• Benjamin Collins

Embracing Harsh Shadows - A Morning with Ali "AliT" Turner



A few years ago, I visited Burlington for one of the first times. My Dad, my brother, and I walked downtown and visited what I thought was a defining area of Burlington. This massive building, with a large patio out back that seemed like a hub of town. A few years later on a gorgeous Friday morning, Ali Turner and I did an entire portrait session with not a single soul around. It was interesting; despite One Main Street being close to downtown, not a single other person was in any of the photos of Ali.



The expansive architecture proved to be fun to work with. Complex shapes and blank walls led to an array of promising backdrops. It was getting colder. It was early in the morning. As a result of the oncoming Vermont winter, the sun cut through the pale blue sky, creating hard shadows, silhouettes, and diagonals across the ground. Shooting in harsh morning light is usually something I have always tried to avoid. Harsh light is unpredictable. It usually leads to unflattering shadows and shapes on the subject. Determined, I decided to see this light as a challenge. I intentionally used the shadows and contrast as much as possible. My first experiment came with having Ali stand along a shadow created by the corner of the building. The resulting image had Ali's face in bright sunlight contrasted with deep shadow.



Using the shadow to create leading lines and shapes enticed me as well. These images of Ali have the shadow leading in towards Ali, establishing her as the focal point of the image. The opportunities were endless in this location, and, if my SD card had not filled up so quickly, I'm sure we would have gotten many many more photos.



This shoot was a real experience for me. Working in harsh morning light forced me to work differently. Something I would normally not have embraced.


These photos are just a set of new photos that recently arrived at my new website. The website is full of unreleased and never-before-seen work from the past 9 months as I have felt no compulsion to share a lot of these until now. If you have a moment, go check out the new site and let me know what you think! Hope you enjoy!


By Ben M. Collins


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