In Like Flynn

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Errol Flynn 1909-59

Photographer Not recorded. 1937

Degree of difficulty: Easy, except for retouching (I light)

Errol Leslie I homson Flynn was a hell-raiser of the deepest dve. who shared a house known as Cirrhosis-by-the-Sea with David Niven. As far as we know, he is the only major Hollywood star ever to hail from Tasmania.

We chose this portrait, rather than one of the more obvious costume shots, partly because it illustrates an interesting technique and partly because costume shots on set are of limited use to the photographer who wants to re-create a portrait with another subject. If the set costs thousands to reproduce, this will render the lighting of academic interest to most portrait photographers.

Note how the pipe i\ seriously out of focus: if it were in the plane or focus, it would cast an extremely awkward shadow. Anyone trying to re-create thi* picture with roll film or V5 mm would have to decide for themselves whether to use a very wide aperture and leave the pipe out of focus, or to keep it in focus, li would also be possible to make a case for using a weak backlight to provide more roundness in the pipe.

The picture is heavily retouched and it w disputable how much of the smoke was actually there on the unrctouchcd negative. On the other hand, the shape of the nose and cheeks was achieved by lighting alone, and the effect is well worth studying.

A single spot i\ flagged to a tall, thin strip of light by using two flags. The light is slightly behind Mr Flynn s face, though obviously, the final effect was almost certainly achieved by asking him to move his head slightly rather than by moving the flags.

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