I’ve been working on various lighting techniques within portraiture, particularly outdoors and using multiple light sources. With other experiments I’ve completed thus far using CG and photography, the portraits have been done within a studio lighting context. However, my past experience (and thus, comfort zone) comes in the form of natural light and very interaction based scenarios, where the photos are about the story of the people in the place, not so much the technique and perfection. So it’s been interesting working and shooting within other environments, and how I’ve found various places to have quite distinctly different atmospheres when shooting.

Anyway, I did an interview a few weeks ago with (primarily) advertising photographer John Offenbach, in which I asked him about his experience in using CGI with photography, among other things. In particular, I thought his response to the following question was quite interesting –

How do you think new digital manipulation techniques are changing photography?
‘It’s a big change in approach. I think that on set/location there was more experimentation more discovery before, because you were never really sure what you had. Now there is a tendency to ‘gather the pieces’.

Working recently with the creation of CG environments and then combining them with studio style portraits, this is definitely something I can relate to! There is absolutely something to be said about that spur of the moment interaction with on location shoots. With CG, it seems that there is a need to pre-plan every detail – to, yes, ‘gather the pieces’ – which can very easily result in a disingenuous shooting atmosphere.

It’s interesting, I was thinking about it earlier today, how some people say that photography is like a modern version of painting. That a lot of the rules and ideas behind photography (aesthetically) are very much based on painting.

To me, painting captures the essence of something, while photography captures the instant of something.

But with using CG – when it’s done well – I’ve found there’s this strange dynamic where you can capture both the essence and the instant, which is fascinating.

The tricky part is creating the instant – that spur of the moment natural feeling. It’s weird, like you suddenly need to fabricate the essence in real life in order to capture the instant. Otherwise, the interaction between the real and digital becomes somehow unbelievable.

Just some late night contemplations!

Ariel Body

A desert dwelling photographer, designer, adventurer, & climber of mountains.

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