When photographing art for Wright Auction House, no matter how dramatic or creative the shot, it is still very important for me to represent the piece of art that I’m shooting with the highest level of accuracy.
In other words, each image must faithfully represent the object. Capture one Pro 7 allows me to do this quickly and effectively.
An exceptional challenge
This sculpture in particular, a tree form by Harry Bertoia was an exceptional challenge. Nearly fifty years old and made of a special alloy, this tree form has a patina that is a large part of its aesthetic appeal, and a testament to its age, authenticity and the level of craftsmanship of the artist.
I built a fairly dramatic lighting scenario for this piece in order to create a shot that would be paired with the less-romanticized view in the catalogue. But the mid-tones and some of the purples and oranges in the patina were not standing out as much as they do when one is in the presence of the piece.
To bring those out and really convey the dimension of the form, I increase the clarity – which primarily adjusts mid-tone contrast allowing many of the colors and values – that the digital back has already recorded – to be emphasized.
I moved the sliders to the right until the results match how the sculpture is perceived in real life – from zero to 16 and 17 in clarity and structure respectively.
The nodules at the top of the sculpture are also a bit too bright and are loosing detail. As I really like what is already going on in the rest of the image, instead of correcting this problem by adjusting my lights, I will use the High Dynamic Range Tool to restore some of the detail in those ends.
Lastly, I will use the Curve to bring down the black values in the background to really make this piece appear like it is emerging from the darkness.
By lighting a little brighter than what I want my end result to be, and take full advantage of the dynamic range of the Phase One P30+ digital back, I am able to adjust my values and tonal curves so that the image not only is as accurate as possible, but achieves the desired dramatic effect with out loosing or compromising any detail.
The final image looks stunning next to the more traditional shot in the catalogue and really helps to sell the idea of the object.
A few powerful tools in Capture One Pro 7 allowed me to really refine this image into the feeling I was looking to achieve while still maintaining an accurate representation of the object. I hope this helps inform your own photographic endeavors. Please feel free to post any questions and comments below.
Images Courtesy of Wright
Ross’ work can be viewed at www.rossfloyd.com
Ross works as a full-time photographer for Wright, a Chicago-based auction house specializing in modern and contemporary design and post-war and contemporary art. Ross also takes on additional freelance commercial projects.