by Gary Fong
Photographer: Bill Bangham,CommissionStories.com
Click photo to enlarge
Good photos don’t just happen…they’re made. For decades, Bill Bangham, a storyteller for CommissionStories, followed the sun to every corner of the world that would allow him to set foot in country…including a few that didn’t.
His camera opened the doors to hearts that were closed. His mission is to illuminate the stories of quiet voices, the world could not hear.
His most recent project took him to Prague, for a story about Lenka Wienersova, a former actress, former mime, and the former Miss Deaf Europe. She’s now teaching signing to hearing and non-hearing students.
But what does one do if the pictures are not there to shoot? One waits until the situation is conducive to image making.
It was obvious that Bangham and a videographer needed to see her working with students. But in a dark dank classroom, the lighting is horrible. Still and video photographers can work together…or against each other, depending how friendly they are.
Bangham could pop his strobe, but it would distract the subject and video recording. Or he could use the ambient TV lights from the video setup.
Now for the Nit Picking
Bill probably said to his friendly video guy, “sure…go a head, set up your lights”. Under his breath he thought, “it’ll save me from setting up mine.”
If using daylight-balanced media, the difference between video lights at 3400K and strobe lights at 6000K, is the difference between warm light and neutral light. In other words, if one uses a digital camera balanced for daylight, shooting under tungsten 3400K balanced light, the image will appear warmer…in some cases, yellow.
That’s why, in the OLD days of film, (Bangham is VERY VERY familiar with film, having only recently migrated to digital), when shooting family photos under a common household lamps, the over all scene appears yellowish.
The Lenka signing image is yellowish for the same reason. It’s all right, if one likes the Tungsten feeling with a Daylight balanced camera. But it’s also nice to shoot the proper color balance with the proper white balance setting.
His excuse might be the eons catching up to his proper age. But Mr. Bangham, it’s as easy as throwing that extremely heavy white balance switch from Daylight to Tungsten…yes, yes, I know its soooo heavy for your arthritic fingers. …Click.
In the deaf community, everyone is given a personal sign, including people who can hear. It allows signing conversation to talk quickly, without the need to spell each name. The videographer had an extremely oval face, so they gave him the sign for “pointed head”. The writer fell off a chair, he became the sign for “falling off a chair”. Bill’s sign was “smile”, for the photographer.