This was an out take from an assignment. The original shoot had things sticking in the socket but saw the chance to make a good stock photo by reducing the props and make it simpler. This was not a working electrical outlet because there would be no way to mount a light in the wall. First I got a sheet of plywood and glued a rubber industrial mat that had raised ridges in it. Then sawed an opening and screwed the socket and chrome cover into the plywood. I cut open the back off of the sockets so that light could pass through where you would plug in a cord.
I shot this with a Cambo 4×5 view camera on black and white film and used one Speedotron flash head in a soft box coming from the right to highlight the ridges and give a nice reflection to the chrome. There was a sheet of white foam core on the left for another highlight on the chrome and some soft fill light.
I placed another light with a snoot behind the plywood and aimed it through the hole in the light socket. Then I used Polaroids to test the light balance. To get the light rays to show up from the light streaming through the socket I used smoke. It was actually a multi exposure on one sheet of film. Shooting with a view camera requires a lot more light than using a regular single lens reflex because of bellows length and other factors. So you set the camera on a tripod, turn out the lights and open the shutter while popping the flash the number of times it takes to record the proper exposure on film.
It’s kinda fun figuring it all out and if memory serves me correct it took about 20 pops to light the smoke up and maybe three or four to light the front. Now here comes the difficult part of the shoot, normally you would use a smoke machine to do an effect like this. But since I don’t own one and it was too late to rent I had to make do with the only thing I could think of. I bought a pack of cigarettes and would light one, inhale the smoke in my mouth and blow it on the prop in the dark as I popped the strobe 20 times or so. And you can’t just shoot one piece of film because you didn’t know if it was going to come out right or not as each negative was different.
To make a long story short, no, I don’t smoke, and even though I was careful not to suck the smoke into my lungs some would go down anyway. Guess what happened? Well I got dizzy and sick and threw up. So you have to tell me, was the picture worth it? LOL
Photo © Craig Brewer