A project I do every year is to photograph the exhibition put on by the MA scenography course at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Unlike photographing actual performances I am photographing designs and models that come from the expressive minds of these students. They are concepts and ideas often in model form. This year was no exception with the majority of them being model boxes of imaginary shows.
These can be very challenging to photograph not least because they are displayed under very low light to create a certain ambience. Virtually all of it is done using a tripod with various lenses such as a 24mm tilt/shift, 105 macro and super fast f1.4 50 and 35 mm optics. The three images below show the challenge quite well.
The first one is of a person looking through the pinhole into the chamber. This was taken with the Sigma 50mm f1.4 at a 1/60 at 12800 iso using a Nikon D4. That’s how dark it was!
The second one is what she is seeing through the pinhole. This was taken with a tripod mounted 105 macro Nikkor on a Nikon D800. The exposure for this was 1/13th at f3.5 at 1600 iso. I had to take the lens hood off to get as close to the pinhole as possible. Depth of field at these distances feels like the width of a human hair.
The third one is a side view showing the viewer and the entirety of what can be seen inside the box. This dual view isn’t available to visitors to the exhibition; they have to look through the pinhole only. This was taken with the same settings as the first image.
I love doing this job because I enjoy the challenge and its good fun having all the young designers begging me to photograph it this way or that way. They are actually just about the most demanding clients I meet all year! It does make a change from photographing real live human performers!