One sweltering day in July.
Emanuel Hahn Photography
I'd been meaning to shoot in a studio for the longest time so when my friend Tom asked me if I wanted to shoot at Egg Studios in Bushwick, I jumped at the chance. (BTW - Egg Studios is a fantastic studio, if you're looking for a space to shoot in, look no further!)
To make the best of the space, I decided to turn the shoot into a mini-production. I'd been inspired by simple portraits that strongly feature complementary colors and put together a moodboard to drive production decisions. I was also fortunate enough to have a model (Kristin Ratcliffe), HMU artist (Lexi Doto) and assistant/friend/DJ (Anna Bouma) helping me in making this production a reality.
The first phase of photos were shot with 2 Profotos Acute 2 D4s attached to a battery pack - the key light was shot though a 36-inch Profoto Octabox while the fill light was shot against a white V-flat. I got bored after awhile with the too-even lighting and so killed the fill light Profoto and instead just used the V-flat to provide some fill. In hindsight, this wasn't the best idea because it muddied the shadows too much and it was difficult during the editing process to get the colors and shadows to be exactly what I wanted. Nonetheless, there were some shots in which the new lighting worked.
The final phase of photos were shot of film utilizing light coming in through the windows as the key light and the V-flats as fill light. I used a combination of Ektar 100 and Kodak Portra 400 film on my Canon A-1. While I usually love the cool tones of Ektar 100, I definitely pushed the ISO beyond its limit (I think I was shooting at ISO 400) and that created some dirty greenish shadows, which I could only correct to a certain degree in post. For one of my rolls, there was light leak, which initially concerned me but after I saw that it created a pretty interesting effect of creating a nice color combination of blue yellow and red. Now I'm wondering if I can load up film and shoot in a way to create intentional light leaks... haha we shall see.
During our trip to Charleston, we visited the Magnolia Gardens and Plantation in North Charleston. We took the opportunity to take photos of Jessie's handmade dress. This shoot focuses on the details of the dress as well as its surrounding environment.
POINT DUME, MALIBU
California the golden state, full of sunshine and energy. Escaping from New York's gloominess, I expected to be greeted by a wave of warm vibes but instead faced the tail end of Southern California's strange post-winter chill. Still, gloomy weather is my favorite condition to shoot in due to the muted and diffused tones that the overcast skies create. The tempest of Point Dume was the perfect subject given such conditions. Diffused light tends to effectively dampen highlights and deepen shadows to give an emotional tone to colors. I edited these photos to create a painting-like look with a muted color palette.
SANTA MONICA & VENICE
If you're a New Yorker visiting, don't trust Google Maps when they present locations as seemingly close together. Chan and I made the mistake of thinking we could walk from Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach in a breeze. We ended up turning back within 15 minutes and drove to Mulholland instead. Santa Monica and Venice are excellent locations to observe the diversity in Southern California, uniting tourists, new immigrants, old locals, each adding unique perspectives and activities to a beautiful place.
LA JOLLA, SAN DIEGO
Sitting on the cliffs of La Jolla and watching as the cerulean and turquoise waves beat against the shore, all of one's worries seem to dissipate. I was constantly questioning whether a city-loving person like me could ever get used to such a peaceful and relaxing life. Surely there was something wrong with such blissful living? But I wondered what led me to that thought in the first place? How did I come to believe that the most valid form of living for me was hustling in a crowded and dirty city like New York? Probably some youthful desire to prove something or other. Oh well, California, I'll come for you when I'm older.
PS - These photos are available for purchase as prints. If interested, please email me at email@example.com.