Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Flags and Cutters

A "flag" —also known as a "cutter" — is a piece of opaque black cloth or board held in position to block a source of light.

Here are some modern flags, held in position by a C-stand. These allow a director of photography in a photo lab or a movie shoot to control exactly which surfaces the light touches or to keep a light from shining into the lens. 

Here's a photo of John Singer Sargent painting Mrs. Fiske Warren (Gretchen Osgood) and her daughter Rachel at the Fenway Court in Boston (now the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), where Sargent had set up a temporary studio.

Sargent placed a chair behind the sitters, with poles strapped to the back of the chair. Across those poles he draped a piece of cloth as a cutter to reduce the backlighting and the glare into his eyes. The soft key light comes from a window unseen to the right.
New book on Sargent (released yesterday):John Singer Sargent: Figures and Landscapes, 1900-1907: The Complete Paintings, Volume VII
More about that Sargent painting.
Sargent photo from "Representational Painting" Facebook page
Photo of modern cutter from Enchanting
Previously on GJ: C Stand


Charles Valsechi said...

Haha, I just about fell over when I saw this post! Thanks for linking back to the Representational Painting Page.

Daroo said...

I always felt this was an extreme down angle on the sitters -- its surprising to see that they are up on a platform.

How tall was Sargent?

Anonymous said...

LOVE that Sargent painting. Great to see that photo of the set for it!
I'll have to check out the new book! Thanks. - Margie