The Accordionist, A Tribute. By Arjun Prakash
It all begins with a beautiful red accordion.
My father took possession of a Weltmeister accordion last month, a gift from a close friend.
The instrument needed to a bit of maintenance before it could be played and that is when we, my father and I, decided to shoot a few images to showcase the accordion and its construction.
Soon after we decided to shoot a few videos of my father performing on this instrument. As fan of my father's music, it seemed the perfect way to thank the original owner. Time was, however, of the essence.
Due to the need for quick turnaround, there was no time to plan prior to the shoot. We shot in a shed with no room but for the bare essentials.
I used the battery powered Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL strobes with a Deep Silver 125cm Umbrella on my key light and the 18cm reflector on the second head. The ELB Series offer a beautiful quality of light that require little to no editing in post. The colour temperature is spot on with no visible shift between shots.
This, along with their small form factor were key elements that allowed me to work in such a small space.
For the photograph, I set up the key light on the left side of the camera. I just put it out of frame so that my lens could flare a little. This added a little bit of visual interest to the otherwise plain Black backdrop.
Since there was little space between the light and the backdrop, I feathered the light away from the backdrop. This kept it from getting hit by the light.
The second head was used as a rim light on the right side of the camera just behind the subject. However, this light was not used for the standing shot since there was no space for it when used with a modifier.
The ELB 500 TTL is a photography studio light featuring a 14W LED modelling lamp which is not actively cooled. This means that there is no fan noise when recording video. While 14W is not much in many use cases, since we were shooting in a dark environment it provided the perfect amount of brightness.
The heroes of the shot were the instrument and the musician in that order. For this reason, I wanted to make the red colour of the accordion stand out.
A simple way to highlight form and texture is to light from the side. I set the light up to split the subject into a lit side and an unlit side. This is often called split lighting. I however made sure that there was still some detail in the shadow side of the image.
To create colour contrast I graded the shot towards the blue side of the spectrum. I tweaked the colour balance till the skin tones looked right and added a bit of pop to the orange pocket square on the shadow side of the image.
A single light source can often be more than enough to create a powerful image. Its simplicity is its strength. It allows the viewer's eye to be move across the frame without being distracted.
Arjun Prakash, a freelance photographer from Bangalore, was introduced to art, animation and music at a very young age. He started his photography journey in the field of documentary photography and currently focuses in fashion photography. He believes in the empowering and transformative potential of the creative and performing arts.