Part two – classical portrait. This was easier in terms of inspiration and execution. After going to the Beyond Caravaggio exhibition, which provided me with lots of inspiration, it was one of the first artists who I had researched for this project, who eventually provided me with what I wanted – Francisco de Zurbarán. His paintings of Saint Francis of Assisi in his cassock were to be reinterpreted in a contemporary context with hoodie – thanks to Marchez. So unlike the still life, the inspiration here is much more direct. What I liked about the Zurbarán paintings was the very monochrome feel to them, which is in stark contrast to the still life paintings which were much more full of colour.

The other thing that interested me in these paintings was the use of the memento mori. I tried to incorporate a contemporary twist with the iPad as well as using it a light source. As you will see from the final cut, the iPad picture did not win the day… sorry Bissy, but you were outvoted in the end. Mrs T won the day…. and I have to thank you both again for agreeing to model for me.

Project brief: Portrait – using classical painting as inspiration

These were the top 5 presented to the class for the choice of which would make it through as the final picture… very X Factor’esque 🙂

The final picture:

L3T2 final project pics-9


This was done with both the 50mm and 10omm macro lenses. The main sources of light came from the iPad, but then I started using the studio lights with a snoot to direct the light.

Health & safety:

As this was a studio shot in class, there were trailing wires and other shoots/class colleagues to be conscious of. This, however, did not present any real problems as we were all very aware of each other.


This was much more of a straightforward shoot for me. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve and the challenge was to get the lighting right. Many of the shoot pictures had to be rejected because they were in fact out of focus – which I found quite disappointing, but I cannot blame my lenses for that… I am the one who is supposedly in control. The idea of the iPad as a memento mori is something I would have played with more if I was inclined to do the shoot again… but I’ll be honest – laziness and stubbornness kicked in which is why I did not reshoot. I took the view that if I had at least 5 pictures to edit in post-production, then that would be enough.

The work in Lightroom was basic for the first cut and then I re-edited from scratch in Camera Raw to bring out the highlights on the top of the hood. After the public vote and some constructive comments from class colleagues, I reduced the light in the facial area, not to totally obscure her face, but to make it less visible. Someone had suggested blacking it out entirely, but I took the view that it would be less of a portrait… some facial features even if they were really dark is better than none, for this particular picture.

Assignment criteria: 1-4