Project:52, shadows (week 3)

this will become part of an ongoing series of 'portraits' of this doll. I haven't worked with her in a while, and I've really missed her! this project was also the perfect excuse to use her little teddy, which I haven't had occasion to do before.

Ok, maybe you noticed … I’m a tad bit behind in this whole ‘Project:52’ thing. Only 2 complete projects so far, and it is now the beginning of February! Oops. Funny how time just slips away on you. With 3 new photography classes starting up this past week, my month has been fairly busy with prep work. But hopefully, now that the classes have all gotten underway, life will allow a little more leeway for photo adventures! These weekly projects definitely are a great excuse to stretch the creative muscles.

Our third photo ‘assignment’ was shadows. As soon as we set the project, I knew I wanted to do a shoot with my little doll – in fact I had the final image pretty solidly envisioned in my mind. This is often a lot trickier than going into a shoot with an open mind because it can be rather difficult (and sometimes impossible) to create that perfect image from in your head.  But with some patience and trial and error, I managed to get almost exactly what I was imagining.  My original vision included the shadow of a hand reaching down towards her, but that proved logistically tricky:  attempting to place the hand close enough to the subject or wall so that the shadow is clearly defined as a hand, but far enough away so it’s not in the shot was more of a riddle than I could solve.  Looking through the images, including that extra shadow complicated the image more than I liked, so I’m quite happy with the simplicity of the spotlight.

One of the clear advantages of this weekly project is that already I’m considering light in a new way.  As a primarily natural light photographer, being forced to use light to freeze the action of falling fruit or perfectly frame a tiny doll is a wonderful challenge!

my fancy homemade studio

to get the spotlight effect I wanted, I used a desk lamp shot through a small hole in a piece of construction paper. I set a piece of frosted glass just to the right of the frame to bounce a little light back into the shadows on the subject.

In case you’re slightly curious about this doll, you’ll probably see a fair bit more of her as this project progresses.  She is actually a re-purposed McDonald’s Happy Meal toy that I took apart and remade as a part of an independent study in my final year at NBCCD.  The project (for class) ended with a series of photographs of the doll in various locations around the city.  But I’ve kept her with me ever since, just living in my camera bag, and take her out whenever a location inspires me.  I’m hoping to fine-tune this series and start posting a gallery sometime soon(ish) which will include more details about my process and why I’m mildly obsessed with this tiny little plaything.


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