#SooC52 Week 4 – Porcelain/ceramic

Chris Lane / photography / / 6 Comments / Like this

This is a continuation of the SooC 52 photo challenge. This week’s theme was chosen by me! I didn’t really have a reason or idea when I chose the theme. I was just trying to think of something when I was looking around my kitchen and saw my wife’s china cabinet. Though that wasn’t where my mind ended up going with the idea.

I quickly thought of antique dolls with porcelain heads. Most dolls kind of freak me out just a little bit, maybe it’s because I saw the Chucky movie when I was too little (thanks mom and dad for scarring me for life 😛 ). Though I’m far from the only one I know with this thought toward dolls. Anyway, to make it more interesting I thought of using my wife in makeup to appear like an antique doll. I knew this would take some convincing, but she did end up letting me go through with it. She bought this old fashioned dress last year on eBay and we had planned on doing a photo shoot with it at some other point, but I thought it would be perfect with this subject. I also pulled out some of her tea set, placed some old books, an old camera case under this old table, as well as faux old candle holders. Then from my mother-in-law I borrowed this decidedly UN-porcelain doll (it’s actually made of wood, but still very old) and the photo and frame hanging on the wall. I was told “treat them like they are worth a million dollars.” I most certainly did.

A side story, about the photo. It is actually from within their family. If I recall right, it is the sister of my wife’s great grandfather, who died in Sweden shortly after the photo was taken in 1880 or some such year. She died mysteriously, they assume from eating poisoned berries, but they aren’t quite sure. But I thought it was pretty interesting that this photo has been passed down for so long, still in quite good condition. It isn’t often that you see photo frames like this, with the bubbled out glass.

I originally wanted her to put her hair in ringlets, but she said it would take 6 hours to do convincingly, so we looked up porcelain doll hair and realized that most of them have carved porcelain hair. Other old dolls had a very wide variety of hair styles, so I decided upon a portion down and portion pulled back in a bun. So she did that while I readied the scene. Then she dressed and I did her makeup. Lit the candles, set up a strobe almost to the front of her, slightly left of her, with a softbox on it and left the overhead ceiling light on. Pretty simple setup, really. I think if I were to do post-processing on this, I would smooth out the skin and makeup to look more porcelain, maybe put a faux shine on her to appear slightly reflective and maybe some other minor edits. I would probably whiten the hands more as well. They have makeup on them also, but it’s hard to tell here. Otherwise, I think this turned out almost exactly how I pictured it in my head.

Porcelain Doll

Porcelain doll © Chris Lane Photo
ISO 500, f/1.8, 1/60. YN560II Flash set at 1/128 I believe. 50mm lens. 5D Mark II

You can see Eje’s work here.
You can see Pete’s work here.
You can see Bruce’s work here.
You can see John’s work here.
You can see Doug’s work here.

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