Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ghost Girl

I took this picture when I was in high school. It marked my first 'success' in fine art photography, as this picture was the winner of a multi-county photography competition. It was entitled 'Ghost Girl' for the exhibition, although I've always privately referred to it as Lori's Ghost Picture. Lori being my sister who graciously and patiently modeled for me.

My camera at that time was a Minolta XG1, and this was taken with a normal 50mm lens, on a tripod with a bulb exposure. Lori aka ghost girl, was in the frame for the first half of the picture and then the lens was covered with black posterboard and she was out of the picture for the remaining time - creating the ghost effect.

The setting for my picture was my grandmother's house. Her 'good' living room to be precise, where mere mortals rarely set foot. The room was beautiful, filled with antiques that had once been new from my grandmother's point of view. I closed the thick blinds to darken the room, to accommodate my long exposure and the only lighting was from a 15W bulb in an antique lamp positioned next to the settee.

Lori was dressed in what I believe was her most recent Easter dress. The light colored multiple layers of lace and fabric spilled over the settee with 'just right' contrast.

I took 12 shots of this picture, varying the exposure time, the time in and out of the shot, and the aperture, to ensure that I would have a workable shot. Then off to the darkroom.

Conceptually, the picture is a showcase for my personal love of contrast. Black and white, old and young, darkness and light, and death and life. It captures the moment of transition.

Even with the slight light burn in the original, this picture is still among my favorites, and still hangs in my home.

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