by Maria Luci
Recently, Portland, Oregon-based photographer Jim Golden embarked on a somewhat moody production. It all began when his stylist, Beverly James Neel, came up with the idea of painting an entire Radio Flyer wagon flat black as a tongue and cheek response to a bicycle they’d seen at the studio. From there, the project expanded and “Murdered Out” was born. The visually dark series focuses on everyday objects being elevated to “cool status” through the process of murdering out, a saying used for removing all logos and decals and painting muscle cars and other “cool” objects flat black.
Jim states that this project meshed well with his typical photographic style of “enhanced realism.” He enjoys taking ordinary people or objects and “elevating them photographically.” However, according to Jim, this project “led to a breakthrough of sorts” in his still life photography, and he’s now creating more minimal shots, with greater focus on details. Photos with “very little distractions.”
The production time of “Murdered Out” was almost entirely spent cleaning and painting each object. Jim adds,
We photographed them on black plexi to get a subtle reflection, the way high end electronics and jewelry are often depicted. Lighting consisted of one strobe head in a Chimera large strip softbox directly above the objects. We then went in with small fill cards in separate exposures to pop any key details. Post production consisted of painting together the exposures, removing plexi seams and cleaning up a TON of dust on the plexi.
The meticulous efforts of Jim and his team shows through in the striking and clean finished shots. Jim and his studio are now using the series in direct mail pieces and in emails used to book portfolio meetings.
Jim is very pleased with the final series, and hopes viewers take the series the way he intended it: lightheartedly. He says,
I want them to chuckle, I mean, it’s pretty ridiculous, a flat black walker?! Throw a MOPAR sticker on it! When I look at advertising today, I crack up at how serious a lot of things are taken. I mean, come on, it’s a WI-FI router, not a Rolex, you know?
View more of Jim’s work at jimgoldenstudio.com.