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Renaissance Portraits II

The Development of the Photographs in the Studio

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In this FotoTV film, photographer and lecturer, Rudiger Schestag continues his discussion about renaissance portrait photography.

In the first film, Schestag gave viewers a practical step-by-step shooting on how to go about recreating a scene that is likened to the masters of renaissance painting. This second film is more of a “making of” and an analysis of renaissance painter, Angelo Broncino’s work.

Schestag uses the master painter’s work as a guideline of reference to use in his own photography. Schestag discusses the posing of his models at great deal as it is one of the most important aspects when recreating a renaissance portrait shooting. He tries to come as close as possible to the portrait poses of the renaissance period. Most subjects had to sit for hours, if not repeatedly over a course of days for the painter. Renaissance portraits were most made in ateliers using the light from windows or skylights. To simulate the grandeur of renaissance paintings, Schestag chooses soft side lighting with 190cm octo-box. It is also a lighting technique that modulates the models face exceptionally well. Another highlight of the shooting is the hair and make-up and wardrobe, or lack thereof.

Schestag has his stylist recreate a typical hairstyle of that period, with the middle part being very straight, giving emphasis to a high forehead, curiously feature that was in fashion at that time. Instead of using costumes, Schestag uses cloth to drape over his model. This allows him to concentrate on the character of the model rather than the clothes. It is very interesting watching him work with the model, directing her to pose like a semi-nude renaissance noblewoman and the results are beautiful. Transposing the elegance of the renaissance period to modern time.


Nice light

Beautiful soft light from the giant reflector. I find the light from the snoot still too harsh to my taste. Hard transition. I would rather use a small softbox on the background to keep things soft and the light on the models face goes from light to dark. And the light on the background goes from dark to light.