Aakaash Bali | Long Island Fine Art Portraiture: Blog https://www.aakaashbphoto.com/blog en-us Aakaash Bali | Long Island Fine Art Portraiture (Aakaash Bali | Long Island Fine Art Portraiture) Tue, 29 Dec 2020 23:21:00 GMT Tue, 29 Dec 2020 23:21:00 GMT The Arrival - A Summary of 2020 https://www.aakaashbphoto.com/blog/2020/12/the-arrival---a-summary-of-2020

November 27, 1982 (Clear, 44°)
“I was in the right place at the right time, that’s all.
It was hot, and cold. I could feel it pulling me in, but I wasn’t moving at all. It was bright, but I could see it clearly. It was glowing, everywhere. I guess, time was frozen. Nothing was moving, but everything was moving. I wasn’t afraid, but I was frozen. I wasn’t afraid to die, but I also didn’t want to.I just knew that this would be it, the story of the year. This would be the one that got me noticed, and The Times would finally publish me. Honestly, I’m just happy to still be alive.”
The Arrival is my last piece of 2020, and was an experiment of sorts. It tells the story of a young reporter trying to tell the truth, attempting to convince people that something she found is real. In a way, I wanted this piece to be somewhat of a visual descriptor of this past year. Finding a mess, reporting on that mess, and trying not to panic.

The concept came to me one evening while under quarantine. The weight of the pandemic, the political climate, as well as the mental health effects of simply remaining indoors were all things that you, nor I normally experience. Coupled with the racial climate, and the grand feeling of "I don't know what will happen next", the year 2020 has proven itself to be a total mess. The concept of the orb, destroying everything near it, was my attempt at visualizing this. The reporter was a symbol of the media, and how we basically see and know everything these days.

I immediately sketched the concept, just so I could create it later.

I want to thank Elinchrom for giving us the opportunity to use the Snaplux modifiers for this concept. They've proven to be extremely sturdy, valuable tools when it comes to quickly shaping light outdoors, and this concept was heavily designed with the light falloff of these unique modifiers in mind.

Thank you Isabel Flemming for being our model, and Spencer Humphrey for being a production assistant. You can check them out below:





Interested in starring in your own story like this one?

Check out The Cinema Experienceand let us tell yours.

(Aakaash Bali | Long Island Fine Art Portraiture) elinchrom elb500 elinchrom snaplux fine art photography fujifilm gfx100 long island commercial photographer long island fine art photographer rotalux the arrival https://www.aakaashbphoto.com/blog/2020/12/the-arrival---a-summary-of-2020 Tue, 29 Dec 2020 22:31:37 GMT
Runaways | Brought To Life | The Cinema Experience https://www.aakaashbphoto.com/blog/2020/9/runaways-brought-to-life

RUNAWAYS is a nostalgic, 1990's based set of images, a short film, and an original score designed to transport viewers back in time. When I was a kid in the 90s, I always noticed the "look" and "feel" of the era, and to this day I find it to be a beautiful aesthetic. With this set, I aimed to try and recreate the feelings of being young, since those years are far behind me now. This is a youthful, innocent story with a bittersweet message that many of us may relate to.

The goal was to make this feel as realistic as possible, and truly immersive. We hope that the micro-short above, the two original art pieces below, the score and the writing bring back some childhood memories. Creating this certainly did for us!

𝐉𝐮𝐧𝐞 𝟐𝟒, 𝟏𝟗𝟗𝟒. (𝟖𝟒°, 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐂𝐥𝐨𝐮𝐝𝐲)
"Wow, this is it, isn't it?
It's all over. Graduation was this morning. My parents are proud of me, and I'm going to miss everyone I grew up with here.
Our song was The Sign by Ace of Base. Our class color was yellow. My Jansport backpack was always too small. Oh, and most of us never did homework. What's left for me now? Nothing, I guess. That's why I left. I climbed through my bathroom window while Dad was busy watching Forrest Gump.

I guess I know enough about the life I'm leaving behind, and not enough about the life I'm walking into."

𝐉𝐮𝐧𝐞 𝟐𝟓, 𝟏𝟗𝟗𝟒. (𝟕𝟒°, 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐂𝐥𝐨𝐮𝐝𝐲)

"I'm actually doing this, aren't I? Leaving home, leaving everything I grew up with behind. I guess I'm only doing it to start over, live a fresh life. Everyone I love is leaving for college, and I never really got along with my parents or brother.

There's just one thing. What do I leave behind? This is home, after all, right? There's a place. The adults don't know about it, but we do. I turned back last night just to see it one last time. Everyone has been here. It's a place to leave your mark. Maybe you're one of the cool kids, a cheerleader, or maybe you're a misfit like me. I bought these shoes here, and they carried me through high school. Now, I'll leave them here forever, so a part of me stays here forever.

Chapter two starts today, and I couldn't be more ready than I am."



