Recreating a famous studio shot

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.


A project that was given to me last week at college was to reference a famous studio shot showing knowledge of lighting and composition to recreate the shot. thus showing my understanding of the studio as an art form and a tool in my photographic arsenal. I instantly started swatting my books and looking on Google as all good researchers do. I came across an artist called Irving Penn who is a famous photographer covering everything from still life to fashion and portraits and many more genre’s.

one image that struck me was this image below   cult-creams-vogue-us-june-1996-photographer-irving-penn

Cult Creams Vogue US, June 1996

I think there is a lot of symbolism in this image I feel that milk is a sign of life and humans and all mammals have survived as a species based on this white nectar. so I was looking to recreate this shot in the studio. However obvious issues arise when talking about throwing milk about in the studio, whether that be electrical wires from the studio strobes or paper back drops that would be sodden by the time I could potentially get the shot I was looking for. I would also need to find and arrange a model that is happy to have milk thrown over her repeatedly. so with this in mind I thought I would put this to the ever growing list of personal projects I would love to shoot and will definitely get to this at a later point.

whilst on Google looking at images of Irving Penn’s i discovered an image that my tutor David Rann had been telling myself and my peer’s that he had seen in an exhibition a few years ago of cigarette butts which had great impact on him at the time.


Irving Penn, Cigarettes, 1999

this not only had a lot of impact on my tutor but at the moment it is very relevant to myself personally and thousands of others over the UK as it is Stoptober. The disgust that the image above is almost a beautifully ironic as no matter how much smokers look at this image with disgust it would never kick an addiction if this is even what the artist is trying to say. I do believe he is trying to make a statement about the addiction that has been fuelled by the media for decades with there propaganda style marketing as shown below from a Marlboro cigarette advert from the 70’s.


there has been many attempt over the last decade of cigarette companies putting images of dried up lungs etc using scare tactics to put people off buying a pack of cigarettes


Graphic Warnings Should Decrease the Smoking-Related Diseases

but as a smoker and current quitter on my 13’th day without a cigarette I have never once acknowledged the images used to remind of something i already know “smoking is bad for you” with the support of the Stoptober campaign I have been off cigarettes for 13 days and will continue to do this. I am using e-cigarettes as an aid to wean myself off the chemical addiction to nicotine and once I am on 0% nicotine I will attempt to kick the hand habit. this got me thinking about the clarity and clean manner in which e cigarettes are both in aesthetics and health. so I though I would recreate the image of Irving Penn’s, cigarettes, 1999 with e-cigarettes and all the various paraphernalia. I think the direct contrast will make for  punchy impact and message. I will lay them out in more of an organised manner as opposed to the strewn fashion of the cigarettes in Penn’s image to show the clarity and focus that a person currently quitting has in terms of lighting I feel a single soft-box or beauty dish to give a soft shadow off the items in frame with an off white backdrop will do the job but I will look at this in more detail when I get into the studio.



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