Michael Thompson’s “La Grande Adalisque” with Julianne Moore

This portrait taken in 2003 for the cover of American Photograph magazine pays tribute to Jean-Auguste Ingres’ famous 19th-century painting La Grande Adalisque. Michael was originally supposed to shoot Julianne in a couture dress, but was so inspired by her flawless skin, he switched directions.

This is lit with one (count it, one) light.

Camera: Pentax 67 II with 90mm lens and Kodak Portra 160 film, set on a tripod 3m back. Shot at 1/30, f8, ISO 100.

Lighting: The key light is a large octabank at f8 set 2,5m  to camera left and slightly in front. Michael added an extra diffuser to soften the light even more.

Comments: The final select here was taken moments before the scraggly tree caught on fire (the prop stylist had positioned it too close to the oil lamp). Which then fell into the blue curtain, which set ablaze. No one was hurt and the fire was quickly extinguished, but many happy onlookers ogled in joy as a naked Julianne Moore ran outside the studio. “Wow, she really does have amazing skin,” was heard more than once.The pose of Julianne is slightly different than the one on the painting. I think that Julianne, for me, is to skinny for this kind of picture, I like the Rubens-type 🙂

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