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14_LowKey Lighting_ YouDoVoodoo PollyBrown
Low-Key Lighting© Polly Brown

A Photo Series Exploring the Trials and Tribulations of Studio Lighting

In the first of a new three-part series entitled PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER, Polly Brown explores the elusive world of studio lighting techniques, to varied results

Lead ImageLow-Key Lighting© Polly Brown

The internet is a treasure trove of learn-it-at-home knowledge – not least if you are a photographer looking to hone oft-discussed but rarely mastered ‘professional’ techniques. Enter Polly Brown, and her aptly titled new series PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER – a three-part series presenting a sardonic step-by-step guide to career photography, as explored through its core elements: the lights, the cameras, and the photographer.

The first instalment, pictured here and entitled YOU DO VOODOO, focuses on the illusory techniques of studio lighting. Layering found instructional images and her own reenactments, Brown’s project revels playfully in the mystique of technical set-up, and their seemingly unattainable effects.

It is a tongue-in-cheek, mistake-ridden guide to self-taught photography – knowingly flawed and utterly entertaining. The images mix painfully stretched jpegs with home-made set-ups shot on medium-format film, poking fun at online tutorials and their translation into real-world manifestations. They miss the mark of their magical promise, yes, but hit another one entirely.