Getting selected for the bench isn’t always a bad thing, especially when you’re a lawyer. Several weeks ago my friend the delightful Lynne Harrison told me she’d been shoulder-tapped to make the transition from bar to bench. That is, the Governor General was about to sign her judge’s warrant, appointing her to the district court with a family court warrant. To celebrate the good news, Lynne asked me to make some portraits of her. The ideal place would have been outside Dunedin’s historic court building. Our changeable climate and the tight deadline meant that might not be the most bankable plan, so we decided on a studio session. However just before Lynne’s appointment here in the studio of World Domination League HQ, some beautiful winter morning sun was raking the old building, so I popped down the street and harvested a few quick shots. I’m comfortable getting backlit or dark field composites to look okay, but the more natural daylight look can be a bit more of a challenge to get the light to tie in. Not the usual careful planning I like to make for compositing, but worth a try.
Back at base camp, I wanted to get Lynne a variety of looks and feels, so asked her to bring a change of clothes and any props she wanted. Being on good terms with one of Dunedin’s oldest law firms, she was able to borrow a historic barristers wig in its box and also a gown. I set up some suitably majestic lighting and first up, got some simple shots of Lynne looking suitably judicial. Then it was time to have a little bit of fun. We thought the barrister’s gown might have had the potential to take us into Batman territory if we played around too much, but I got Lynne to play with the wig a little and got some beautiful pictures of her reflecting on a career in law. Some of these looked particularly good in black and white.
Next, a splash more colour. For these I reduced the lighting on one side, with a mind to experimenting with putting her into the very directionally lit courthouse background later on. Lynne’s dress shared some hues with one of the painted wrought iron fixtures of the exterior and just helped tie her into one scene a little bit.
Happy that we got some nice stuff in a pretty easy and short appointment, I let Lynne get back to the huge business of packing up her law practice and preparing for the move to her new job in New Plymouth while I experimented with a couple of movie poster looks for fun. I really wanted Lynne to have something to remind her of her time in Dunedin. The courthouse exteriors are nice, but my favourite is one that put her inside Dunedin Railway station. There’s something about the warm light in there I love.
And there, m’Lud, the prosecution rests.
Well, not quite. This case has a sequel. As a thank you to the firm who lent us the props, Lynne asked me to create something rather special. For that story, the court will reconvene after a short recess.