From the Vault #3: Trent Reznor

©1991 Paul Elledge

This month’s image “From the vault” features rocker and both Grammy & Acadamy Award winner Trent Reznor.  This image was taken in 1991 during the “Pretty Hate Machine” time period of his band “Nine Inch Nails “.

Paul photographed this image backstage at the very first Lollapalooza in Chicago.  This is an early example of what the studio calls a “Lunar Portrait” which is a reference to the lighting set-up.   Lunar portraits started out as a style Paul created for a series of personal portraits that quickly  became a signature style in the early days of Paul’s career. The first images, like the one of Trent, used the Hasselblad 500 CM with an 80mm lens shot wide open at f/2.8 using either using Tri-X or in this case,  Agfa 3200 asa transparency film.   In order to more closely connect with Paul’s point of view, this method of creating images  migrated to working with the 4X5 format within a year of this shoot.

The inspriation for this “look” came from Paul’s childhood love of vintage photographic imagary.  Paul was enchanted with the connection of the eyes, and the smooth tonal scale of early photographic portraits he discovered at flea markets and thift shops.   “My aesthetic has always been grounded in the honest portrayal of the common person in early photographic portraiture.”

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