Hello again! This weekend was great for a lot of reasons. I got to road trip across the state to my hometown (showing off my girlfriend at each stop), I got to catch up with my mentor at Realife Photograpy, I got to do a TON of fun, artistic, shooting, and most of all, got to spend some time with my honest-to-goodness superhero – Josh Darby.
I’m willing to bet that everyone reading this knows all about Josh already. As a refresher though, he’s the Artistic Director and one of the lead teachers for The Academy of Children’s Theatre in Richland, Washington. ACT is tireless in making awesome programs for the kids of that region. They’re also the main way many kids (myself included) are introduced the arts in a region that is art deprived. They’re a HUGE service to the community, and I’ll stop now instead of raving on and on about all the good they do. Josh has been there for more than a decade, and in that time he’s had a huge impact. I’m sad that I don’t get to see much of him anymore, but I know that he’s where he’s doing the most good right now.
Last summer I started a photo series where I asked friends to say what super power suited them best, and then I tried to photograph them demonstrating that power in a way that told a story. It’s been a great way to challenge myself artistically and to celebrate what’s special about my friends. I wanted to do something like this for Josh. The others have been a little darker and grittier, but based on Josh’s personality and his work with children, it was more appropriate to do something fun and colorful and all about imagination. So we safety pinned a red cape on him and went to Richland’s Howard Amon Park to play.
The idea was to shoot him roaming around in character, with the final goal of shooting him flying. To make the shots more active, both Wren and Josh’s fiancé Ann helped by shaking his cape out behind him and reflecting additional light onto his face. For our main shot, Josh flying, he actually laid down on top of a sculpture and stretched out his arms and legs into a Superman position while I shot him from below. To fill in the light on his face, chest, and hands, he’s lying over the top of my reflector, which is bouncing the bright sunlight back up at him.
To take this photo all the way to the final image, I simply masked out most of the scenery behind Josh, and replaced it with a sunny cloudscape. Then I added more cape from a few of the other shots in the series for a fuller look, and added motion blurs here and there to give him some movement. It’s totally okay to me that the result isn’t completely photo-realistic. A guy flying around wouldn’t look like this, and his baseball hat would have fallen off long ago… but I want this to look like it’s in Josh’s imagination. So it’s brightly colored and full of fun.
Since Josh and Ann were both there, and have been living far apart for a long time, we took an extra couple minutes to take a few photos of them by the water. Wren was on reflector and I stood above them on a slope, so that I could even out their heights a little bit - Josh is kind of a giant.
We actually shot another superhuman this weekend...
Next post will be about Memorial Day, when got creative to shoot someone actually web-slinging through downtown Seattle.