After bustling my way through the crowd to find my previous stranger David, I went back into the same tiny laneway in hope of finding another. Luckily I didn’t have to wait too long as James emerged and officially became #34 in the series.
One of the difficulties I’ve found in shooting within such a busy space in this series thus far is in finding a composition where I can knock-out any of the crowd that may be walking in the background. I really like to try and isolate my subjects in the frame but sometimes you have to deal with what you’ve got to work with. In this instance it wasnt the composition I was worried about but more so the lighting.
As I was within a narrow laneway, wedged between two tall buildings, all the available light was coming from directly above. Normally this would have been reasonably easy to manage, however James had quite a dark skin complexion and balancing the natural light within an already dark laneway was going to be difficult.
As I didn’t have any flash to help me with this shot my first idea was to find a background which had some colour that would seperate James from the background and also provide some interesting bokeh. The first shot was done against a heavily graffitied wall and whilst I was happy with the background and interest that it created I was still feeling the image was a tad dark overall. A reflector would have been a great addition in this instance to reflect some light back up onto his face, but alas I had the one natural lightsource today and it was coming from directly above.
Now whilst I could have settled with this shot and hoped it wouldnt look too dark when I see it on screen later I decided to try another shot with a different tactic. Around the corner at the very end of the laneway was a glass-fronted building with an entrance that was brightly lit. I decided to shoot James against this backdrop and really provide some strong contrast between the foreground and background. I also hoped that the natural lighting coming from directly above would be enough to light his face.
In my mind I was always thinking black & white as the end result for this shot and I was much happier with how James was now the focal point of the portrait. I shot a few up close and also one in a portrait format (which I also really liked) before finishing up with a chat to James to find out more about himself.
James is originally from Perth in Western Australia and had just moved to Melbourne recently for work. James works in social media by day (a social media guru according to his twitter page) and was in the CBD searching for possible apartments to move into on this particular weekend. With his great style I’m sure he’ll find Melbourne a wonderful place to live.
Thanks for being apart of the project James!