For this project, we were beyond excited to use the Elinchrom ELB 500 + 68" Rotalux Octabox. It allowed us to create beautiful, soft light that was easily matched to the environment. The natural light taper is beautiful, and prevented any defined lighting shape, which to me is an incredible convenience. The lights themselves are incredibly bright, compact, and easy to work with on-location. We mounted the light on a handheld boom pole, which allowed us to easily walk it through the location for image two. I was surprised at just how powerful these little lights are!

For the first image, I used the incredibly well-made Snaplux modifiers alongside various gels to craft the correct lighting scenario for this scene.

Paired with the mighty Fujifilm GFX100, the light rendering was incredibly beautiful, and brought a smile to my face as soon as I captured it.

Take a look at the BTS images below!

In closing, I'd like to thank the amazing team that helped pull this together! Also, a special thank you to Elinchrom for helping make this possible, and beautiful.

Starring: Katie Masters

Original Concept & Photography: Aakaash Bali

Cinematography: Abriel Bello

Original Score & Sound Design: Christian Ladigoski

Grip & Production Assistant: Aaqil Khoja


"The shoot was awesome, I've worked with Aakaash before and it's always an exciting experience that pushes me to do something different.  Most of the modeling that I do is on a runway, or is a part of a "glam" shoot where the poses are very "fierce"so this created an experience that was much more natural, and I felt the need to pose in a way that was more like acting or dancing and your regular runway or glam shoot. 

As a 90's kid, this really brought me back, I was born in 93' so I was especially able to appreciate the different parts of my childhood that I hadn't thought about in a long time. There's something really nostalgic about these shots, and the shoot itself had the same vibe, a time that was a little more careless, outdoorsy, and young. At one point I was asked to take my shoes off, and it brought me back to a time where kids could enjoy their bare feet on grass or dirt, far away from technology!"

-Katie Masters


Interested in starring in your own story like this one?

Check out The Cinema Experienceand let us tell yours.

(Aakaash Bali | Long Island Fine Art Portraiture) elinchrom elb500 elinchrom snaplux fine art photography fujifilm gfx100 long island commercial photographer long island fine art photographer rotalux https://www.aakaashbphoto.com/blog/2020/9/runaways-brought-to-life Wed, 09 Sep 2020 22:58:01 GMT
Far From Home | Stills Brought To Life | The Cinema Experience https://www.aakaashbphoto.com/blog/2020/4/far-from-home

Far From Home is a project I had been inspired to work on for a long, long time. Initially, the spouts of inspiration drew from the work of artists such as Gregory Crewdson. I wanted to create a series of images that had a tableau-style influence, although could all be interpreted as standalone pieces or as a series of connecting, narrative images. Recently having launched The Cinema Experience, I felt as though this project could be a prime example of what that service offers. I created a 4-image set, a short film, and a custom score + sound design with my team. Today, I'm proud to show it to you, as one single experience. Please turn your volume up while watching the film above.

We scouted for weeks on end to find the perfect motel, and ultimately discovered The Mac Arthur Inn, located in Long Island, NY. At first glance, the location provided us with the perfect atmosphere for this story. We fell in love, in a way.

The story itself is meant to be fairly open-ended in nature. Our two characters both exist in frame, contrasting one another, however they don't fully interact. The character in white is aware of the character in red, however that sense of awareness is never given back. I wanted to include themes that incorporated elements of mental health; specifically anxiety and split-personality. Initially, my interpretation of the story is that the two characters are in-fact the same individual, with the character in red being a reflection of the character in white, hence the lack of pure interaction. However, quite a few individuals have offered their interpretation of the images, as well as the film. I do find it fascinating, and I enjoy how different people see the story in different ways.

Below, you can view the four images that set the groundwork of this story. I'd love to hear your interpretation as well, so feel free to send an email if you'd like!


On the technical end, we wanted to create a fairly high-production series. I chose to shoot the stills on a Fujifilm GFX100, all with the stellar 32-64mm zoom lens. I felt that smooth tonality, crisp details, and high color fidelity would be necessary for this set, and the camera did not disappoint. As far as the lighting, I used a group of four Flashpoint Xplor 600 lights, all with their own unique Rosco gel. We did this not only to create color contrast, but to emulate the look and feel of a period piece, specifically something that appears to be late 70s-80s.

Although, by far, one of the primary tools that helped us craft this look were the Elinchrom Snaplux modifiers. We primarily stuck with the 60cm Octabox and the 35x75cm Strip Box. The beauty of these modifiers, in my opinion, is how well they render light falloff. Not only are they extremely compact and portable, but they disperse light in an even, balanced way. Hot-spots and leakages are of no concern, and the quality of these modifiers is very high.

