Recently I got the opportunity to do a bit of a dream shoot. I was commissioned by SPACE Magazine to photograph none other than THE Darth Vader for his recent cover story. The logistics of making this happen were by far the most complicated production I have undertaken. It was decided that I would photograph him aboard his Star Destroyer Executor while it was stationed outside of the Corellian system. I was picked up in an Imperial Shuttle and taken to the ship, which was 40,000 light years away (thank God for hyper drives). We were greeted by a whole squadron of Stormtroopers which of course required the obligatory Stormtrooper selfie.
We found a quiet out-of-the-way hallway to set up lights and a white seamless for our shots as well as a few around some of the nooks and crannies of the ship.
Lighting Vader’s black dome was a significant challenge in itself. It reacts very different to light than the average human face. I was hoping he would be comfortable enough to let his guard down for a few shots without the mask but that was probably a bit overambitious on my part. I did get to play with one of the backup lightsabers though!
We ran through a few different poses and ideas and fit in as much as we could into our allotted 10 minutes. I have heard horror stories of photographers who overstepped their bounds and ended up doing labor in the Spice Mines of Kessel. Luckily I only lost one assistant who unwisely questioned the ways of the force.
In the end they chose this one for the cover and a few more for the feature article. Very excited to see this on stands across the galaxy!
Camera Nerd Info:
Phase One 640 DF+ with P40+ back and Schneider 80mm LS lens.
3 PCB Einsteins with various gels, soft boxes and reflectors.