Saturday, 11 October 2014

Studio Lighting - Recreating Corinne Days 'Daylight' as seen in "Under exposed" Vogue 1993

Corinne Day - Under exposed; Vogue 1993       

If you have an interest in fashion you'll know that every now and then certain themes are re-hashed with a modern twist - and the theme is frequently based around a period... 1960's, 1970's etc. Obviously the older you are the more you cringe when you see the efforts made by the stylist and the photographer to reference aspects of the period they're working with.

We have a number of assignments where we get the students to explore this approach to making fashion images and one of the points of reference we use is the 1990's and we use Corinne Day as the key point of reference, arguing that 1990's fashion photography was largely driven by the work of Day (Diary and Under-Exposed).

The students are challenged with producing their own fashion shoots styling it and shooting it in a way that makes it look Corinne Day - esque. As a part of the process we look at the fact that day uses available light and in particular we look at the work from 'Under-exposed' (Vogue 1993). The full set is featured here

Through research we've found a reference to the lighting in this link here, where the light is mentioned by the picture editor of Vogue at the time...

Having said that, some of the lighting in these images is amazingly crisp and even. Given the way light is affected by Inverse Square Law, I would add some scepticism about the fact that this is daylight alone.

That aside, the demonstration that I do in the studio looks to replicate the 'Daylight affect' as seen in the most famous and well known of all the images here - using studio lighting.
Examining the image, we can see that the impression is that, if it is daylight and this does seem to be potentially reinforced by the fact that there's no catch-light reflected in her eyes, the light is coming from a large diffuse source on the left as we look at the image. If it's in a flat this would be a large window either north facing or on a day when the sunlight is diffused by cloud? Having said that the image isn't at all cold in its colour temperature and Day may have filtered the light?

Looking at this now more closely the diagram below will probably be more even than the light in the image. If you look at the image the light falls off below her waist, which possibly is a result of the window light not being floor to ceiling and there being a wall section below the window?

Within the work the students have to identify the appropriateness of their materials. The Corinne Day images were shot for inclusion in Vogue and done in a way that reflects her own personal work 'Diary', so they were shot we're led to believe using low tech methods 35mm SLR. For such a shoot 100 iso film would probably have been used, so working with that basic premise, we shot this using DSLR's during the early stage with the ISO set at 100 iso, raw files, at F11 - 1/125. White balance on flash mode. The ensuing images look a little cold - but some work in Photoshop could soon resolve that issue. That set up would be appropriate for magazine editorial work such as the 'Under exposure' images.

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