Daniel Knop                                                                                                                  Buchautor  –  Fachjournalist  –  Naturfotograf                                                                                                        Autoren-Webseite
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Making-of ...


Creating a photograph for a book cover can be very simple as I know from experience – more than just one time. Simply chose a shot from whatever you have in the archive and go to print.


But it can also be very difficult – and again this is said from experience. If you have a motive in your imagination but cannot give anyone an example of how it would look like, it can be kind of difficult to find your way. But it certainly helps to have a patient and ambitious publisher around as well as a routined photographer.


Please check out below how we have developed the cover picture of my book „Experiment Mensch“ in the photo studio. Click on the first picture to get a slide show with short captions below the pics.

It was kind of difficult to find the right position for man and skull...
First you need to decide for a certain skull. I decided for one prepared for medical purposes. The little metal parts could later be photoshopped away...
The plan was to copy the classic scene of Hamlet. That was my wish because I had a picture of this new book in my mind with exactly this motive...
„To be or not to be“. This somehow seemed to reflect the overall theme of my new book that deals with the future of mankind. „To be or not to be“.
It was kind of difficult to find the right position for man and skull...
We tried several postures, and set up the table in different angles to the camera. Publisher Matthias Schmidt gave his input...
...and photographer Hermann Konradt pushed the button. We thought we are on a good way...
After the first long series of shots we checked it all on the Mac: Not bad for a start. But not exactly what we had in mind.
 So we started it all over again. The day was still young...
Matthias Schmidt made detail corrections...
The arms had to be aligned very precisely to achive an optimal image effect...
The table position was looking very promising to us first...
12:...and we thought we might already be on a good way.
Then we checked the results on the monitor...
But we felt that it somehow doesn‘t fit what we desired.
With the sitting position, the overall effect of the picture was not entirely convincing.
So I changed to a lying position.
(...)
We tried to synchronize ideas ...
...exchange ideas, explain ideas...
...and started to shoot.
With a very tiering posture we made a long series of shots on the hard cement floor just covered with a thin black cardboard. 
The visible signs of effort like swollen veins or red skin color were supposed to be photoshopped away later.
Short brake...
The direction of my viewing, the exact distance, the height level, the body posture, the facial expression, 
any shadows seen, reflections, the illumination – every little detail was important.
Holding the head a little more upright – this finally seemed to be what we wanted.
As time passes by, a camera can get really heavy...
After doing several hundred shots we finally had a series of shots that matched pretty good what we had in mind as the cover picture for the book...
I know it‘s hard to believe but that type of modelling is exhausting
The final result: „Experiment Mensch“. To be or not to be...