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alex prager photo lighting for bottega veneta on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of alex prager for guess the lighting blog

copyright, Alex Prager.

Alex Prager is hot stuff right now. If you haven’t heard of her (shame on you—less telly), you surely will. Her fine art work is brilliantly cinematic. She’s a sort of modern-day Cindy Sherman and has been exhibited at little museums like the MoMA and Whitney in New York City. When Bottega Veneta asked her to shoot their latest advertising campaign, they were rewarded with truly provocative imagery that doesn’t look like all the other current fashion ads. This particular execution (with a not-so-subtle nod to Hitchcock) was created with 2 HMI lights.

Camera: Contax 645 with 80mm lens and Kodak Portra 160NC film, handheld 12 feet back. Shot at 1/60, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: To mimic and blend with the midday sunlight, Alex has set an Arri 12,000 watt fresnel HMI fifteen feet to camera right, up high and slightly behind the model. A one-stop silk in front helps to soften the light just a touch and create the attractive highlight on his face. An Arri 6,000 watt fresnel HMI with barn doors sits twelve feet to camera left and is positioned in front of the model and lower to help fill the shadows. To achieve this dynamic, upward angle, Alex must have built a stage for the model to stand on.

Comments: Shoot with live birds and you chance the occasional pooping. These pigeons possessed an almost supernatural aim. When the poor model was nicked three times within an hour, Alex told him it was good luck. He had his reservations until he won the local Pick 3 lottery the following day.

alex prager's retro 60s lighting for fine art work on guess the lighting blog

ted sabarese photo lighting diagram of alex prager for guess the lighting blog

copyright, Alex Prager.

Alex is white-hot in the fine art world right now. She’s a self-taught photographer whose influences include William Eggleston, Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch. He work usually involves 1960s-styled women, lots of wigs and fantastic use of color. This 2009 shot entitled Rachel and Friends is both gripping and eerie. It was created with five lights.

Camera: Contax 645 with 55mm lens and Kodak 400vc Portra film, set on a tripod 6 feet back. Shot at 1/60, f4, ISO 400.

Lighting: The key lights on rachel and friends in the front row are Arri 6000 watt fresnel HMIs with barn doors set on a medium roller 8 feet to camera right and right. The left sits high and the right is at about head-level. Another 6k fresnel with barn doors is 10 feet to camera left, just in front of the second row. A third 6k fresnel with barn doors is sitting high, in the rear right of frame, aimed downwards. This forms the hair lights on the women in the back of the image. A smaller, 1.2k Arri fresnel HMI is set just off the ground to camera right. This creates the nice glow on the woman’s face in the third row.

Comments: Rachel produced this image on her own dime so tried to save money wherever possible. Since there was a lot of talent, she didn’t want to buy wigs for everyone. Instead, she cast people who already had the 60s look working for them (one of the more unusual women believed it was still 1969). Only one person in the shot is wearing a wig. Any guesses as to who it is?