Photographing The Gothic

This work is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. | Source

A Gothic point of view is a photographic project which focuses on recording of images of things that relate or represent Gothic motifs. People and their Gothic fashion styles, their alternative lifestyles, Gothic architecture, music, and anything from this culture which symbolizes the Gothic lifestyle and the overall style of doing things.

The Gothic subculture, as it sometimes referred to, is very ample in what it encompasses with a large variety of subjects and unlike the popular belief that everything is dark or black, it comes in all colors of darkness.

Goth fashion accessories might include coffin-shaped bags, its followers or practitioners may visit cemeteries, enjoy dark humor, ghosts regalia or horror, wear spider-web gloves and skull ornaments.

Many will sport painted or tattooed designs on their body such as upside down crosses and other Gothic motifs.

Many goths enjoy artistic pursuits such as writing poetry, drawing, painting, making their own clothes and making music. Quite often the work of these Gothic artists is dark in its style and presentation.

Your subjects can be followers of the style if they are willing to pose for you or hired models dressed in Gothic regalia. You should also record images of several of the Gothic body wears such as jewelry.

Hair styles are usually very distinct and mostly done in black or very vivid colors and because of their uniqueness make good photographic subjects.

Other subjects suitable for photographing would be statutes of mythical beings such as vampires, gargoyles, demons, ghosts and such. However not every one who describes himself as Gothic likes everything associated with the movement and not everything associated or thought of as being Gothic in nature is.

"Gothic: Of or pertaining to a literary style of fiction prevalent in the late 18th and early 19th centuries which emphasized the grotesque, mysterious, and desolate: a gothic novel. [This is the relevant definition in the dictionary. Think of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the works of Edgar Allen Poe.]" Gothic subculture.com

With this description and hopefully a better understanding of what Gothic is, photographing images of Gothic representations should not be that difficult.

Also keep in mind that like any photographic project your images should be obtained in a sensible way and with respect to anyone involved. everyone is different and it is this precise difference that is worth recording through photography.

Most of these images should be done in a darkened environment representative of the style so your technique should be similar to that of night photography involving long shutter speeds, tripods and patience or careful use of flash.

Be creative and add some colored lights to create colored backgrounds, use reflectors to bounce some of the available light back into the subject.

If doing your shooting in the studio, then using a photographic snoot is highly recommended to aim a specific narrow light beam onto the subject while leaving the rest of the scene semi darkened.

You can use flash outdoors but lower its potency or restrict the beam so that it only illuminates the subject. If however your subjects should present themselves at any time, then do go ahead and take the shot.

 This work is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. | Source
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. | Source

Approach the photography like any other subject; try to make your images technically sound and pleasant to look and use you artistic inclinations. In other words add your touch.

Gothic portraits should be done like any other portrait with the less light variation and perhaps different backgrounds from what are typically used.

For jewelry and accessories, the use of a dark to black background works better.

Do close ups and regular shots, try various angles and different perspectives. Consider taking some shots on a monochrome format since the theme is apt for it.

If you are digitally inclined try manipulating some images to add tint or play with the color and brightness or adding a touch of color into an otherwise monochrome scene.

Good images can be submitted, like any other quality shot, to the many photographic stock houses as well as other general publications. Images can also be sold at art shows and as individual prints.

Like most photographic projects this is yet another way that allows one to practice the art of photography and continue to experiment and grow within the medium. Take advantage of every opportunity that you are afforded to photograph.

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© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez

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Comments 9 comments

Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

I like the Gothic look, but I find when I am depressed I use similar color makeup and nail polish. When I am fine wear brighter, more normal colors.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Cardisa: Different looks for different moods, that's perfectly normal....still waiting for you to post some pictures of your hometown


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

I have been so busy but it will give me a change to get out of the house a bit. I promise I will, maybe sometime this weekend.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Cardisa: Great...I love your beaches, your towns, the people, the ladies, the food, did I say the ladies?..the coconut rum, the ladies...Oh I said that already...oops.

Well it's true!!!


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

Well Luis, I am glad you like the ladies and the rum and the ladies so much. You need to visit Jamaica to really get to know the ladies a little better!


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

Lol....It's a plan ready to be made then!!!


JadedLove 5 years ago

Wonderful. Being Goth myself I was pulled in by the title and you did not disappoint. Voted up and awesome.


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

JadedLove: Thank you


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Goths are so easily misunderstood. A friend of mine from high school committed suicide when he was 28 over things that had nothing to do with being Goth. But of course, the Goths got horrible press about it and had to defend themselves.

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