Botero Part 1

Botero is a Columbian artist who’s figures he paints was an idea for the next shoot with Jewelz. His depiction of large figures is a satire towards politics. At 83 he calls himself, “The most Columbian of Columbian artists.” Another quote by Botero, which strengthens my interest in photographing Jewelz and perhaps a lesson to us all is thus, “An artist is attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why. You adopt a position intuitively; only later do you attempt to rationalize or even justify.”

His paintings as part of his satire depicts family life, nightlife, community gatherings, women alone dressed and undressed. He has darker work, paintings of near executions or torcher, but I wont get into that. It’s not along my theme and though it’s always good to explore a darker side the photography, I will not think to emulate these paintings.

One of many anxieties I had about this shoot was time. Someone booked the studio after me for 12:30!!! I don’t do well when I’m feeling rushed. As it happened I didn’t have to worry. Rob texted me to say that person had cancelled and I would have more time. Thank goodness!!!! So take my time I did, especially in setting up. It was my second time using the boom for lighting and the whole ordeal made me so nervous I had to remind myself to breath!

Before this day, I booked the studio twice in two weeks to experiment on the background. I wanted to make sure the idea in my head translated into real life. Photographing myself, I began with one light in the front. But everything looked flat. I added 2 lights (3 in total being the most lights I’ve ever worked with) in between the foreground and background fabrics. The curtains and the floral background needed some sewing work, just to make enough space between the curtains for Jewels to be in without her coming in conflict with the mid-ground.

Further to the basic idea, was to print on multiple layers of glass. Foreground –Jewelz, velvet curtains – mid-ground and the floral material – back ground. I saw this done at the 2015 Toronto Art Show, it being one of the many trends in photography exhibiting. It gave images a theatrical look but 3d feel. Though by the time I get around to actually being satisfied enough to print and frame, the fashion will be quite done. No matter, I’m not one to be up to date with fashion. Don’t tell me what’s trending now, because I don’t like main stream music If I can help it.

Except I didn’t photograph them separately as I intended against a white seamless to create these layers. When it came down to it, it was too late in the evening. Commuting across the entire city from Liberty Village to The Beaches is not a fun prospect at 9pm. Instead, the day of, I went head long. I was very eager to see the results of the hard work I put into my background. Although, there are some missing elements and for some reason I wasn’t able to capture in Jewlez that fun playfulness I experienced in the first shoot with her, I’m very pleased with my first try. I hope this will be one of many in a succession of Boteroesque images.

Looking at the images, I wish I had more fabric, made the background lower, had done this, or that. This particular shoot taught me the value of planning and trying, failing and trying something else. Next time I’ll have a list of more things to try. Bouquets, fruit, paring Jewelz with a man. Maybe even trying another model.

The intent was not to copy Botero exactly. I like that I was able to put my own little spin on his paintings. But if I can translate the same kind of vibrancy, I will be happy.

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