copyright, Philip-Lorca DiCorcia
These simple, yet highly-narrative, images from DiCorcia’s “Heads” series were secretly taken on the streets of New York City with 1 light (which was attached to scaffolding and unbeknownst to the subjects).
Camera: Nikon F2 with 300mm lens and Kodak Portra 100 ASA film, set on a tripod across the street. Shot at 1/60, f22, ISO 100. The lens was stopped down to create a dark canvas for the characters to pop against.
Lighting: The hidden strobe is a Profoto Magnum reflector with 10 degree honeycomb grid at f22. It’s positioned high and to camera left on temporary scaffolding with a super clamp. DiCorcia waits until a pedestrian walks by the marked spot, then takes their portrait.
Comments: Most of the New Yorkers in this series were such New Yorkers that they didn’t really notice the blinding strobe flashing in their eyes and walked on without any comment. Except Erno Nussenzweig, who sued DiCorcia for $2 million before the case was finally dismissed.