MILE OF MUSIC 2015 :: Artist Portraits (Part One)
For those local to the Fox Valley and northeast Wisconsin, it’s no secret that Mile of Music is one of the, if not the biggest, musical event to hit our state drawing hundreds of musicians/artists and thousands in attendance. And it’s getting larger and wildly more popular each passing year. This year’s Mile was the third edition of the event and the second that I was able to attend. For the past two years we’ve partnered up with John Adam’s pop-up art gallery Feather & Bone and set up shop in his space to shoot portraits of musicians throughout the four-day weekend. This has been nothing more than a personal project of sorts for me in which I provide as a cost-free service to the artists, allowing them to use the photos as they see fit. Given our workload this year, it was super refreshing to get back to the roots of creativity, pursuing the human spirit with photography.
Last year’s set-up was a ton of work and more fun than I ever expected. We took the work we shot last year and shaped it into something new for this year’s Mile of Music in order to give some variety to the type of photography I typically shoot. This year we shot on two set-ups, one with a white background shooting individual portraits of musicians, artists and friends seated at a table and another with a darker, more environmental set-design. Doing this project has become a labor of love, having shot over 40+ bands, 120+ individual portraits and over 3000+ total frames. After weeks of jugging my current client workload and deadlines, I have finished the individual portraits on white and included them below in the first of two parts in this image series. Once I finish the photos from the second set-up I will release a “Part Two” here on my blog. For those photographers wondering how I lit and shot this series, be sure to check out the end of this post for some behind the scenes details.
A ton of thanks go out to John Adams, Cory Chisel, Dave Willems and the Willems Marketing, team, The Post Crescent, my team (Adam, Annette, Aaron and Melanie) and all my friends and the talented artists for making this year’s Mile of Music amazing.
Below is a look behind the scenes. In preparation for this series, we set-up in our studio and played around with the way we wanted to light these for a few hours. I typically default to lighting from overhead, using one main light and modifier. We toyed with it for a while when Adam made the suggestion to light from one side. We then added in a background light and filled in our subject with a white v-bounce. The whole look of the final photos are 90% dependent on the lighting we used. A small amount of post-production went into the final files to give them the “pop” you see above. Without having a solid method of lighting in place, these would not have that ethereal “painterly” feel.
Below: This is a overhead lighting diagram
Below: Here is the table we used for the set-up. It was a board we put together out of cheap pine 1×6’s and painted white.
Below: Portrait of Adam with the initial lighting set-up at our studio and a really rough shot of it in “action”
See more of Jackson & Co.’s work at www.davidejackson.com!