This was for another assignment for the Lazy Photographers class I’m taking. We were instructed to light our subject with an “unlikely” source, such as car headlights, a candle, a computer/tablet/phone screen, etc. The main light source needed to be the unlikely light, as opposed to say a subject holding a candle in broad sunlight, who would be primarily lit by the sun.
Concept: I recently read the short story, “The Machine Stops”, written in 1909 by E.M. Forster. In the story he lays out a dystopian prophecy wherein humans live under the earth’s surface (the surface is no longer inhabitable) in pods barely larger than themselves. They get everything they need through the machine, including sustenance, entertainment, and communication with other people around the world. Remind you of anything?
In this world, the very idea of human to human contact is repulsive. Isolation has been added to the hierarchy of needs. I wanted to explore this theme in my shoot with longtime collaborator, Jim. The windows in the room have been boarded up, keeping the outside out. There’s nothing left for him out there. He is safe inside, though he is very alone. The only thing keeping him from sitting in in the dark is a cell phone, which provides the halo of light as it circles over his head.
Technical Info: I was shooting mid-day so I opted to shoot in a windowless room in the building where my studio resides. I set up my camera on a tripod, and selected a 16-35 f/2.8 lens. I hung my phone, face down, to a chain in the center of the room. I sat my subject in a chair under the phone. I opened up the YouTube video "10 hours of white screen" in order to keep the phone from going to sleep during the 30-second exposure. I gave the phone a spin, stepped out of the frame, and clicked the shutter. The phone screen slowly painted my subject with light, creating the halo shape above his head.