The Candy Pitch is pleased to announce a tasty new feature, Revealing Images, in which photographer Don Spiro shares some of his favorite burlesque photos and the stories behind them. Don's first treat is a photo of the ever-lovely Jo Boobs.
This picture was taken back in the day when I was only shooting film. I used an old trusty Nikon 35mm. I didn’t have a studio so Jo asked her friend Whitney if we could shoot at her place in Manhattan. Whitney had amazing artwork on the walls, fabulous furniture and plenty of taxidermy and other bizarre props.
When I shoot I try to get something of the subject’s personality in the picture. Jo founded the NY School of Burlesque, she radiates confidence and on stage she can be captivating. She styled the shoot and came up with her own poses, I didn’t have to direct her other than to adjust for lighting or composition.
The space was small, regular lights might trip a circuit and strobes would have been overpowering, so I rented a Dedo light kit, which is extremely small and directional. Once I composed the image through the lens I trained one light high and just to the right of my camera, illuminating her body from head to toe and casting hard shadows down and to the left. I used the light’s barndoors to cut the spill light off of the right side of the frame and moved a stuffed cat into the light by her feet to balance the image.
A stuffed beaver was on a table by her waist, so I brought a second light in close and covered it with diffusion to make it very soft, bringing the beaver out from the darkness and lightening the shadows on Jo’s body. I wanted to emphasize how pale she is so I over-exposed her body by two stops, which also made the red costume just pop.