“Blue Light #2” by Fran Forman

My work has been described as ‘photo-painting’. I construct and manipulate images from photographs that I shoot and archive over time.

A colleague and I were teaching a workshop in photo montage in Denver. We were taking our students on a ‘walk-about’ near the studio, appraising and gathering images that could be used in building constructed photo-montages. Ever brazen and curious, I wandered into an empty conference room on an upper floor of a hotel. Fortunately, the door was unlocked. I was immediately attracted to the simplicity of the spare room, and of course, the mid-day Western light was glorious – exactly what I often seek. I dragged away the tables and rearranged the chairs in the room to create more dynamic shadows and to fit within the frame. Although one could see buildings and even mountains through the windows, I later digitally created a solid field of color. It seemed to work with the minimalism of the image.

I had shot the woman a few months before. She’s a playwright and friend who had posed for me while we were on an Artist Residency. I shot many photos of her in various positions, and all with diffused light and minimal shadows. I had posed her in simple attire, because I was interested in the shapes her long legs and arms would form. After some digital manipulation of her figure, she fit perfectly onto the chair. Moreover, I was intrigued with her enigmatic facial expression which express the paradox between beauty and alienation. I placed and altered her so that her beautiful body is obscured by the shadows.

As a woman, former therapist and mother of daughters, I am acutely aware of the shadows that lie beneath the illusory sunny narrative of American life. I think of each image I create as a still in a noir movie, suggesting longing, emptiness, and broken connections, all obscured in shadow.

I’m inspired by many painters, photographers, and cinematographers, and you can see in my work that Edward Hopper is one of them.

What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!

The composition of shapes of light and shadow and the cool tones.

If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?

I wish I had a different chair, maybe one with a less reflective surface.

Fran Forman shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.


Fran Forman, New England, USA


Equipment and settings

Nikon 7200, 24-70 mm lens
iPhone 12 ProMax
All natural light.

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