This photo was a “shoebox” experience about 30 minutes ago. In a quest to find photos I have been ignoring, I started at the chronological beginning of a library of digital photos that has close to 50,000 pictures. About 300 pictures into my search, I found this. I don’t remember taking the photo, but I do remember the class with great fondness.
The light source was a single 150 watt bulb and the camera was my Canon 1D, which represented the state of the art in DSLR photography in 2002. The camera cost $5500 and do I dare say that it was worth every penny? It had a whopping 4.4 megapixel sensor!
The “shoebox experience” is what many of us have encountered when we are searching for something in our closet and we come across a box of forgotten photos. I am sad to say that decades from now, no one will have a clue about all of the digital media that we put into boxes. If the 8-track tape and the floppy disk are evidence of the ephemeral nature of electronic media, imagine what will happened to hard drives and compact flash cards we are using today.
If you want to enjoy your favorite digital photos years from now, you need to get them printed. And then put them in a shoebox.
I took this photo several years ago when I led a Watertown High School student trip to Rome. We had a free afternoon and one of my students and I made the trip to the church of San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome. This church is remarkable in many ways but I was captured by this statue of St. Bartholomew, carved in 1712 by Pierre Legros.
In brief, Bartholomew was martyred by being skinned alive. But during the Second Coming, he is resurrected with a new skin. The artistic version of this story that I am most familiar with is in the Sistine Chapel in Michelangelo’s brilliant Last Judgement of Christ. In that version, too, he is holding both his old skin and the knife that was used to flay him. In Michelangelo’s version, some art historians say that the face on the old skin is the face of the artist.
I don’t know whose face is on the sculpted version I am showing here
For the last several years, in addition to teaching at Watertown High School, I have also volunteered to take photos for our yearbook. Sometimes the editors tell me what to photograph. And sometimes I’m told to “wander.” And that’s how I found this subject.
The art rooms are my favorite places because I can almost always find people doing things rather than sitting and listening to teachers. Often the students are so absorbed in their work, that they are oblivious to me. But this girl was anything but oblivious.
When I was about to take the photo, this girl gave me this look, which isn’t exactly hostile and not exactly friendly. It is suspicious. After taking this photo, I told her who I was and what I was up to and she relaxed and let me take a another photo or two.
This photo didn’t make the yearbook but I like it nevertheless, largely because of her undisguised doubt. But I also like it because I think this girl looks a little like Scarlett Johansson, one of my favorite actresses.
I did a series of photos with this effect for the WHS yearbook a few years ago. There are two special techniques being used. One is called “dragging the shutter.” What happens is that if you turn your flash on but manually adjust the shutter speed to a fairly slow speed, you can sometimes get some interest ghosting in the image. You can see that in the green t-shirt in the center of the photo. The other technique is to zoom in on some central subject while you push the exposure button. This creates a natural radial blur in the photo. I took 8 or 10 pictures before I got the effect I wanted.
Canon 5D 1/15s f/3.2 ISO100 75mm