Against the Kitchen Wall

By: Gustav Hoiland

Aug 23 2010

Category: fashion, self portrait

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Aperture:f/8
Focal Length:18mm
ISO:100
Shutter:3 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

Not Quite Prada

My somewhat forced dedication to shoot every day has turned up some rather interesting work, if I do say so myself. This was one night. The next night I think I was doing self portraits entirely lit by the light cast from an open refrigerator door. Heck, a lot of what I shoot is just the angles created by the intersection of wall and ceiling as seen from my desk chair.

There’s a definite intimacy I think to this particular shot. The focus is, I would say, intensely focused on me. Just standing there, center/center with all of these sharp lines coming in from every which direction straight into me, with a slight insulating border of off-white surrounding my actual figure. And what am I doing? Just standing there. It’s not something I would be doing without the camera being there. It’s this set up shot of me looking rather expressionless into the camera.

The key I think is the position of my hands. Had they been straight at my sides I think it would look too posed. But here they let the uncertainty show through. I have set up a stage on which to be immortalized in bits, yet I do not mean to project an untrue image of myself. I think that’s all a nice contrast to the bold graphic on my shirt, the bike rider in mid-climb clearly exerting a lot of energy and taking huge breaths up a mountain pass.

The color’s also really working for me, and I’ll say I don’t recognize the palette from much of my other work. It’s this kind of hushed warmth with these darker cabinets that just about perfectly match my skin tone. Then there’s the final set of walls that frame the piece with a much less warm look – a colder white that reaches into blue on the right side.

Finally, there’s a great amount of little details that I think enrich the image as a whole. The mess of black cables that create a complexly organic whirl of lines on the left. The harsh shadow cast off the counter that hits just below my left knee. The apple in the bag on the counter. The very tip of the vent hood barely sticking out behind the wall. The somehow pleasing contours of the refrigerator handles.

Would you just look at those refrigerator handles… (weak reference to the Coens’ A Serious Man)

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