To create large scale prints of Rone's latest exhibition EMPIRE, he worked with the recently released Phase One 150 megapixel digital back.
If you head east of Melbourne to the hamlet of Sherbrooke in the Dandenong Ranges you can find a 1930s mansion called Burnham Beeches. Abandoned since the 1980s it has now been transformed into a fantastical canvas by Melbourne artist Rone.
Part exhibition and part installation, a series of rooms form a tableau complete with a dusty champaign tower, a long-abandoned billiards game, and even a flooded library, punctuated by Rone's signature large scale portraits. The show runs from 6 March to 22 April - check out the website here.
The work is firmly experiential and also temporary, so the challenge for Rone was to photograph still images for editioned prints that properly capture each space, down to every mote of dust in the air.
There is a quality to the prints that feels almost unlike a photograph... there are some parts where it looks like you could touch the texture of the wall.
The Lobby - EMPIRE 2019, RONE.
We consulted with Rone to make sure he was working with the right gear for the job, not only considering what would achieve the highest image quality but also the practicality of how he would need to shoot, what lenses would be appropriate, and what movements (if any) would be required for in-camera perspective correction.
Given the new Phase One IQ4 150MP digital back had just arrived at Specular it seemed the obvious contender. At the time of planning this shoot however, nobody had yet used the IQ4 on a project of this type with a technical camera in Australia!
This is the highest resolution camera sensor currently made, but resolution is not the only thing that matters in this kind of shoot. Rone said there was comfort knowing he had 15-stops of dynamic range to work with:
"I knew I could just concentrate on the composition and not worry about exposure levels of multiple lights."
Click through the behind the scenes gallery above - images by Tony Mott
To create super detailed photographs of these interiors, the Phase One back was paired with a Cambo WRS-1600 technical camera body and Cambo lenspanel with the unbelievably sharp 32mm Rodenstock lens.
This camera and lens combination is favoured by many of our interiors and architecture clients and we were confident it would handle what Rone needed it to achieve.
To keep things simple images were captured using the electronic shutter on the back rather than the mechanical shutter on the lens. This is our new preferred method when photographing non-moving subjects and the IQ4 series backs.
The final prints really are something special, and it is really hard to convey how special with low resolution images on the internet! There's a depth and tonality that is instantly recognisable as having the Phase One "look", but at a greater scale than we are used to seeing made possible with the higher resolution of the IQ4 150MP.
At the time of writing all of the edition prints were sold, with a few of the open edition prints still available.