“We’ll never use these. Do you want them?”
That’s the reason I have many things around my studio that are a little odd. Some are wedding gifts that didn’t quite make the cut. And my friends know I’ll probably figure out some interesting way to use them in my photography. And so, I always answer yes to that question.
That’s how my wonderful friend Melissa and I came to make our series of photographs using these rather strange-looking colored wine glasses. They were round and huge. You could pour a half bottle of wine into each of them. And each had a different pattern painted or scored on the glass. They were very nearly beautiful. But not quite.
However, they were large enough to put my lenses into and shoot through. And Melissa and I thought it might look interesting.
I recall reading about a photographer who years ago carried a little glass prism with him that he would hold in front of the lens to distort the light coming into the lens. It may have been Chicago photography legend Victor Skrebneski, although after an hour-long Google search of him this morning to see if I could find the article or example of what I was trying to remember, I came up with nothing. Maybe it wasn’t him. But it was a very pleasant hour rediscovering his wonderful work all the same. I got to briefly meet him once years ago, which was a thrill for me. And I still make a point whenever I drive down LaSalle Street to glance over at his famous Chicago studio, just south of North Avenue where he made so many iconic portraits.
Anyway, with the glass prism idea in my head, Melissa and I spent the day photographing her, sometimes with a sheer piece of fabric, sometimes nude, and all with me holding my camera in one hand, the wine glass in the other, with the lens inside the glass, twisting and turning it until the patterns complimented her posing.
The wine glasses were red, amber and magenta and this image was shot through the magenta one.
I love playing with an unusual idea like that. Thanks Melissa!