Final Project

For my final project I will be doing an outline of my plans for my senior thesis. My hope is to utilize dramatic lighting as much as possible and as such, I am photographing a themed Film Noir. For this project I’ve outlined my own “faux” script so I would have a brand new Noir instead of ripping off other old films. Despite this, my project should have obvious similarities to old Noir – for instance, the staple of the fedora hat, the femme fatale, and the dramatic lighting. As I move forward with the project I may even start experimenting with off camera angles because this was another staple shot in many Film Noirs’ to show an “unstable universe.”

I am shooting in both medium format and 35mm. The reason for this is because I’m unsure of whether I want my senior thesis to be in medium format or 35. This is also a good way for me to tell the differences between the films. I will shoot the same shot with each camera so I can do an easy side by side comparison. As for printing, my initial plan was to scan the negatives and print digitally. Though I am still leaning toward this option, after experiencing issues in the digital lab I am considering going back to the dark room because I know my way around the dark room very well. Working in the digital lab would give me a lot more experience with digital printing and I would probably learn much more, however, I don’t know if my final prints will come out as well as they would if I printed them analogue. This is something I’m debating – learning more of one medium or sticking to something I know and make perfect prints. Again, I am still leaning toward digital because I want to get better at that medium.

For my final size, I’m hoping to print on 11.7 x 16.5 luster paper by Ilford. With my project I think this would be better than an 8×11 because they will look more like film stills. I will have at least 8 photos, but I’m unsure how many more. I already know that I have many reshoots that I need to do for my thesis but for my final there may not be enough time to get all of these done. I’m already assuming that my final will have about 5 to 7 less pictures that my thesis. I’m hoping this won’t hinder the project, but to tell a story in a series of photographs takes time, effort, and many photos – especially in a “faux” movie.

I am nervous about how the film is going to turn out. Since it’s not digital, I can’t be sure how everything is going to look and it’s one of the first few times I’ve used professional lighting. On top of that, I don’t want my models to seem to posed and I feel like I may have run into a problem with that as well. I’m hoping for the best, but I realize that more reshoots are in order, I just hope that there is enough time.

  1. OK, i have a couple responses for you. first, don’t worry about whether the final project for this class ‘tells a story.’ these don’t have to (tell a complete story), they can just be photos that are exploring this subject matter and mastering the technical aspects you will need to do a great thesis: lighting, dealing with models, shooting whatever film or digital camera you use, and printing however you print. yes, it makes sense to print these digitally in this class so you’ll know whether or not you should do that for the thesis. you may want to print some of these on fiber as well for comparison again. not sure what you mean when you say 11.7×16.5 will look more like film stills than 8×11. how? why? what difference does it make? how significant are ‘film stills’ to the project in the first place?

    any photo project that references film stills will inevitably be compared to Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills. this does matter (to me) because that project was interesting not because she made faux film stills or used period clothes and lighting, but because she used the project to talk about/question the role of women (the femme fatale?) in film history and how that related to changes in the role of women at the time she was making the photos and to late 70’s feminism, as well as because she was questioning the use of women in those films in the first place, doing a sort of (postmodern) media criticism. so i know you may not want to think about it, but why film noir and what can you say about it that is original and different? i’m not saying don’t do it, i’m asking to push yourself a little more conceptually.

  2. I’m really excited to see how your series turns out. I’ve always been interested in the dramatic lighting of film noir and have always wanted to try it. By looking at your contact sheets, I feel like the high contrasted lighting was done very well! I love all the rich blacks in your photos. Looking forward to seeing the whole thing!

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