Last summer I began a passion project in collaboration with choreographer, dancer, and Fulbright Scholar Carly Lave with the goal of exploring how the human body moves and how we humans will be transformed by increasing immersion into advanced technologies, including virtual reality, robotics, and interconnectivity. I was delighted when one of my images from this project was recognized by my being named one of three Emerging Pros in Digital Photo Pro Magazine’s biannual awards. The image was the overall winner in this international competition’s “Fashion & Beauty” category.
In an earlier post I shared a few favorite images from the California-based photo shoots that Carly and I conducted last summer. In today’s post I’ll share a few new images from our recent photo shoots conducted in Berlin, Germany, where Carly is spending the year as a Fulbright Scholar.
“Der Temporaum in Berlin: Flug”. Carly takes flight while exploring a virtual world. The very real world she inhabits here is a shared workspace for artists in a Soviet-era neighborhood of the former East Berlin. To capture the fast action of Carly’s leap, I used a fast prime lens nearly wide open so as to achieve a fast shutter speed while shooting at a relatively low ISO.
“Der Temporaum in Berlin: Tanzen”. Carly dances within a shared workspace for artists in a Soviet-era neighborhood of the former East Berlin. To create the soft, intimate feel of this portrait, I used a prime portrait lens (85mm) at a wide aperture (f/2.0) to allow the lovely light streaming through the window to illuminate Carly and to throw the background into soft focus. Composition is very important to the success of intimate portraits, so I was careful to frame Carly’s body within the lines of the window casement and using the soft white curtains to provide a pleasing and non-distracting background.
“Tempelhofer Feld I”. The virtual and physical worlds collide on a defunct runway at the pre-WWII airport of Tempelhofer, now a recreational space in the south of Berlin. Working on location in outdoor settings can be tricky and success may be dependent on weather conditions and other factors. Carly and I conducted this shoot during a gathering storm, making for a dramatic sky that complemented our theme and the industrial setting very nicely. The accompanying challenges we experienced were very high winds, shifting light, and very little time to shoot before the sky opened up in a barrage of pelting rain and hail. Fortunately we were able to “get our shot” before getting soaked to the bone. I framed this image to give prominence not only to Carly but also to the old airfield’s runway and to the stormy sky.
“Der Temporaum in Berlin: Schwarz und Weiß”. While I liked the way this image looked in color, my visual concept of the scene called for high-contrast black-and-white to give it an antique graphic-arts feel that seemed to suit the historically drab East Berlin setting. During post-processing I converted the image to monochrome and increased the contrast, adjusting the tone and color curves until I achieved just the effect I was seeking.
“Der Temporaum in Berlin: Virtuell”. Carly explores a virtual world. The very real world she inhabits here is a shared workspace for artists in a Soviet-era neighborhood of the former East Berlin. Using a fast prime lens at a very wide aperture setting, I intentionally limited the depth-of-field to such an extreme that Carly’s hands as well as the background were thrown into soft focus. I like the effect this has on leading the viewer’s eye from the outstretched arms to Carly’s head and upper body, then around to the bleak industrial background. The view thereby experiences some of the sense of exploration in the space where Carly is feeling her way.
“Tempelhofer Feld II”. This image was made in a similar fashion to the previous one at the same location, except that here I gained a different perspective by backing further away from Carly as well as crouching down to the ground. The resulting effect is one of precariousness rather than one of steadfastness in the earlier image.
I hope this behind-the-scenes peek at my ongoing passion project will help inspire your own creative process. It’s important to be personally and deeply invested in a project before you begin. Select your partner(s) carefully and plan thoroughly. Then the process becomes joyful and exhilarating as you begin to bring your concept to life!
Have you carried out a photography project? Please share your key learnings–positive and otherwise–here!
Want to read more posts about what to photography while traveling or near home? Find them all here: Posts about What to Shoot.