Virtual Live Photo Sessions During a Pandemic
Limitation inspires creativity. Months ago, I bought an antique-looking, ornate gold frame from Meredith Frame Shop. Who knows how many paintings or photographs it held over years?
A few years ago, I started experimenting with projections in my work. I don’t think I expected this frame to merge with that line of exploration.
This March, when the coronavirus hit, businesses everywhere had to close.
I had a workshop scheduled in London for April with other work there. Everything got cancelled.
I shut my main studio and set up a small studio in the loft office in my home. I had been working on my documentary project, ‘Social Distancing: Images of a Small Town’”. Then the governor issued an order to stay home, except for essential errands. I felt I should find a way to do even more from home.
Businesses and artists are looking at various teleconferencing technologies as resources. Though I am not bothered by technology, I do not love it all by itself. I love hand-painted drops. I love to study old-school photographic methods like wet plate techniques, daguerrotypes, and pin-hole cameras.
One of the things I love about historical photographs is that they look less “crisp,” less controlled than modern high-resolution digital images. To the contemporary eye, they often look more like paintings than photos.
So here I am in my house, using Zoom to meet with the Plymouth area Women’s Caucus for Art members, and to connect with friends. I decided to put all of this together.
I have been arranging virtual photo sessions with people from around the world. Just like in regular photo sessions, I direct people in terms of lighting, styling, and posing. I also help them as needed with their camera and the software. The important thing is that it be easy and fun. I project them into frames that I have arranged in my home office, arranged like a gallery with other art, and then I photograph them with my camera as I would in my studio.
My hope is that these portraits will serve as beautiful mementos in this strange time.
My friend Milena is one of those friends who happily goes along with whatever crazy idea I have – I am so grateful to have friends like her! She is a brilliant portrait photographer with a studio in Paris called MilenaP Photographe.