In the studio the goal is to control every element in a photographic composition. The backdrop used is a fundamental choice in the creative process. For some images white and black seamless paper backdrops are great, solid colors too, however serious portrait photographers have traditionally chosen painted canvas backdrops to work with.
I suspect in the late 1800s’ before roll paper backdrops were available, it was an obvious choice to have a hand painted backdrop, perhaps painted by portrait painters who were losing portrait work to photographers. Any number of clients could step in front of an ideal backdrop and have a portrait made. Today companies abound that make cute backdrops, funny backdrops, scenic backdrops and some production line versions of ‘old masters’ backdrops. Many of these would pain me to use. There are a few specialized backdrop painters who create artistic backdrops in New York, Los Angles and many of the major metropolitan areas. You see these used in add campaigns and magazine photo shoots.
I find canvas backdrops visually interesting, the way light falls on the tooth of the cloth and the endless possibilities of color and texture. As I became more intrigued I found myself doing research, studying catalogs, reading tutorials and learning about the desired qualities of materials. Eventually I went to the art supply store, bought materials and went to work. The following galleries are images created on backdrops that I painted.
These canvas backdrops are wonderful studio tools providing color and texture to compose images on. And as needs be, more can be created.