Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sen. Barry Goldwater Portrait

See portraits on my web site,

This is the late Senator Barry Goldwater. This photograph is currently housed in the National Archives of the Smithsonian Institutions, National Portrait Gallery Washington, D.C. It is featured prominently as the closing photograph to the HBO documentary film Mr. Conservative and has been published in several publications including Arizona Highways. This is the last formal portrait of the Senator prior to his death in 1998.

This is how I made the portrait. I posed him in a profile because his face is so defined by the strength of his bone structure. I have seen him with the bulldog cane prior to the shoot so I asked him to sit with it. That cane is definitive Goldwater that also mimicked his own caricature in the portrait. It was a must for this portrait.

The image was made using an 8 X 10 inch Deardorff view camera with a 360 mm Rodenstock lens and Fuji Provia film. The photograph was taken in the living room of his Phoenix home.

I was given 20 minutes with the Senator, so I had to do some pre-visualization and have all may lights and camera already set up in my truck before I got there. I had 2 assistants to insure things happened efficiently.

This is a three light set up using a Comet 2400-watt power supply. The backlight is high above illuminating the flagstone wall. I used a spot grid on the light to control the spill and added a 1/2 CTO to warm it up. The main light is off to the extreme right using a medium Wafer soft box with a 1/3 CTO inside the box to warm the light. I wanted to rim light him giving the illusion of window light. The third light is just to me left side shooting through scrims to give a little fill. The shadow side of his face is 1 stop darker than the main light.

The 360 mm lens is also called a 15inch lens. This is important when figuring bellows factors. In this case my bellows was racked out to 18 inches. This gave me a 1/3stop bellows factor. This means to get the proper exposure, I had to open the lens 1/3 of a stop due to light fall off inside the bellows. I wanted an f-stop of 22 to give me the depth of field I wanted which was about 1 1/4 inches at this distance. Instead of opening the lens I added power to my lights. My highlight meter reading was F-22 1/3 so my final exposure was 125 @ f-22. Remember this is all hand held metering; there is no chimping with an 8 X 10.


deannadent said...

I always remember seeing this at Tempe Camera and thinking wow . . . from when I was sixteen or so I think :)

Brad Armstrong said...

How time fly's. I think the photograph is still there. Thanks Deanna.

SmartAz said...

I'm so happy you have this image (and Marshall Trimble) here.

You are a wonderful photographer (and a great friend).