Creating the Photograph: Benjamin Von Wong’s “Redemption”


Editor’s Note: Creating the Photograph is an original series where we interview photographers about a photo that they shot and how it was achieved. The results are some knowledge passed on to you. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com

Benjamin Von Wong is a conceptual photographer hailing from Montreal, Canada, whose work is constantly pushing the boundaries of reality. In a recent shoot for a friend and body artist, Von Wong received a downpour of positive responses via Facebook and 500px. Only to be bested by a photo of a cute kitten. This set in motion the idea to visualize two completely separate concepts and see which gathered more of a public reaction. We are featuring the shot “Redemption”, but definitely check out Benjamin’s blog post to see the full story.

The Concept

The concept behind the shot was to feature the Henna from Alliebee Henna in the most explosive way possible. Since I was a fire breather, she thought that it would be the best way to feature her work so she came over to my place one night and painted all over me.

The Gear

The shot was taken by my assistant, Claude Campagna Lupien. He had my Nikon D800E equipped with a 24-70mm f2.8 Nikkor. For lighting we used the Elinchrom Ranger Quadra system in conjuction with a Pocketwizard trigger to hypersync at 1/800th of a second.

The Shoot


What’s fun about shooting with fire is that it acts as a light source in and of itself. The problem though is that it’s an explosion and requires a very fast sync speed to capture the motion in the flame. That’s where Hypersync came in. Since we found ourselves in a very moist sand pit, it would have been a waste not to light up the floor a little bit so we slapped a CTO gel on the Ranger Quadra head and slapped it behind me to light up the ground behind me and create a very interesting textured pattern. From there, once all the settings and composition were decided on it was just trail and error.




The post work was really about adding a little bit of volume to the flame. For the chosen composition an edge to edge flame was going to be more impressive so I stole bits of flame from other outtakes and combined them into the image. Besides that, the standard dodge/burn and fine tuning of the Henna design itself was all that was required.

Final Version

Final Version

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