March 2016


Bending the rules a little here, but I won’t tell if you won’t. While there is food in this photo, it is technically a product shot. But I thought it shines a little light on our capabilities and thought process around here.

We occasionally shoot on location for things like this, but there are times when time or budget dictate we pull something together in the studio, yet achieve the look and feel of a different environment. Fortunately, we have lots of things here to work with, and I find it a fun challenge to make something like this happen. I often don’t think of the process as being that unusual or special, and, in fact, it may not be. But, when the AD snapped the photo below of the set to send back to the office to demonstrate that the final photo, despite looking as if shot in a restaurant’s back kitchen, was actually done on a set, I realized that this may actually be interesting to others.

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It brought to mind, too, one aspect of studio photography I have always found fascinating, and that is the lights and grip equipment, stands and articulated arms, flags and gobos that lie just outside of the frame. In fact, I find it difficult to look at a photo without imagining all of that. One of my favorite recent examples is the personal photography project of Adrian Sonderegger and Jojakim Cortis, wherein they recreate notable historic photos in the studio- check it out here.

My final photo:

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Final image of product on studio set. Photo © Jeff Saxman. No reproduction authorized without prior written consent.

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I had every intention of working on my food study today, with a St. Patty’s Day theme, but I just wasn’t feeling green. A nice salmon filet in the seafood department caught my eye, and I decided to go with a simply styled, brightly lit and clean photo of that. Besides, I imagined it might make for a nice lunch. I imagined correctly.

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Grilled salmon photographed in studio with roasted potatoes and fresh green beans. All images © Jeff S. Saxman. No reproduction authorized without prior written consent.

Wanted to get back on the food cart in this week’s blog post. I thought to myself, “What kind of food should I have just hanging around the studio? Why, truffles, naturally!” So, a stop at For the Love of Chocolate was necessitated.

I had imagined a stack of chocolates against a dark background with a soft directional side light, and I did work toward that, but took a more traditional approach to begin. Seeing the truffles in the box made me think of them as backgammon pieces, and so, I went that way, too.

While I don’t think anything “special” happened here, it was fun to work with and, while doing a bit of retouch, I enjoyed thinking of the close up surfaces of the candies as large planets. Plus, now there are truffles in the studio.

Stacked truffles from Carytown's For the Love of Chocolate

Truffles from Carytown’s For the Love of Chocolate. Images ©Jeff Saxman. No reproduction authorized without prior written consent.

Stacked truffles from Carytown's For the Love of Chocolate

Stacked truffles from Carytown’s For the Love of Chocolate. All images © Jeff Saxman. No reproduction authorized without prior written consent.

Truffles from Carytown's For the Love of Chocolate

All images © Jeff Saxman. No reproduction authorized without prior written consent.

Yesterday saw the appearance of something we’ve not seen much of lately. Helios piloted his chariot over Richmond all day long, unchecked by Zeus. The resultant shadows and geometric forms, filled sporadically with stray beams redirected by window glass, was too much to resist. I grabbed my 5DmkII with 70-200mm and, despite it being not quite as warm as I’d like, took the short walk from the studio to the downtown business district at the lunch hour.

I have been interested in a particular angle/look to street photography lately, and have investigated it using my iPhone and Instagram account. This was the first time I specifically set out with the big gun to hunt these urban abstractions and slices in time, these decisive moments, if you will. I was not disappointed.

Shadowplay; Richmond Street Photography

Shadowplay; Richmond Street Photography. All photos ©Jeff Saxman. No reproduction authorized without prior written consent.

In shooting, I aimed to preserve as best I could the anonymity of the subjects, while including the human element. The universality and graphic nature of the unknown human form is something that interests me, and so, unsuspecting passersby were cut off at the waist, or the knees; or they were pounced upon from overhead; or were, in my ultimate act of cowardice, shot squarely in the back. Either way, their forms were broken down into shapes unusual and unique, and plastered against the sun-splashed street or sidewalk upon which they tread.

Shadowplay; Richmond Street Photography

Shadowplay; Richmond Street Photography. All photos ©Jeff Saxman. No reproduction authorized without prior written consent.

Employing the long focal length lens yielded a most pleasant result, particularly with the images created from more or less directly overhead. I found that the angle and flattening quality of shooting at or near 200mm served to compress dramatically that in the photo which is 3 dimensions, the human form.  At the same time, the angle elongated and almost gave a third dimension to that which in reality occupies only 2 dimensions: the figures’ shadows.

Shadowplay; Richmond Street Photography

Shadowplay; Richmond Street Photography. All photos ©Jeff Saxman. No reproduction authorized without prior written consent.

Please enjoy, comment if you’d like, and follow me on Instagram. As always, more work can be seen at the studio’s website.

Shadowplay; Richmond Street Photography

Shadowplay; Richmond Street Photography. All photos ©Jeff Saxman. No reproduction authorized without prior written consent.