Another new week, and another of my new short films for you. This one features one of my favorite collaborators, Anoush. It’s called “Near and Far Sighted.”
The idea for this film came from a wonderful dilemma I often find myself having when photographing someone as lovely as Anoush, especially in my still photography. Even though I may make many images during a session, I’m really only looking for the one best shot. And as I’m shooting, I find myself torn between wider perspectives that capture the lovely shapes and curves she’s creating for me, and something much more intimate and closer, especially when my subject has such captivating eyes that pull you in with their intense gravity.
This film was my thinking-out-loud about that wonderful dilemma.
Anoush is always game to be a part of any interesting idea I come up with. I usually begin by giving her a summary of what I have in mind and we work on it together from there.
“How would you feel about having a lens really close to your eye. Like an inch away.”
She laughed and agreed, and we began the task of filling in the makeup, wardrobe, color tones and overall mood. The only thing I didn’t quite have a handle on yet was whether we wanted her to make eye contact with the camera or not. We ended up shooting the various perspectives several different ways as I moved the camera closer and closer to her, switching out lenses as we went to help to convey the intimacy that was unfolding. That answer would come in the edit.
I was photographing her with a wide-open aperture at between ƒ1.2 and ƒ2.8, and the resulting depth-of-field focus of less than half an inch on the closeups really makes you feel the closeness I want the viewer to feel.
It really brought out Anoush’s unique beauty. I’ve always felt she has a face from another time. Like I wouldn’t be surprised to walk into the Louvre and see a three-hundred year old painting of her hanging on one of the gallery walls. Her eyes continue to haunt me in the most inspiring way every time I have the chance to photograph her. And this time, seeing all of the detail in her beautiful iris. Strands in an ocean. Incredible.
Hers is a beauty that traverses time effortlessly.
It was also the first time shooting with a new 4k digital film camera that I was planning to use on an upcoming client project and this film was a wonderful way to kick the tires and see what it could do. Although I’ve used many cameras over the years in my still and film work, I knew the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K and it’s ability to photograph motion in beautiful raw files was going to be the perfect camera to capture the detail I was hoping for.
And it didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t until I was reviewing the footage on a 5k monitor that I was able to notice the lovely fine facial hairs on Anoush’s face in some of the close-ups. Amazing. And completely gorgeous.
I recalled reading an interview with a photographer who had photographed Marilyn Monroe many times. He revealed that what he believed to be one of the key characteristics of her being so photogenic, was that she had a fairly dense growth of the most fine facial hairs. This natural diffusion was one of the reasons why she was so beautiful to photograph.
Anyway, thanks to Anoush for another wonderful collaboration and for letting me nearly poke her eye out with my camera!