The second assignment for the PopPhoto 2007 Shootout was a portrait. I’d guessed, almost assumed, that portraiture would be part of the contest so I was ready except that my model was in Florida. But wait, there was more! Rock, scissors, paper? The assignment required rock, scissors and paper to be included as elements of the portrait.
I had expected one of the assignments to be a bit odd but photographing my name (the first assignment) should have covered it. Although tempted, I decided to avoid the obvious “rock, paper, scissors” game and simply include those objects in the portrait.
The need for “scissors” created the concept for the first portrait. My Swiss Army Knife has scissors and enjoys being photographed. Paper? How about having the knife read the newspaper I had just finished? Rocks? Put the rocks in the background. Model? Most likely, my knife would not qualify for both scissors and model. I needed someone who was readily available, would sign a model release, work for free and be patient with me. Since my Canon G3 has a flip around screen and remote, I selected, well, myself.
The rock, paper, scissors self-portrait was much more difficult than I thought. For one thing, even in the morning, a mid-July day in south Mississippi is hot. Even worse, the LCD display was just barely readable in the brightness. Then, the remote didn’t seem to work very well so the self timer had to be used instead. This meant constantly moving between camera and setting. Fortunately, the auto-bracketing feature allowed three shots per move but that was only a small consolation. This was the best shot but most people don’t “get it”. Anyway, I think it is hilarious – the silly little knife can’t even read!
With a light-hearted photo on the memory card, the next photo was to be a bit more serious. For this scene, I set up three small wireless flashes. The main light was at about 45 degrees to the desk; the second light was at my back; the third light was snooted and aimed at the rock, paper and scissors. All in all, a realistic location portrait even if it is not a particularly exciting one. Besides, my mother likes it.
With two images selected, processed and uploaded to PopPhoto, I put the batteries in the chargers and myself to bed a bit early for an extended recharge.