The Accidental Strobist

Sometimes you do things without even knowing that you did it. Take the above image of a 21-year-old artist. I forget his name considering that I made the image back in 1991 but I do know that he was very talented. The reason the brush is in his mouth is that he was paraplegic and painted using his mouth. The painting behind him was his self portrait showing himself without his wheelchair.

I made the image using two Vivitar 285HV flashes. One to the left with a red gel and the other to the right that covered the left of his face and the painting in the background. At the time I did not use a flash meter even though I was shooting chrome (slide film). Needless to say, I shot a lot of film to make sure I had the right exposure.

Even back then I loved playing with strobes but I really did not know what exactly I was doing. I often wonder if anyone back then even thought about what they were doing would one day become the method that everyone now calls “strobist“.

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