Luxury is a slight understatement. I was really stoked to shoot the interior of Holt Renfrew’s new flagship store in Calgary. This masterpiece designed by Janson Goldstein is said to have a $45 Million dollar price tag, definitely not an ‘every day’ interior shoot.
A shoot of this scale is a whole different ball game compared to the residential interiors that I blogged about last. In the last interior I could change the whole lighting in a room by adding a single skrim to bounce or block light. (A skrim is a large piece of white/black fabric suspended by a frame. Mine are 5×7 feet, made of PVC and nylon). Lighting is less controllable in a room ten times the size; you can only minor adjustments without considerable volumes of equipment. Composition also requires a whole new bag of tricks, even a fisheye with a 180 degree view angle won’t capture the amount the human eye is seeing when you step back from the eyepiece. Working with extremely wide angles will start to develop very unnatural looking perspective when looking up or down, photoshop will help correct for these oddities, but pixels can only be stretched so far.
When shooting with a model, or subject the location is a setting or story for the subject’s actions or existence to take place. However when shooting an interior the location is the story and the subject.
So what is a photographer to do? The location is lit, the building is built, the subject is already styled. Simply walk in with an expensive camera hanging around your neck? Go back to the basics; you’ve got a camera and you have control over it’s function and composition.
I drop all my equipment; skrims, tripod, even camera and walk. I close one eye; making myself avoid the way depth will change the way I perceive the room. My viewer is going to see this room on one plane, looking at it with two eyes will present it much differently. I walk back and forth pacing to see how I can rearrange solid objects without touching them, cleaning the visual chaos into simple shapes and presentable objects. Explore space using depth with perspective, repeating objects and familiar objects. Balance and offset objects of different sizes and significance to keep the eye moving and entertained.
As I stood in Holt Renfrew long before your eyes would see the images I was playing Jedi mind tricks with you. I, and any other person who has a camera holds the power to control or even distort your perceptions of anything at all.
I am in control of your mind.