the figure I chose from The Painters’ Studio was the man on the far right reading a book. he intrigued me because he appeared quite to himself, and in his own little world, unlike the majority of the other figures seen on the right. when researching the piece itself I learned about many of the connections which were made between Courbet’s piece and both Giotto and Michael Angelo’s Last Judgement pieces.
Although I am not a religious person I did have a catholic upbringing and found myself drawn to that connection. In relation to my character, in the last judgement, the figure on the bottom right of the canvas is Satan, and I wanted to solidify that connection in my photograph. although a cliche I was immediately drawn to the traditional red devil and horns since I knew the photo would be black and white and I wanted this connection to stand out. Another subtle connection I added to the photo was I held a bible as the book I read. I was hoping to be able to light the book a little better to be able to see that the cover said “The Holy Bible” but I only had one working light source, and I was okay with that subtle detail getting missed. The connection between the poet and satan was something i was happy keeping restricted to my individual photo as I did not want it to seem like an out of place connection in the final group piece.
The man I am portraying was Courbet’s good friend Charles Baudelaire, who is famous for writing The Flowers of Evil. In hindsight I wish I incorporated that into my photograph more because of the meaning; there is evil even in beauty. I think even a subtle nod with some dried roses (which I did have access to) in the background could have been a great connection.
I faced many challenges while shooting this photo, mainly because i was doing it on my own in my own make shift studio. I thought i had more than one light source but i could only find one strobe light which restricted how i light the frame. I ended up needing to do 2 reshoots because of other technical errors and ended up choosing the best out of what i had in order to have it printed in time (even though it is slightly out of focus). In the future i need to give myself more than enough time to get a good quality picture because i severely underestimated the time i would need to shoot. Colin also gave me a great pointer with manual focus which i will definitely carry with me as i tend to manually focus my lense more than rely on automatic.