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Thread: Portrait from the 1930's

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    Southern California, USA
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    Portrait from the 1930's

    This shot of my dad was done in the early to mid 1930's as part of his modeling portfolio.

    I was looking at it to determine the lighting setup of course they did not work with softboxes or umbrellas in that era.

    It looks like two lights were used. The mainlight from high camera right which provides the Rembrant lighting on the right cheek. This lighting is quite harsh and the Rembrant highlight is too defined for my taste. I also do not like the location of this highlight. The specular main light also causes a rather definite shadow on the wall behind which might be in the style of the era. However that shadow doesn't seem to follow the contours of my fathers head and body. It almost looks like it was altered in the darkroom. The fill light causes another shadow behind my father's left. This light is softer and the shadow is less defined. However, both the harsh defined shadow and the double shadow from the fill light bother me. What also bothers me is the chair in the foreground. There doesn't seem to be a reason for the chair to be there and the light falls off quite a bit.

    And of course, the pervasive cigarette was considered sophisticated in those days...

    Portrait from the 1930's
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 4th July 2011 at 01:26 AM.

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Manila, Philippines
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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: Portrait from the 1930's

    Probably so, Richard. For me, the problem is not with the lighting setup. I think the problem was that there was not enough distance between the model and the background. If it were so, the shadows will just fade away nicely and would not be that harsh anymore. The chair inclusion was typical within that era, probably to denote that you are a white collar working man.

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