Pair Go Tournament Promo photo 2015

For the 3rd year, a photo of my dolls playing go have been on the promotional material for the Seattle Go Center Pair Go Tournament. The Go Center has a traditional tatami room complete with a tiny go set that is scaled perfectly to my 60 and 70 cm sized Asian ball jointed dolls. Today’s post will explore the layers of information contained in this image.

Brian, the Go Center manager, brought his pro photo gear and sage advice. It took about 4 hours to get this shot. I used my Canon Rebel, mounted on a gorilla tripod, on manual so we could use Brian’s wireless flash slave trigger thingymabobber and disabled my camera’s on-board flash.  One light was set outside the tatami room, behind the punch bowl set. The other light was inside the room behind Hiro. Both were triggered when I took the photo.  Brian selected the shutter speed and apeture. On the first try. Because he’s a pro!

The dolls were very cooperative and held their poses, which may make you think I’m a nut. But, seriously, these dolls are strung with elastic and the resin is slick and you have to take steps (like hot glue or heavy gauge wire) to help with posing.  There were many tiny adjustments, from turning their heads so they were looking at something specific to shifting Hiro’s eyes so that he was looking into the camera.  Sticky tack was used on Hiro’s collar (because I forgot to mend it); on the tiny go stone in his hand, and on the punch ladle to hold it in place.

He had the idea to set up a punch bowl to cast a shadow on the tatami room screens.  At the Go Center Pair Go Tournament, we offer desserts, punch, and assorted bevvies to the players between rounds, so the punch bowl shadow offers a tempting distraction to our players.

From the Go Center library, I chose the game to decide 3rd place of the 1997 Women’s World Amateur Baduk Championship between Diana Koszegi from Hungary (black) and Chikchina Svetlana of Russia (white).   Even though the game on the board is not pair go, it is black male’s turn. Playing out of turn is quite problematic during a game, resulting in a 3 stone penalty and the stone is left on the board. The order of play during the game is: black female player, white female player, black male player, white male player. There is no talking during a pair go tournament except for the following questions: “should we resign?” and “is it my turn?”

In this photo are, clock-wise from the left: B&G Rin (Hiro), Elfdoll K (Kane), and Elfdoll Smiling Soah (Ginger).  The fourth doll (not shown) was my Dollstown Arin, but her presence was not contributing to an already complicated image. Although I was sad to remove her from the shot, I liked that the viewer is drawn into the image by becoming Hiro’s partner.

Even though it took so much time, I really enjoyed setting up this shot. Brian is a terrific teacher, providing technical guidance but letting me work through the process of finding the shot.