everything came together on this shot, even the water, dressing her up in blue swirls which drape the bottom of her torso and yet leave her face wonderfully clear of water.

When I attacked post production, I tried to make a straight horizon (boring), and then a perfect round curve one (too two-dimensional) and then settled for a slightly tilted curvy one, which adds a subtle claustrophobic feel to the shot as she seems to be emerging in a small dome. This added a twisted, odd mood that greatly appeals to me, so I went A-ha! and amplified that feeling by adding a zoom effect to the sky and then warping it.  I then went on putting the iceberg in and drawing foam and glitter all along the water’s edge. There was a great deal of light and shadow contouring done on her face and body and as a finishing  touch, I blended angry faces in the water (they are very subtle, almost subliminal) .

I presented this shot to my teachers and fellow photographers on Tuesday and fixed a few points that were brought up during the criticism panel, such as aligning the point de fuite in the sky with the top of the water curve, adjusting colors here and there and softening the faces in the water. I always love how fresh eyes will see things that my focussed, concentrated, detail-oriented mind has missed.

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