On My Couch

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Page created January 20, 2011
Sitting date:  June 25, 2010




This is my living room couch.  I got it the same time as the big comfy chair (see the previous page).  As much as I love the big comfy chair, I hate this couch (for photography, that is).  Although it is small for sitting, it's just too big for photography, or rather, my living-room-as-a-studio is too small.  I usually can't light it evenly from left to right, because I don't quite have the room width to do that, and lighting it from above is not possible, despite my high ceilings.  When I mention this to Tiana, she immediately challenges me to try again.  So we do.  And such is the magic of Tiana that we create the best couch pictures yet.

Oh look (below) -- a cropped image.  I love how that works.



Long, tangential story alert: 

I have a graduate degree in Computer Science.  My class' very first homework assignment in our very first class was an easy one:  prove a semi-simple half page program worked.  Well, I struggled with that little program of hours, and I could not prove that it worked.  I felt that here I was, on my very first graduate school assignment, and I was already failing.

The next class, the professor asked if anyone had any questions about the homework, and if not, we'd move on to the day's lesson.  I raised my hand & admitted that I couldn't prove that the program worked.  The professor stopped, chose three random values as inputs into the program, traced it through, showing how each program variable changed, until the right conclusion was found.  See?, he asked.  Sure, I said, the program works most of the time, but not all of the time, but try the program using three values I select.  I gave him the values, and he dutifully traced through the program again.  Deep into the program, given the values I selected, the program attempted a "divide by zero" command, which typically causes a program to abort & crash.  He started at the blackboard for a second, and said to the class -- all you who proved that the program worked -- you were wrong.

Several years later, this professor was about to retire, and the department asked for anecdotes for his retirement celebration.  I shared this story.  The professor wrote me an elegant thank you note, saying essentially that I was the kind of student he cherished.  Most students would just sit there & takes notes on every word he said, but the best students are the ones who challenged him.

End tangential story.

I feel that way about models -- the best ones are the ones who challenge you.  There is little satisfaction in making the same photograph over & over -- you've always got to be raising the bar.





Although the couch is challenging for photography, it does have redeeming features.  The couch has a curve, so that people at opposite ends of the couch can turn their heads & talk with each other without straining their neck.  I also like the graphic pattern of the pillow.

By using the whole width of the room, I was able to suspend a big soft box high and to the left of the camera.  Tiana, with her perfect skin, looks like a porcelain figure.


I also note that I presented color images on the previous page; I still prefer B&W, so I'm showing only my version of sepia toning on this page. 




Tiana is simply magnificent.

I've got to admit that I'm looking at the previous session's images as I'm drafting these pages.  As charming as the new model, Ashley is/was, there simply is no comparison with Tiana.  She is so comfortable in her skin, she is so expressive, so impressive.  She is simply amazing.






Lately, I've been trying to step back & to include more of the surrounding space in the image -- the images above and to the right are good examples.  I think this might be a little more sophisticated way to go -- I used to try to crop things close, to feature the figure & only the figure.  These more inclusive images convey more, I think -- they show the natural relationship of the model to her surroundings.

Meanwhile, I've always like off-center compositions, and I do tend to look for them.  Here, on the right, Tiana is just a tad off center, but it provides a bit of movement to the image -- at least, the viewer's eye has to move around a bit.  



Before we got started, Tiana & I hung out together for one evening, one morning, and the beginning part of the afternoon.  She was sweet & engaging & very easy to be around.  Then we started working on our photography.  She was like a secret super hero -- she shed her clothes & became Super Model!  As wonderful as she is to be around, she became captivating in front of the camera.

I'm always looking around when I have a camera in my hands, and I'm particularly aware of the conditions by my favorite window.  I thought perhaps that there was nice light available there, so we move to check it out.

Window Light 


(Remember -- feedback is always appreciated) 

All images (c) 2011 Looknsee Photography

Tiana, First Visit Out Takes

More than 130 more images from this sitting are available in the Out Takes Galleries, which are available to those who have made a donation to the upkeep of this web site.  See this FAQ question for more details.