Rising Light is a monthly article series highlighting promising photography students from all over the world. In this forth article we meet Sam Wallander, at the Rochester Institute of Technology, who is in constant search for his next narrative.
Born and raised in Cincinnati Ohio, Sam Wallander entered the Rochester Institute of Technology, better known as RIT, at the urging of one of his high school teachers. Sam has a background in art and he believes the nature of photography goes hand-in-hand with his previous illustration interests. He says the photographic process truly resonates with him and feels, for lack of better words, natural.
A long-time fan of Vogue Magazine – not to mention the one publication he hopes to shoot for – Samis a big believer in narratives. It is a word that comes up frequently when discussing his work. There’s always a narrative, or a thread running through features that appear in Vogue.
During his time at RIT, Sam has incorporated all manners of professional cameras and lighting gear into his personal workflow and he readily acknowledges the importance of controlled lighting.
“Lighting is pretty much everything. It separates one photographer from another. We all light differently and if you know how to sculpt the light you can control the viewer’s eye, you can affect what the viewer ‘sees’.”
One of Sam’s favorite images is the mixed-lighting photograph of a model standing in front of a diorama of a wooly mammoth at the Rochester Museum of Science and History. The size of the set challenged him to work with available light to fill the background and open the shadow areas. Fortunately the exhibit was lit with tungsten lamps, which have a warm tonality that melds easily with the cooler daylight-balanced strobes.
Sam set up a pair of Pro-7b 1200 Battery Generator with Profoto ProHead Plus flash heads to the left and right of the model, each with a Profoto HR Softbox Octa 5′ positioned about 10-13 feet from ground level. After establishing the flash exposure, he slowed the shutter speed in order to allow the proper exposure time for the tungsten lamps. The resulting light is engagingly illustrative while remaining plausibly realistic.
When asked what he perceives as his greatest challenge, Sam let’s out a short hardy laugh. Not that he thinks the question is silly or hokey, but simply because of his manner of browbeating himself.
“I really strive to make the best out of every picture, but I have to learn to be patient… Some things take time”.
Photographer: Sam Wallander
Profoto gear of choice: Pro-7b 1200
Visit his website: www.samwallander.com