Now that my fine friends at Eclecticpond have had a chance to introduce all of these shots the way they wanted to, I can do a summary post for you all. This series was a lot of fun for me, and I’m pretty happy with the results. The idea came from a Cracked article which linked to some awesome old criminal photos taken by the police department of New South Wales in the 20’s. These were just common criminals, but the mugshots were surprisingly elegant, like a piece for Esquire and not for one’s permanent record.
Mr. Moore Here Sold Fake Opium. No, Really.
So, that was the starting point. I like the slightly angled focus plane, which seemed likely to be the result of an un-evenly adjusted bellows lens, and the choice of framing and the diptych were all elements we wanted to keep. But, this production of Caesar was being set in the ruthless world of a modern Western business, so, we wanted less of the old-timey feel and more of the cold, heartless world of CEOs. For that, I took more influence from David Fincher’s way of portraying the world, with harsh shadows and an unnatural blue tint washed over everything, giving it a very clinical feeling. The results, I think, are stellar.
The set-ups for all of the above were pretty simple. All of them were shot with an 85mm PC Nikkor fully tilted either one way or the other. The head shots were done with a single small softbox close by, and the full body shots were done with a strip box a good 8 or 10 feet from the actor. The directing for them was also pretty simple. Since we wanted ‘mugshot’ as the tone, I just asked them to take a neutral pose, unless they had an angry character, in which case they were to look so. The lighting diagrams are below, and pretty self-explanatory. The cool blue cast was done with some highlight split-toning in LR, but otherwise it was just some simple corrections for tones, crop, and the occasional horizontal distortion correction.
ETC’s run of Julius Caesar opens, appropriately enough, on March 15th here in Indianapolis, and features a gender-inverted cast and updated corporate setting to go along with the original language. You can order up some tickets for one of the shows here: http://jcaesar.bpt.me/