The Details

I photographed this note I got from my oldest son (after helping him finish building a Lego airplane) because I thought it was adorable but also as a reminder to me of how my views of photography have changed as I've begun to learn what personally draws me to a frame.

In the past, I was so caught up in the technicals, I often failed to see the real impactful aspect of a photo. I was, as they are lovingly referred to in the field, a "pixel peeper" - so in-tune to how perfectly it is focused, how sharp it is, how well-exposed the subject is, etc. yet often missing the underlying artistic side completely.

It is like the difference between reading the spelling-corrected text of the note typed out in perfectly legible font like this:

Thank you Dad for helping me make the jet...

... versus seeing the painstakingly penned, phonetically crafted words of a developing young mind scrolled across a wrinkled Post-It note. The literal "message" is the same either way, but the experience is totally different.

I am trying to incorporate this type of thinking into my photography, trying to communicate how something must feel rather than just what it looks like in a perfect world. In this case, I lit the paper from way to camera left, raking the light across the surface of the paper, so you can not only read the writing (well, maybe "read" is the wrong word...), but you can see a lot of the texture of the paper and the wrinkles on it as well.

Strobist info: The note is stuck to fishing line dangling from the ceiling ~2 feet in front of a Strobist-style "macro studio" to be able to light it on a separate plane from the background. The key light is an SB-25 in a Honl 1/8" grid raking across the surface of the paper from hard camera left (to bring out some texture), zoomed to 85mm and fired at ~1/8 power. The white background is the white posterboard set up in "infinity sweep" mode inside the "macro studio", which is lit from the left and right by an SB-600 and SB-800 each zoomed to 70mm and fired at 1/16th power through the tissue paper-lined sides the macro studio.