I must say I am quite relieved after my most recent image “The Kiosk” since it turned into a bit of a labour of love. I first liked an idea that was on a site called Deviant Art some years ago where there were people painted in a queue at a paying station. It was done using cinema 4D and no photography was involved. This image stayed with me for a few years until earlier this year I thought about elaborating on an idea I had about a queue of characters all waiting for something. It then dawned on me that apart from us British people loving an orderly queue I could actually create real characters that want to change.
The rest just added on to this already exciting concept and I called upon my old boys Gerwyn, Anthony, and Deaks. I would soon recruit characters that I already knew and some had worked with me before now.
On with the set build where I decided on a city scene in a back alleyway. I wanted to get the outside in! I felt that this could give me free licence regarding the light because in the city there are lights and reflections everywhere. You would normally think with such a free role with lighting it would be easy but it was anything but. I knew two things and the first was that there must be a light from above like a street light.
I rigged a studio light to a bracket high and above that suited the character that was at the signpost but the others were a little more tricky. For the next character on the floor I decided to use a strip box with grid to channel light directly down to her and that would also reflect into the other characters a little. This was rigged up in front of my camera about 8ft. I then decided to fill the other characters outside the kiosk with a flash gun off camera and hidden behind the stack of newspapers. Inside the kiosk the character was lit with two camera flash guns, one on the floor and one on a stool nearer to his face. The reason for two flash guns in the kiosk was because it was painted matt black and absorbed a lot of light. The last light was a studio head positioned near the “change” sign to simply pop a little light on to the sign and the side of kiosk.
Once the lighting was set and done it was about getting the right settings for the mix of ambient light and flash. It was settled on something like 1/15th and F5.6 ISO 100. The street light above was gelled blue along with the flash gun behind the newspapers and the side light gelled red to add to the kiosk drama.
I added dry leaves which came in handy to put around the bottom of the traffic signpost. This concealed the three L brackets securing the plastic drain pipe to the floor. The floor was painted grey to mimic a road or pedestrian area and even double yellow lines were added to the floor with spray. The kiosk was made with 6mm ply and 3×2 wood framing. A door was added along with decorative trim work and an awning making it more believable. The phone booth was an acoustic booth bought from a clearance place and the retro GPO phone added later. I then decorated it with business cards and wrote the usual jokes and abuse that we may get on our streets.
As time goes by I realise that it only takes a second to press the shutter and yet weeks or months of preparation.