Julian Marzalek of ‘The November Five’

The Brief: Make portraits of 3 different individual people. Produce close ups, middle distance and full length portraits from each sitting.  You are in absolute control of all elements. As with the preceding ‘environmental’ assignment, we are defining portraits as being photographs of individual people in which the photographer plays the role of active director.  The emphasis is on you to conceive your shoot carefully, plan every element and try to come away with a series of pictures that are true to your artistic objective.
Think about the setting you want to use. We are not interested in the environment surrounding your subject per se but it will pay dividends if you give yourself reconnaissance time in advance of the shoot in order to identify any possible places that you feel would provide strong backdrops or compositional elements to your session.  Sometimes a painted wall, rusty corrugated fence or pair of velvet curtains, for example, will provide you with backdrops that can enhance your portrait.
The subject: Julian Marzalek (Marz) is a fine gentleman who didn’t mind me shooting him hot, thirsty and sweaty; straight off stage where he was playing  guitar with top beat combo ‘The November Five’ (If you have not yet seen them, then do – they deliver!)
Thoughts on the process: Arriving at the club early I was able to take some time to scope a location. The club was very dark. I found this little snug area like a mini-alley, painted bright red and filled with a loudly coloured pinball machine. Directly after Marz came off stage I grabbed him and placed him here. He has a good face for the camera and the hot and sweaty adrenaline-pumped look, with a touch of ‘bloody gothic’ was (I think) achieved. Here I post two versions of the same shoot as I realised during the crit for this series that that my camera’s auto-white balance was set and changing its algorithm each time I shifted position in relation to the subject. I had attempted to fix this in post-production but ended up heightening the effect of discolouration and shift. I had tried everything except the white balance which is the simplest thing to fix and the easiest thing to forget! The first set shows the white balance doing it’s own thing and the second set illustrates the difference when the balance is set to ‘Flash and my clumsy attempt at saturation also fixed.
Picture pairs
First Picture: White Balance set to ‘Auto’               Second Picture: Balance set to ‘Flash’

So, what do you think?

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