Posts Tagged ‘shoot’


Building Ironman: MIT Media Lab Biomechatronics Shoot

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

A couple of weeks ago I did a shoot at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab for the Biomechatronics Group (how’s that for a name?!). Now that the client has seen the images I get to write about it!

Given that it’s MIT, I was expecting to be amazed by what the people there were working on. Boy was I right. The “Biomech” Group is a small group of a dozen or so researchers who are, basically, building Ironman. Founded by an engineer and rock climber named Hugh Herr who lost both of his legs below the knee to an ice climbing incident (and who responded to the tragedy by designing and building himself artificial lower legs so good he could continue rock climbing), the Biomech Group has developed artificial biomechanical prosthetic limbs that move and function the same way human limbs do. The Biomech Group is redoing its website, and I was called in to create photographs of some of the things they’re working on, such as a biomechanical ankle and knee. Below is one of the photos from the shoot, of the current generation knee that the lab is working on under the direction of Postdoctoral Associate Elliott Rouse.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab Biomechatronics Group Knee by Elliott Rouse

©2013 Chris Conti Photography. All Rights Reserved.

In order to recreate the functions of human limbs in their biomechanical ones, the members of the Biomech Group need to have a deep and precise understanding of the motions and forces at play in the normal function of human limbs. In order to precisely measure the movements the human body makes in a natural stride, the lab uses an infrared motion capture system (similar to the systems used by Hollywood in the creation of lifelike animation and special effects) which consists of an array of infrared emitters and cameras recording the precise position of spherical “markers” that reflect the infrared light which are attached to strategic places on test subjects’ bodies.The below image is of Postdoctoral Associate Jared Markowitz on the motion capture system.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab Biomechatronics Group infrared motion capture system with researcher Jared Markowitz

©2013 Chris Conti Photography. All Rights Reserved.

This was without a doubt one of the coolest and most interesting photoshoots I’ve ever done, and I can’t wait to come back and work with the Biomech Group again.

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Two New Portfolio Additions

Friday, December 21st, 2012

On this last rainy weekday before everyone takes off for the holidays, I had a few free minutes and decided to add a couple of images to the website that I really like, but until now very few people had seen. The first image, “Dave,” was shot several months ago during the summer, and the second image , “Kaylee 2″ was shot just last week. Here they are.

"Dave": Canon 7D, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM @ 70mm, ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/1000 sec. ©Chris Conti Photography All Rights Reserved.

Dave is a master craftsman who works for a large marine services company in Portland, Maine called Portland Yacht Services. This summer I was in Portland on a commercial shoot for PYS on a dry dock in Portland harbor producing a timelapse video of PYS’s employees using the drydock to service a large yacht that had been damaged. The drydocking process is fascinating (the entire structure lowers itself under water, the vessel to be serviced maneuvers inside, and the structure rises back up, lifting the entire vessel out of the water). It was a great shoot in a totally unique setting, and I also just happened to catch this candid shot of Dave on the dock. To me, guys like Dave epitomize the Maine maritime economy and culture.

"Kaylee 2": Canon 5D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II @ 200mm, ISO 800, f/2.8, 1/250 sec. ©Chris Conti Photography All Rights Reserved.

Kaylee is a musician and music therapist from Seattle in the final stage of her training. Last week I was shooting a music therapy session at a senior housing community called Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly in Framingham, Massachusetts shooting marketing photos. I was severely limited in the amount of equipment I was allowed to bring into the facility and was limited to a single strobe and reflector, so I had to get a bit creative with my lighting. In order to create the image above I decided to take advantage of large windows that were in the room, and use the natural light as my key light and instead use the strobe only for fill. Given the limitations I really like how the image turned out.

That’s it for me, now it’s time to pack up and get on the road to my parents’ house for the holiday.

Happy holidays!

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