A tunnel runs beneath Waterloo station, its walls layered with graffiti.
On my first visit the smell of aerosol still hung in the air. From the far end of the tunnel music blared out of some bashed-about radio. A group of skaters rehearsed their moves, and elsewhere lone individuals squatted with their cameras, photographing the walls.
A few days later I returned with Aztec Records and their new discovery, Lady Joker.
This was a fast, streamlined shoot. We only had a couple of hours to get the shots. Mains power was unavailable. Bulky studio lights were clearly unsuitable. Instead I improvised by taking my battery flash off-camera and hooking up an umbrella. Not perfect by any means, but it was light, easy to carry and quick to setup. Sometimes getting 75% of the way there is all the matters.
With only one strobe and a fold-up bounce board, the tunnel's own fluorescent illumination was going to play a key part. I wanted the wide shots to look credible, as if they were lit entirely by ambient light. For the illusion to work I had to balance the cool blues of my flash with the warm fluorescent greens of the tunnel. A half-green + quarter CTO gel combination did the trick. Although the resulting pictures still had an orangey-green colour cast, the foreground and background were nonetheless consistent. Colour correction involved nothing more than adjusting the white balance in post.