Projector Photography: A Couple’s Project

 In Articles, film photography, modeling, Personal Project, Projects

Hello 4381 Productions,

Has anyone ever even heard of projector photography? Filmmakers and artists have been using projection technology since the early days of cinema to enhance the feeling of escapism one gets from watching a film. It has propelled that sense of escapism into new heights by taking and showing audiences things they never thought possible. Take for instance King Kong (1933), in the climatic battle sequence between Kong and a T-Rex, we see Ann Darrow (played by Fay Wray) sitting on top of a tree branch while this clash of titans occurs in the background. Now for anyone who has seen or is familiar with this film you’ll know that Kong is a puppet, along with the T-Rex. It would’ve been nearly impossible and incredibly time consuming for the crew to have made an actual 18 foot tall gorilla puppet for this sequence, so instead they use a bit of movie magic (oooooh). The battle between Kong and the dinosaur was completely stop motion animated and filmed before the Fay Wray ever sat on that branch. When the day came to film the full scene, the crew had put up a massive screen to project the stop motion battle in the background while Wray played the damsel in distress (link to scene below). I think this is a magnificent and revolutionary idea that would go on to be used in many future films until the invention of computer generated models took over. My girlfriend and I are avid Pinterest users and when I was talking to her about how much I admired projection in film/photography, she came up with an excellent idea. She had seen on Pinterest, many photographers using a projector to create mind-bending portraits that add so much more flair than any lighting or editing could do.  So, of course we wanted to try it out.  Below are some of my favorite shots she took, completely unedited, using only a small LED light source, and obviously a projector. This project was a ton of fun with very little effort put into it that yielded great results. I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t messed around with projection photography to give it a shot. You don’t need a fancy projector or lights to pull this off, just whatever you can scrape together and a can-do attitude should suffice. I hope you enjoy.

Kong fight:

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  • Kevin Reynolds

    All I can think of with projectors used in film, is when filmmakers project whatever someone is looking at on a screen back onto their face. That’s not how computer monitors/screens work and it completely pulls me out of the scene.

    Also, that photo of you with the bug/moth/fly/thing on you is awesome and creepy!

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