people walking in stream and canyon in zion national park

MUZAH 2019-Staged or not staged?

Our MUZAH photography class is quite a mess at the moment. First due to holidays, field trips not yet taken and cancellation of public events that we had hoped to photograph. Then, of course, due to the government directive to cancel all classes and clubs in an attempt to limit the spread of CoVid-19.

In our last class session three weeks ago, we had intended to visit a photographer’s studio in Tel Aviv, but that was postponed. Instead, we spent the first half of the evening discussing staged portraits, with examples by photographers Arthur Tress, Adi Nes and Jeff Wall. This came on the heels of our earlier lesson where we discussed the staged photography of Gregory Crewdson, Jessica Todd Harper and others.

In the second half of our evening lesson, our instructor challenged us to create a staged group portrait and light it using the museum’s lighting equipment. Two members of our class took turns directing the rest of us as we posed and then set up the lighting while one class member photographed. While there are no photos to share, I can say that both were interesting exercises. In the first, four people stood facing in different directions but not interacting, while two people on the side looked to be whispering to one another. The second directed scene had everyone sitting down at a table and either raising their cup or arguing with one another. Our instructor watched from the side and gave us pointers on how lighting can change the mood of the image. What created the most interest was the interaction of the “actors” to one another and how the scene was lit.

Needless to say everyone is anxious to get back to their usual routine. We are all supposed to be in quarantine to help stop the spread of the virus, and only go out for essentials, like medications and food. But like everywhere else there are those who simply cannot or will not adhere to the government’s emergency directives. We are self-isolating as much as possible to avoid contact (we are in one of the sensitive groups), but being indoors non-stop is not good either for our physical health or our psyche, so I am very grateful we have a small balcony to sit on and we throw our windows open as soon as possible after we wake up.

The only other experience my hubby and I have where we are together 24/7 is when we are on an extended holiday, with the addition of daily cooking. We’re trying to keep that positive feeling and looking back at our holiday photos really helps. It also helps to remember that this, too, shall pass. Wishing us all continued good health!