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The Struggle
1st PlaceThe Struggle

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Allegory (Advanced Editing VII)
Collection: 2015
Camera: Nikon D750
Lens: Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: Dec 11, 2015
Aperture: f8
ISO: 200
Shutter: 180
Date Uploaded: Dec 11, 2015

This shoot almost didn't happen...

When the challenge was announced, I was dumbfounded. What the heck kind of an image could I possibly---BANG! It came to me almost immediately and practically automatically. Perhaps because of all the strife being reported in the news and the arguments happening on FB... It seemed pretty clear that the arguments were fairly divided along the faith/reason lines. The image seemed to automatically create itself in my mind. Now all I had to do was find two wrestlers!

But I couldn't find any. I contacted all sorts of organizations but never got a response. Then I reached out to some of my previous models, and they didn't know any wrestlers. I was getting frustrated. And concerned that I'd have to cancel the shoot.

Then it occurred to me that they didn't need to know HOW to wrestle, but they needed to LOOK like they were wrestling. And muscular! So I asked two of my previous models if they'd be interested. And both said yes! Yay! Shoot was back on. I was also going to need a couple of assistants (needed some cloth-throwers!), and got two on board right away.

Sent out confirmation email with all the details of the shoot. A few minutes later, one of my models contacted me saying he wasn't comfortable with the concept and was passing on the shoot. About an hour later, one of the assistants sent me an email that they'd gotten a job.

Back to despairing. I contacted numerous models on Model Mayhem, but nobody was available. I couldn't find another assistant either. It wasn't looking good...

Thursday I did a last ditch mailing effort on MM and lo and behold, got 3 models willing to do the last minute shoot. Then I texted a friend of mine to find out if she'd be in my neck of the woods to help. She was!

Shoot was going to happen after all. Except...

I was going to shoot outside because I needed a lot of space. My studio is small and with two guys, and two assistants, didn't have much room to maneuver. Plus I wanted a dirt ground. And fog. But mother nature had other plans, and between the rain, the howling wind, and the cold, we were forced indoors.

The hardest part about this sort of shoot is coordinating the flying cloth with the shutter release. And when you have TWO people with flying cloth, it's REALLY hard to synchronize. My assistants were killer :)

Lighting was one overhead with a beauty dish on a C-stand. And one on the floor in front of me with a strip box.

I wanted a really epic, classic - even Biblical - painting look, and I'm pretty happy with the results, although I think the banners could have been a bit larger, and the Reason one might be difficult to read. This would have been SO much easier in Expert :)

Models: David Ryan of this image, and Alex Sebban. Both were a joy to work with.

Assistants: Natalie Linthorst and Susan Ottalini


Thank you so much for the votes and comments. The crew will be pleased :)

Place: 1 out of 34
Avg (all users): 7.1509
Avg (commenters): 8.8333
Avg (participants): 5.9412
Avg (non-participants): 7.7222
Views since voting: 2242
Views during voting: 198
Votes: 53
Comments: 27
Favorites: 5 (view)

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01/16/2016 11:39:16 PM
This is absolutely amazing, the lighting is superbly done.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/25/2015 11:19:21 PM
On third thought... This reminds me of an expert editing Christophe image.

You go,girl!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/23/2015 12:23:49 PM
Absolutely beautiful
And to think I knew you when...
I have been an admirer of your work for so long
This brought tears to my eyes.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/22/2015 09:46:21 PM
It's beautiful, and really well done. Many congratulations!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/22/2015 01:59:05 PM
This picture is spectacular!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/22/2015 01:20:26 PM
Wonderful image well worth the effort you put into it. Congratulations on your blue ribbon.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 06:48:22 PM
Well done Johanna, excellence in lighting, ingenuity and adaptability.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 06:28:53 PM
WTF, how is it possible that I'm the only one who fave'd this? Bloody amazing, and of course, I freaking love the concept.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 03:26:34 PM
It's a wonderful photo, worth the work! Great models and light. Congrats with the blue!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 12:49:50 PM
Congrats Johanna! What can I say after reading your notes, photography is a struggle ))
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 12:11:41 PM
Fantastic image. What more can I say. Congratulations.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 11:31:27 AM
Congrats on the blue Johanna, well deserved!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 11:28:23 AM
Way cool, Johanna!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 11:27:26 AM
great work my friend, for some reason it immediately made me think of a video from one of my favorite artists.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 09:20:39 AM
really nice set up and presentation- Congrats on the blue!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 06:09:12 AM
Hello from the Critique club

An exemplary image that meets the challenge fully

Congratulations on your excellent result for your equally excellent image, and thanks also for the synopsis of all the hard work you had to go to in order to create the image, we are all indebted to you.

This is very allegorical and symbolic of the troubled times we are living through. The pose of the two men is very dynamic and your splendid choice of lighting has defined the physique well, especially of 'faith'. That same lighting generally works well in defining the most important aspects of the image to good advantage amongst the predominant darkness which in itself is equally important in making the image work as well as it does. I would imagine it was difficult to decide on the right pose that gave both equal emphasis whilst still looking authentically combative, I would say you have achieved it well. I can also imagine how hard it was to time their falling cloths with the shutter to achieve the dynamic result you needed and again I would say you have achieved it well.

The only minor criticism I would voice concerns the effect of the lighting which has given emphasis to the white cloth making it stand out quite significantly from the rest of the image especially in relation to the red which also given it smaller size is comparatively insignificant. The same lighting is also causing near blown highlights on the left of the reason banner. I would suggest that some dodging on these two aspects would correct this minor problem.

I would say you achieved your goal of a biblical scene and your comments about the banners are relevant but I would say they do not adversely affect the end result. It's good to see that it has been so well received in terms of votes and comments, very well done Johanna, another to proudly add to your massive roll of DPC achievements!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 03:21:30 AM
Of course Reason will win, exactly how you did! Congrats on a super deserved win :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 02:23:49 AM
congrats!Fantastic image!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 01:05:11 AM
Goodness gracious! Deservedly on top. Thanks for the huge effort!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 12:10:33 AM
Fooled me thought it was gyaban, but I thought he aint that muscley, and how was he did he do this in adv editing.

Congrats, love the togs :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/21/2015 12:08:11 AM
Congratulations Johanna this was definitely my top pic.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
12/20/2015 09:20:44 PM
Wonderful staging, lighting, and conceptualization. I see this as best in challenge. Thanks for doing so much work to execute on the idea.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/20/2015 09:20:10 PM
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/20/2015 06:13:53 PM
Hits all aspects: effectively conveys allegory, well composed, nice technicals, interesting image. Nicely done.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/20/2015 05:08:28 PM
Great depiction of the classic struggle between rhyme and reason:)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/18/2015 06:59:34 PM
Very interesting but this looks like it might be Expert and not Advanced...if you did pull this off within the Advanced ruleset, count me in for the tut.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/17/2015 06:59:02 PM
Top 3 for sure. Amazing composition. Give 10
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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