I shot Kirsten using a large, strobe-powered softbox as the single source of illumination. The softbox was on a low setting and positioned above and to the right of the model. You can see the reflection of the light in Kirsten’s beautiful eyes. The low-level of very diffuse lighting, and the position of the single light, account for both the overall attractiveness of the light and the radical light fall-off on the left side of the image.
To process the image in Photoshop, I used a number of textured overlays on top of the background image of Kirsten. For example, one of these overlays was of linen canvas with a very definite texture. Another was the scanned papyrus that I’ve used in my Floral Tapestries (the background shown in Thistle While You Work is an example that uses this scan of a piece of papyrus).
The trick with this kind of post-processing is not to overdo it. As Oscar Wilde put it, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” I wanted Kirsten to look as gorgeous as she is naturally, and slightly abstract—but I didn’t want the post-production work to make her look artificial.
See Like a Titian for a related post-production treatment of a model.