Andy Warhol photography has been an obsession of mine for a long time since I first saw his raw portrait of Debbie Harry. He often worked with one light, usually bare bulbed but most of all, low budget and unapologetic. Andy Warhol often shot in his Factory, and his subjects varied from famous models to brilliant actors to drag queens, all of his work being spur of the moment and typically unplanned. He worked often with Billy Name, who actually was the man behind the camera, while Warhol directed.
When my instructor Wolfgang Hastert surprised the class with this Andy Warhol photography emulation shoot, I couldn’t have been more excited. He gave us no time to prepare, and we used each other for models and extra hands to hold the lights. We weren’t allowed to set up our expensive Profoto’s, instead, he came equipped with tons of handy-man style bowl lights with raw bulbs and foam boards typically used for packing boxes. Low budget as low budget can get.
We cranked up the Jefferson Airplane and proceeded to get weird in the studio, using whatever we could find as props in the prop box and what we brought to class with us that day. We used bubbles, shoes, large hats, and played with shadows and light to create interesting shapes and silhouettes. This ended up being one of my ten five favorite shoots I did the whole time I was in college, considering how little thought went into it we didn’t have time to get creativity blocked. We just experimented and moved, not stuck in our typical shoot set ups where the lighting positions are perfect and models are stuck to a point on the floor taped down for them. Maybe these pictures aren’t on the same level to be put in with an Andy Warhol Photography book, but our instincts and intention sure was that day.