“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” — Ansel Adams

Joseph Balson

Trapped in a Nightmare

This photo shot in 2017 was featured in Viewbug on April, 2018. It won Top Shot Award in February, 2019.
Trapped in a nightmareBuy prints here: https://joseph-balson.viewbug.com/prints Won Featured. April, 2018. Viewbug. Won Top Shot Award February, 2019 Contest Finalist in Exploring Spirituality Photo Contest, August 2019

It was also reviewed by VisualTheatrics from Photocrowd: “I loved this image as soon as i saw it and without even reading the description i knew exactly the message you were trying to get across, well done I love it its well thought of and the mood really sets the tone for a beautiful but sad message.”

I took this photo in an improvised studio, with a black background and a single continuous LED light source.

It is obviously a composite, so I had to take many photos of my arms, paying attention to the lighting, shadows, and perspective. Some of the arms where shot in multiple exposures in camera to try to get the shadows right, some were shot alone. 

The equipment used was quite basic: a Nikon D3 on a tripod with a wireless remote control, Sigma 28-70mm F/2.8 lens, and only one continuous LED light. 

The editing was a bit challenging, and there is a lot of post processing here. Compositing the arms in a “natural but eerie way” took some time, especially regarding perspective, shadows, and masking between foreground and background. When I was happy with the result, I adjusted the levels, boosted the contrast, and processed the photo in black and white, simulating a Kodak T-MAX 3200 color rendering and grain. 

This photo is part of a short series of nightmares inspired photos, and I leave interpretation and meaning to the viewer’s discretion.