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We’ve featured Victoria Taylor-Gore a couple of times here on planet5D (here’s “The Drive” (one of my favorites)), and when we saw her latest film “Approach” we just had to find out more and Victoria has provided this guest post. She shoots on a Canon EOS 7D and uses simple figurines and a simple setup (with very carefully selected music) to tell a story.

Victoria is an artist who’s turned to HDSLR video – here’s a brief bio:

I received a BFA in 1983 from West Texas A & M University, and then in 1985 I went to the University of California, Santa Barbara for my MFA. I have exhibited my work professionally for the past 20 years …primarily in Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico, but also in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, and recently in China.

I currently teach both traditional and online classes in drawing, painting, art history and art appreciation at Amarillo College in Texas.


Approach: Victoria Taylor-Gore

The inspiration for this video started when I recently discovered an “Imagination Doll House” by Louis Marx and Company on Ebay. The Imagination Doll House was a 1960’s modular 1:24 scale doll house with transparent plastic walls and ceilings – made to configure in different arrangements. It came with a family of figures, two of which are in my video.


Approach

I recognized the colored plastic walls from the wonderful photographic work of Anne Garland (www.luminousplayhouse.com/). I have admired her work, which was pointed out to me after I began my miniature series of videos several years ago. I loved the way the light played through the colored transparent plastic in her photographs, but had no idea which dollhouse she was photographing in her work.

So there was the Marx Imagination Doll House on Ebay, and I purchased it along with a few more accessories that harmonized with the doll house – like the great black modern chair that contrasts with the white plastic figures. I didn’t plan to assemble the dollhouse and use it as it was designed. Rather, I used the modular elements in arrangements as I needed them.

More color and atmosphere was added to the stage with colored glass vases that I purchased at a local hobby store – they reminded me of modern columns that could be used in the set. I had been using a large Lazy Susan in my sets for a few years as well as some rotating displays. The Lazy Susan made a wonderful large round modern floor or platform for the colored plastic walls from the Imagination doll house and the colored glass vases. I also used a cut out sheet of curling patterns that I got at a hobby store, as well as some colored gels to create a complementary background for the miniature set. I put the cut out paper and colored gels in plastic sheet holders for support.

The “set” for “Approach” – note the really ‘expensive’ lighting setup

I loved what the camera and lens did with the light and images through the colored plastic walls and glass vases. I shot the video with a Canon EOS 7D and a Tokina 16-50mm f2.8 lens – set on f/2.8 most of the time to achieve a mysterious mood with the shallow depth of field. The video was edited in Premiere Pro CS6 with only slight levels adjustment.

I worked on a table top, and a put tri-fold cardboard display with the middle section cut out and fabric stretched over it behind the set for a background and reflector (I also have used this to diffuse light in other situations). Lighting was just warm and cool temperature bulbs in small lamps around the miniature set that created color contrast on the figures and shadows. You see, with all the money I invest in vintage sets, there is very little left to invest in camera gear and lighting!

As far as the story goes – it developed as I photographed the set and figures. I decided to use the “body language” of the two figures – which in this case is the directional gaze and placement of the small man and woman. I decided to have distance between them at first, and then bring them together as the video progressed…all the while “dancing” in circles on the rotating Lazy Susan. The music selection was something that suggested the 1960’s and had a sultry, sexy tone with just a bit of melancholy (music – “Alley” by Alex Beaulieu). I have considered my work as moving photographs more than any type of film. Framing is very carefully thought out, and I have tried to use the best composition I can for the mood I want to achieve.

There will be more videos in this series, so please check my Vimeo channel for future works.

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)