On the video end, we chose to use the Blackmagic Pocket 6K, shot in raw. The editing was done in Adobe Premiere, and the color work was completed within Davinci Resolve. We were all quite happy with how clean the low-light footage was from this camera, as well as the highlight rolloff. It's compact, but packs quite a punch.

Below, you can see a few behind-the-scenes images, as well as an aerial video of our set:

In closing, I decided to interview the cast and crew about their thoughts on this project, as well as their interpretations of it. I do hope you, whoever you are, found this hybrid of photography, film, and music enjoyable. Please share it with your friends, family, and pets.


“Working on this project was the best set i’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of. An incredible group of creatives all working to make something big and bold. I had wanted to act as well as model for years now, and getting to do both was truly a gift. It pushed my limits and made me realize just how far I can go with the art I get to be a part of. I couldn’t have asked to work with a better, kinder, and more ambitious group of people. This project specifically feels very close to home. I saw it as these two people that maybe had a lot in common, that were both struggling yet couldn’t come to a point where they could come together to help each other. In the end, the character I play ends up alone, but has herself, and that’s enough. Sometimes knowing you still have yourself when you feel alone is all you really need to get by.“
Caitlin Davidson
Woman In White
“Modeling this concept was a delight, and getting into the mindset of this unique character was easy to empathize. I think many people can relate to the feeling of being trapped in a cold and dark place metaphorically, where you can’t escape the depths of your mind. Being the one on the outside was an interesting perspective, because the environment was endless yet the character was still alone, or at least out of reach from receiving any sort of aid. I find that the concept touches feelings that are important to express, as they’re relevant to many individuals and relationships. I enjoyed the experience, we went into depths for this project, and being able to explore this realm with a large set was almost surreal.“
Emily Nelson
Woman In Red
“The Far From Home series is a dissection of an individual’s sexual frustration. What is the "hourly rental" motel room but the quintessential temple for exercising such demons. Hidden amongst the tense closeups and rapid cuts between our two characters, i envisioned them living through the wide range of emotions that come with frustration. It builds from a place of tension and anxiety. I used scenes such as chain-smoking, tapping, and water droplets to build this atmosphere. Later in the film, I chose to escalate those “nervous ticks” to complete anger, aggression, and darkness. To offer a satisfying closing, I also decided to inject just a bit of “relief” at the end. In a sense, the storm was over.“
Abe Bello
Director of Photography + Editor
“When I was creating the score and sounds around this awesome cinema experience film, I wanted to achieve a feeling of uncertainty and something out of the norm for the audience. Far From Home has elements of horror and abstract storytelling, so I wanted that to reflect in the music and sounds being heard. First, I created sound elements that would create lots of open space, horror and edgy feelings for the audience, including a series of repetitive tones. Then bringing in the music slowly and building the intensity with edgy musical elements. Overall, I had a blast working on this project and I think every person who watches this will have a unique interpretation to this story we created, which is really fascinating in its own.“
Christian Ladigoski
Score + Sound Design
“The approach was to keep the color in the same world that Aakaash created in the photo set. This involved a blue-ish white exterior and warm interiors to fit the personalities represented in the film. Outside was stark and cold, inside was warm and comforting. The idea was to reinforce this concept in the color grade, while adding my own flare to it as well. Outside, I accentuated the reds in her lips and dress to enhance the anger. Emily’s dress amongst the cold darkness kind of draws our eye to her, makes us wonder about her, and possibly gives us the same feeling Caitlin has toward her. Maximizing the emotion of a piece or scene is the whole job of filmmaking and all departments should work together to accomplish that goal, so everything should be approached with the goal to maximize the emotion in a piece or scene. Anything else you add is just icing.“
Paul Del Vecchio
“Working on the set for Far From Home was quite enjoyable. It was a stress-free environment, and the team had the perfect chemistry. The eerie atmosphere played an integral role in developing this concept, and I believe it was as close to perfect as we could find. To me, the story portrayed elements of escape. A young girl fleeing to a motel just to "get away", but ends up finding herself in a sense, or maybe even losing herself. In a way, the solo interactions of the characters represented a "spirit world" to me. Some kind of purgatory between the land of the living, and the land of the dead. I saw elements of possession, love, and fear. Perhaps, even crime, or murder, given the expressive nature of the acting. Aakaash is a man who is very passionate about his work, and makes everyone feel at home. He is also very knowledge, and doesn’t mind passing what he knows on to you. Working as a Grip for The Cinema Experience team has helped me understand lighting techniques a bit more, and i hope to learn even more next time."
Matt Bell
AC, Grip, & BTS
(Aakaash Bali | Long Island Fine Art Portraiture) blackmagic pocket 6k elinchrom snaplux far from home fine art photography fujifilm gfx100 long island commercial photographer long island fine art photographer long island photographer long island portrait photographer https://www.aakaashbphoto.com/blog/2020/4/far-from-home Fri, 03 Apr 2020 19:45:40 GMT