Meatlocker Process - Part One
Hyperbole, Caricature , and the Performer
I'll start off saying I'm an amateur photographer. I have a lot of enthusiasm, but anything I know about photoshop and photography is pretty much self taught.... so... constructive, alternate, supportive opinions about the process following are most welcome, even desired.
Since I'm working with actors rather than models, there is a tendency to conceive/discuss progress using cinematic terms. Even if we are using the camera... our product is a graphic novel (or comic book it you will). Although, both cinema and graphic novels seem similar as narrative forms, there are some key differences worth noting as we move forward.
One thing most folks with a interest in acting on film know is that generally 'less is more' when it comes to performance. In much film work you need to create a visual world that aids in the spectators' ability to believe what they are seeing is possible. This has lead to a very measured approach, Stanislavsky's approach where there is a direct connect to the world around us as we see it. Genre Film making can allow for a wider array, an expanded palette of expression if you will...but over the previous century, film has attempted to capture a photo realistic moment and the actors performances are an extension of that. There's Jack Lemmon's anecdote about a director (Billy Wilder?) who after multiple takes asked the actors to be less animated...finally Lemmon exclaimed "If I give you any less, I wont be acting at all!" to which the director retorted "Brilliant! That's what I want! roll em!". So, when a camera is used, the initial response from a seasoned, experienced performer is to be 'real'.
But, the graphic novel is a narrative exercise in cartooning. Most cartooning captures abstract or obtuse expression and gestures. Cartooning/Caricature require exaggeration.
So, when shooting your performers' photographic source images, you may to want to aim for the opposite of 'real'. Always get some 'real' shots (you may need them), but also be sure to ask the performer to hyperbolize for a couple of shots as well..
Talk with your performers about how animated characters move and walk and talk. Of course, no human can make their mouth grin as wide as the Cheshire cat, but encourage them to go over board for a couple of pictures. That will better enable you make their portraits into Caricature which is what you are going to want.