Michelangelo Eat Your Heart Out
Ok, not really. I was asked a couple of weeks ago to shoot a press photo for an upcoming play. The play involves Mormons, and sex, and death and all kinds of things. So we wanted the picture to have religious tones without literally having crucifixes on the wall and such. Someone, I think it was the director suggested a pieta. And that got me thinking about the fact that I've seen 4 different Michelangelo Pietas in my life, which is pretty cool. Granted some of them were unfinished, but cool nonetheless.
I don't normally write about process, but I'm in a good mood today, so here you go.
We made a date and I had the two cast members come over on Tuesday afternoon and we spent about an hour shooting them on light grey seamless. We tried a number of different poses and variations, but I really liked the straight reverse pieta pose (in the real concept, Mary is holding the dead Christ). Let me tell you something though, working with actors can be great, because they're not scared, they listen to direction, and they honestly care about the outcome. Jocelyn and Evan were just great.
So I had the first part of the equation down on paper as it were, but I had an idea to create a composite with some sort of related environment. I wanted to make it more than just a portrait of a couple people on a chair. I wanted to make it into a movie poster.
There are a bunch of places that I could have gone to get the background, but I had a tickle in the back of my mind about the arches down below the Manhattan bridge in DUMBO. I packed my camera and tripod and got on the subway at around 7PM that night. I had to work fast because I didn't have too much light to work with and less every minute, but I came home with a dozen or so ideas. Some walls, some cobblestone streets and the like. I ended up using this arch with sidewalk.
I had to go grab her hair from another image where she had it down, but that's par from the course. Really it's about getting the raw material for my work. Rather than take a bunch of pretty good pictures, I'd rather have one final image that's great. But hey, that's my philosophy. Either way it was good fun.