In the last couple of years there's been a common theme from a number of great photographers. Kevin Kubota has talked numerous times about the importance of personal projects. Matthew Jordan Smith has shared ideas on how special projects help him stay focused on fine-tuning his creative skills. When I first met Jason Groupp it was because of his "I Heart New York" project. Then, just recently, I heard Scott Kelby speak and he talked about the importance of constant practice to help artists fine-tune their skills and raise the bar on their skill set, no matter how accomplished they might be.
While wandering through Profoto's archives, I ran across this relatively short post about Jonathan Menga. I simply love stuff like this - images where a photographer has a vision and then sets out on a course to capture what's in his mind's eye! It's not work specifically for a client, but just like Kevin, Matthew, Jason and Scott have all shared, this is about pushing the boundaries of creativity and just doing something different.
Jonathan's Twitter description pretty much says it all, referring to himself as an "image therapist". Check out more of Jonathan's work with a visit to his site and follow him on Twitter.
One day when Jonathan Menga was out walking in his neighborhood, he fell upon a baseball park he hadn’t really noticed before. Jonathan’s mind started working. Soon, he had an idea. With a clever use of gelled flashes and smoke machines, he would be able to turn the small park into something else.
A few days later, Jonathan returned with a model, an assistant and a make up artist. In his gear bag was two Profoto Acute2 packs, two Acute/D4 Heads, a speedlight, a Softlight Reflector and a bunch of colored gels.
“I wanted these forest photoshoot images to have some sort of mood to them and give off a story,” writes Jonathan on his blog.
Jonathan had some help from the weather conditions. It was a cloudy day and the trees were dark. The mood was further enhanced by the gelled flashes and the smoke machine that Jonathan had brought.
“I wanted to create a scene flooded with smoke to give it a little mystery. It was lit with 3 lights, a YoungNuo speedlight, a Profoto Acute/D4 Head and another one in a silver beauty dish. On camera left, my assistant held the speedlight up high and further within the woods while on the opposite side, I had the Acute/D4 Head on the stand and much closer to the model. This light was specifically placed behind the tree to create a light splash while defining the smoke.
I used multiple coloured tiny smoke bombs that created rapid smoke burst,but didn’t last as long as I had hoped. Therefore, I had to use about 6 of them in different places and combined them in post later on. I used the beauty dish on camera left, slightly feathering the model. Shooting lights through trees created a very mystical mood, and by shutting down a bit of the ambient light, it really gave it a night look.”
Head over to Jonathan’s blog for the full story, including lighting breakdowns for the images below.