Google “Annie Leibovitz Vanity Fair Hollywood” and you’ll see the inspiration for the first cover of Peoria Magazine. Ms. Leibovitz has made a career out of making iconic photographs that stick with you, and her tableaux helps sell the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair each year.
“I thought with the right mix of people, we could achieve the same feeling for the first issue of the new magazine,” explains photographer David Vernon, “combining business and art with an eclectic mix of Peoria personalities that inhabit that combination in the community so well.”
It’s not easy to coordinate the schedules of eight busy people (plus the photographer and venue), but after a couple dozen emails, we landed on a mutually agreeable date and time. The new Twelve Bar Lounge—Chef Dustin Allen’s third-floor retreat at 4500 Prospect in Peoria Heights, formerly the Executive Lounge—offered that mix of class and elegance we were going for. Its high ceilings, large windows and tasteful design elements made for a visually rich setting.
But there were some challenges, Vernon notes. “A lot of light pours in through those southern windows in the afternoon, so to keep everyone evenly lit meant bringing in some big lights. Or rather, small lights but big lighting modifiers (a small, but important distinction). Enter our seven-foot and five-foot wide umbrellas. Placed just behind the camera, these lights offset the shadows wonderfully and covered eight people with ease.”
Prior to photographing the group, Vernon captured the room without the additional lighting, which were meant for the human subjects. “The room itself looks quite a bit better with the light nature intended for it,” he explains. “So we mounted the camera on a tripod, made a number of images of the room, and then never moved the camera for the tableaux.”
The end result was a minor composite: artificially-lit people in a naturally-lit room. Blended together, the image allows both halves to shine. PS