Sunday, 5 May 2013


Yesterday my friend and I took an afternoon trip to Rookwood Cemetery so that I could attempt to get a decent shot for my assignment. 

My idea was simple. I wanted her to be a ghost, lingering behind in the cemetery even after she was "gone" from our world. So we traveled around to different sections in search of the perfect lighting and the perfect setting. 

The first shot I took was one in the Russian section of the cemetery; she was standing in a gazebo-type monument, and you could see all the graves behind her. But in the end, the shot just didn't work for me. The atmosphere was all wrong, and it was far too bright. 

Another shot I did was of her walking towards me between two rows of graves - so she wasn't attached to any one of them in particular, she was just "wandering". I feel that this shot might have been acceptable to me if only the two rows of graves had been closer together. As it was, the photo had too much sky, too much grass, and not enough subject. 

It was the middle shot that worked for me. 

To me, the atmosphere here feels right. She looks sad, she looks somewhat lost, and we even managed to find a girl's grave where the age was right - Ethel Francis died when she was twenty-three. The only thing off here is that she died in 1908, and my friend is clearly dressed for the twenty-first century. 

The process for achieving this photo is simple, but effective. I took two shots of the grave - one with my friend in it, and one without her in it. Then I layered them over the top of each other until they were perfectly aligned and lowered the opacity of the layer that contained my friend. The original shot had a washed-out sky, so I also added some more interesting clouds. 

Obviously, this wasn't exactly the shot that I had in mind. I couldn't find anybody else to model for me, so I only had my friend to work with. 

But even after the shot was done, I kept playing with the idea. And now I have another shoot scheduled for Saturday with another of my friends and her boyfriend, so I'm going to spend some time really planning out that shoot, looking for a location with the perfect light and fine-tuning the idea. Hopefully I will come up with something better - if not for this assignment, then for my portfolio at the end of the year.

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