HOW WE RECREATED THE PICTURE
The original portrait was taken for Vogue in New York City. Penn was renowned for being meticulous about detail, clean lines and shape so we needed to ensure we matched the original as closely as possible. We found a similar looking top for our model from www.prettylittlething.com for £5.
It was important we sourced similar-looking accessories, as it’s the details that help make this image so unique. We bought a hat, fake nails (with stick-on pads) and a fake cigarette from Amazon and the pearl drop earrings came from Claire’s Accessories. The total cost came in at £45 including postage.
We picked our model, Jess, from Gingersnap modelling agency. She had a similar profile to Mary Jane Russell. To replicate her classic 1950s look, we hired a hair and make-up artist. The main focus were the eyes, with a thick, black liner applied along the upper lash and swept out just beyond the outer corner.
We set up a white background like the original and used two Rotolight AEOS LEDs to illuminate it. We positioned one towards the backdrop at full power and another at the front to the right of the model to light her face, which was set to 50% power. Both lights were set to the daylight setting of 5200 Kelvin.
We needed to replicate the angle of the neck and profile, the space between the chin and shoulder, the spaces between arm and torso, plus the angle of the hand, fingers, tongue and cigarette. We can see in this image, that we needed more space between around the arm so we repositioned our model.
6 Choosing the final image
Trying to ensure all the individual elements of the pose came together in one frame took over an hour and 382 frames. While it was tempting to use Photoshop to combine certain elements of one photo with another to match the original, we decided to pick our favourite – a shot we captured towards the end of the shoot.
7 Open in Adobe Camera Raw
We shot raw files to give us greater control during post production and began our workflow in Adobe Camera Raw, Photoshop CC’s raw plug-in. We started with the Crop tool and applied a square crop using the 1 to 1 ratio crop option. Next we selected Black & White Treatment in the Basic panel to convert to mono.
8 Exposure tweaks
The exposure was pretty much spot on but we did reduce it slightly to -0.25 to tone down the skin tone on our model’s face, and increased the Contrast to +29. To adjust the tones we moved over to the Black and White Mix panel. We set the Reds to -25 and Oranges to +14 to replicate the tones in the original.
9 Finishing touches
We opened the image into the main Photoshop editor to make use of Layers and Masks in order to tweak the hat. The brim of our hat wasn’t as wide as the original and needed to be repositioned lower across the face. We selected small sections and copied and pasted them into place and used the Clone tool to tidy up.