Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ilsa, Queen of the Nazi Love Camp

Calgary based theatre troupe One Yellow Rabbit brought back the show Ilsa, Queen of the Nazi Love Camp for a run in March and April. They also brought back the original promotional poster that Trudie Lee shot roughly 20 years ago.

The show and the poster were instrumental in kickstarting a nascent arts scene in the cultural wasteland that was Calgary in the late '80s.

Actress Denise Clarke who plays Ilsa in the play, remembers those times.

"It was a bust. Brutal scene in Calgary. We stayed for three things. A, We loved it here and it was ours, B, surrounding us was this redneck racist attitude as a province that we wanted to change and C, really cheap to live."

"The decision made perfect sense to bring the poster back. It's such a great poster and I still look the same and so do Michael and Andy. I love that poster I always thought we captured a really good attitude with edginess and sexiness and darkness."

Photographer Trudie Lee, remembers the poster well.

"That poster really helped to define me as Calgary's theatre arts photographer."

Trudie was in Banff from 1986-88 and it's there that she met and starting working with the Rabbits. "It was the beginning for all of our careers," said Trudie.

"It was a really exciting time. The first Rabbit show I ever shot production stills for was called Tears of a Dinosaur. Ronnie Burkett, was part of this show, such an amazing guy. Calgary was just starting to get into alternative theatre and the Rabbits were where it was at."

While the image is old Clarke still looks back fondly at those times.

"I'm remembering that we just had a ball. Mind you we always have fun with Trudie. We go way back. She's been photographing me for 20 years."

At the time it was more than just a play. Alberta was in the throes of the Keegstra case. James Keegstra was a high school teacher and the mayor of Eckville who taught his social studies students that the Holocaust was a fraud and attributed various evil qualities to Jews. He described Jews to his pupils as "treacherous", "subversive", "sadistic", "money-loving" and "child killers". According to Keegstra, Jews "created the Holocaust to gain sympathy" and, in contrast to the open and honest Christians, were said to be deceptive, secretive and inherently evil. Keegstra expected his students to reproduce his teachings in class and on exams. If they failed to do so, their marks suffered.

And while Ilsa, Queen of the Nazi Love Camp is a black musical satire with singing and dancing with Colonel Klinkesque Nazi's, there are moments where the Holocaust is acknowledged.

"It was political. It was radical in its form. The audience is challenged quite dramatically," said Clarke.

Trudie, being a Jew herself, liked the idea of taking part of something that poked fun at Nazi Germany.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Layer Painting Tutorial

See and learn how Brian Harder enhances his commercial landscape work with Photoshop in this tutorial.

Worth noting is that Brian received this assignment after all the leaves had fallen off the trees.

If you have any questions about the process just ask in the comments.



Monday, April 7, 2008

One Light Isn't Enough

While HarderLee Photography is always working to get the client's the best pictures they can there's always fun to be had.

We wanted to illustrate and show you, the reader, what kind of tools the professional commercial photographers at HarderLee Photography use.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Reports of my death have been...

To loosely quote Mark Twain, reports of my death have been... somewhat exaggerated.

After a four month sojourn that took our intrepid webmaster through the depths of Burmese jungle, the heights of the Himalayas and even ... south side Edmonton, he has returned.

So fear not loyal readers. The blog is back.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Gear - Light Modifiers

This is a continuing series of posts on the gear that the professional photographers at HarderLee studios use.

Lights are good and all but they're not much use if you're just nuking your subject straight on. Light modifiers like the ones below help Brian and Trudie control the light in order to get the final result they want.

- 2 Profoto beauty dishes
- 3 Westcott
"60 silver umbrellas
- 4 Westcott "45 silver umbrellas
- 1 Wafer
42 x 36 softbox
- 1 Photoflex Halfdome strip light
- 1 Wafer monster softbox
- 2 Photoflex medium softboxes
- 12 gridspots of varying degree
- 3 binders of gels
- 2 flags
- 1 gold/white roll up reflector
- 3 pop-out silver/white reflectors, various sizes

Trudie is a big fan of the beauty dish and uses it quite frequently.

"It's a flattering light source. It gives common things a real sparkle. I like that it gives some snap but it's also soft enough to be flattering," says Trudie.

"I was really into the big, big umbrellas for a while but I like to change things up."

Brian splits his time between softboxes and umbrellas, depending on the size of the subjects.



PS - A bunch of top of the line gear isn't going to make you a better photographer. You must be original, creative and most importantly, produce great work. Great photos are made everyday by super-talented shooters with bare-bones gear. This feature is meant to show you, the reader, what Brian Harder and Trudie Lee use in their travails as professional photographers, not a list of the latest and greatest kit. We hope you find it educational.