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Alexander Šurlák (PanDagraphy): A Story of Five Photographs

My friends from FOMEI asked me if I’d like to present 5 photos of mine. I accepted this offer, but writing is not really my thing, so please take that into account while reading my comments to the photos. I’m quite a good photographer but a pretty lousy writer.

Femme fatale 

Image 1 This is, and for a long time will be, my favourite photo. During this shooting, everything was going wrong, even though we had prepared every detail. They wanted to kick us out of the underground car park where the photoshoot took place. One of the twins had an accident before the shooting and wasn’t as fit as he wanted to be, so I had to persuade him that it was okay. And we had to wait for the dress for the model (who, by the way, also has a twin) until the last moment. The reason why I appreciate this photo so much is that it required very little editing. Everything was achieved by precise lighting, for which I must thank FOMEI. It was very complicated to set up lighting here because I used 5 flashes and 3 reflector plates. The three flashes were placed in front of the scene and arranged into a semicircle and they lit it from top to bottom. The reflector plates were put in front of the models and the last two flashes stood on the sides and aimed at the wall from which the light reflected. Well, and I must say it again, it’s really my favourite photo.


Image 2 This shooting gave me a lot of adrenaline because it took place in water, meaning that I, the model, and my FOMEI flash were all in water. What’s more, it was running water of the River Vah. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, we were hit by a storm while standing in the water with a camera and a battery flash. Here I must compliment the Canon 6D Mark ll that I took for the shooting. It got soaked and it stopped working after the first 20 shots, as it got really wet – there was water everywhere and it fell from all directions – but I took out the battery and dried the camera properly and I’ve been using it until today! I worked with one flash close to the water, but the water surface alone made a perfect reflector.

3, 2, 1, GO 

Image 3 This photo was created for promotion and recruitment for an athletic club. We wanted to shoot a runner with unconventional styling and from an unusual angle and I think we’ve succeeded. By the way, the sun is a FOMEI flash. I just retouched away the tripod. The scene was illuminated by three 600 W flashes through lunchtime sun, which was also a great experience. It’s very hard to light the scene when you’re shooting in harsh direct sunlight but for the 600 W flashes it was no problem.


Image 4 Here's another of my five photos. The reason why I chose this one was mainly the fact that it was shot on a compact and with one flash. In this photo I did a lot of Photoshop editing – all the paint on the model was done in post-production. The lighting was absolutely simple here – one flash on the side.


Image 5 I honestly don’t know what to add to this photo. For me, it’s nearly perfect. Vanesa is an amazing dancer and model. Once we arranged a last-minute photoshoot and, in the end, we shot in an abandoned mansion. A friend of mine recommended this place to me about a day before the shooting and I definitely have no regrets about following her advice. Apart from being a stunning dancer, Vanesa is also great in posing. For this picture I used three flashes: the first one lit the scene from the front top, the second one was in the corridor behind the model, and the last one intensified the light coming inside through large windows along the whole corridor. The best part is that this photo made it into the shortlist only in the second round and now it’s one of my favourite photos.

About the author

Image 6

My name is Alexander Šurlák, I am from Dubnica nad Váhom and I've been photographing for about 6 years. Photography is my lifestyle, by which I am trying to tell a story. I like to experiment and I deal individually with each photo. I'm mostly photographing portraits, advertising photos and fashion in exteriors, but also in studio. I am always trying to put something special and original to my photos.
Separate chapter is photomontage, for which I am taking photos for background on my own, where lights from fomei are very helpful to me. They helps me to set up the lighting based on the scene and concept. I'm always trying to push limits of my own creativity or photography as itself. 

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