Garfield Darlington discusses his double life as stills photographer and cinematographer, and describes the creation of his "filmic" image, 'Tamara v Anthony'.
I have turned my focus to cinematography and the film industry after more than ten years as an advertising photographer, having shot over eight short films and a number of music clips.
The most exciting project I completed this year was a series of five short films about internet dating, directed by Lei-lani Terrell, called Daterbase. Working as both Director of Photography (DP) and stills photographer on set I had the opportunity to push my work to a new level.
The experience with lighting and composition I’ve gained in the film industry both as DP and while working in lighting on almost all of the Hollywood features shot in Sydney over the past four years has improved my photography beyond what I thought possible.
The series of stills from Daterbase reflect my love for Film Noir and French Cinema. Film Noir has influenced my lighting and camera angles while French Cinema has enhanced my ability to tell a story. Tamara v Anthony (pictured) is part of the ACMP 2007 Signature Exhibition.
In this shot from Tamara v Anthony (Daterbase) I chose a wide-angle lens as I wanted to show the space around the actors, giving insight into Tamara’s personality. I set the camera low so that Anthony can be seen under Tamara’s arm to give the impression that he’s small and inferior. The lighting on Anthony hides part of his face, to hide part of his character and draw the viewer into his expression.
Our lighting package was small; we had two Blondies, one 2ft 2 bank Kino, some Arri 650s and 2 Mizars. To the right of camera I placed the Kino (with ½ CTO gel) on the ground pointing up at Tamara to cast a shadow on the cupboard. The Kino is very soft on the skin and the gel gives it warmth and life. I wanted the shadows to be quite defined to give shape to the characters. Outside I placed a Blondie to camera left with a gel pack of ½ CTO and half plus green to back light Anthony. I wanted to achieve more of a ‘street light’ effect outside. To the right of camera, the subject is key lit through the trees with the Arri 650 with the same gel pack, the branches casting a shadow over his face to complete the look.
Being on set on Hollywood blockbusters as well as Australian features and shorts has given me a new-found motivation for creating pictures and revived my love of photography. It’s helped me to refocus and redefine what it is that inspires me in my work and what I want to achieve on a personal and professional level.
My diversity and competence as a photographer allows me to move seamlessly between cinematography and the photography worlds.
Tamara v Anthony (Canon EOS 30D, 18-55mm lens f/5.6, 1/25 sec, ISO 1600). Photo by Garfield Darlington.
Lighting setup for "Tamara v Anthony".
Article first published in Australian Photography magazine.