Dan Winters Portrait Project
This portrait was probably one of the most involved shoots to date within my self-portrait project. Being from Canada, I thought it may be impossible to find the flag, so I didn’t decide to go with Winter’s image of Arnold until I could lock in a flag that could be used. While I have relied on photoshop in the past to adjust these portraits to better resemble the original, for now, the more I can get in camera, the prouder I am. I owe Facebook and my good friend Myron Hyrak for the use of his large oversized American flag. Myron works in the film industry as a production designer, so I wasn’t surprised when he said he had one.
With the flag acquired I started thrift shopping for the tie and jacket. I found a jacket with a similar enough cut/look at a local goodwill for nine dollars. The top button was much lower than the jacket Arnie is wearing and so, for the shot, I used a safety pin to close the top and photoshopped the button in place (by using the lower button out of frame). The tie was another difficult hurdle, I couldn’t for the life of me find anything local. I first ordered a 2.00 dollar tie from China, but I received an email 4 days after the order stating they didn’t have it and canceled the order, (thanks for taking your time to let me know!) My good friend Alaina out of Greenville South Carolina DM’d me an amazon link to a tie that would ship in 2 days to my doorstep. It wasn’t identical to Arnie’s but it looked like it would match the reds of the flag I had better, and so I pulled the trigger on buying it; two days later I had my tie.
This was pretty simple, the key light is a beauty dish camera right, no diffusion - reading at F16. Winter’s is known for his use of a ring flash for fill, and that’s definitely what he used in this shot. I don’t own one, so to substitute that, I took a second small beauty dish with a deflector dish inside and one layer of diffusion on I placed it directly behind the camera, pressed right up to the back of it. I wasn’t happy with the amount of shadow I was getting on the camera left cheek, instead of increasing the fill power… and losing more shadow off the flag, I grabbed a tiny white fill card and placed it just off camera left angled towards my darker side.
As you may be able to tell, the flag in Winter’s shot is a heavy canvas or cloth flag, with subtle gorgeous stitching. My flag was no such thing, it was a very thin nylon material, and because of that - see through. To remedy this, I ended up hanging up a large white muslin cloth. This helped out a ton.
The last hurdle. The bubble, and yes, that is all in camera, I went through two packs of hubba bubba and by the end of the shoot my jaw was insanely exhausted. Did you know that bubble gum loses it’s ‘blowing bubble ability’ after a very short time? I think I knew that back in the day, but almost pushing 40 years of age now, my bubble gum chewing days are very much over. I will say this, if I even smell pink hubba bubba gum for the next couple of months, I may throw up.
Fun fact: back in my sketch comedy days, we wrote a song about Arnold Schwarzenegger, and ‘ode’ if you will. You had to be there.