Models: Emily Garner and Fran Turner
For this shoot I riffed on the idea of "glass" and how it can be used to bend light. I imagined the girls within an electric metropolis, awash with light and energy. The colourful field of bokeh behind the models is actually a practical effect; it was shot in-camera using nearly six-hundred glass beads. Reflections and light blurs were added later using nighttime scenes of London shot by myself.
Earlier this week I photographed contemporary dancer Kevin Keti.
The post-production work in these pictures is very precise. Pore by pore, the skin has been painstakingly rebuilt in order to convey an impression of uncanny health and fitness. This is a favourite illusion of mine; no matter where the eye lands the photo looks real and credible as if straight out of the camera.
Thanks to makeup artist Thom Ticklemouse.
Makeup, Model and Concept by Victoria Penrose.
Film by A R Harvey.
Recently, myself and makeup artist Victoria Penrose decided to film a time-lapse video of her applying makeup to herself. The idea was to show the improvement that even a modest amount of makeup can produce. This was also an opportunity for me to try out a few new things.
The video was shot on a normal digital stills camera (my Canon 5DMkI) and lit entirely with studio flash. Using flash for stop-motion animation can be a rather risky affair; the light output may not be entirely consistent from frame to frame and an ugly flicker can appear on playback. Fortunately, my heavy-duty Bowens studio lights proved remarkably consistent. The images were bang-on solid. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed quite the same success with my cheaper Speedlites though...
Although Victoria did her best to maintain a consistent head position, a certain amount of movement was unavoidable. I smoothed this out two ways: First, I tracked the catch-lights in the eyes and stabilized the image based on their movement. Secondly I time-stretched the sequence and blended the extra frames.
In the above comparison, the finished result is on the left. The original, unstabilized version is on the right.
The outfit featured in these photos was created by Joey Bevan for the Ideal Home Show. The materials are actually household furnishings; a plastic shower curtain has been repurposed as a see-through top, and foam door-pads have been turned into decorations.
Stylised lighting effects such as lens flares require a lot of care to get right. Their character varies immensely depending on the position of the light source and the aperture. Lens construction also plays a huge role: Complicated assemblies such as zoom lenses tend to produce more intricate patterns. The best lens flares are those that exhibit an almost organic quality, rife with flaws, happy accidents and serendipity.
Most of my work is very "pop-y" - high contrast, deep colours, huge post-production... This time I wanted to do something very different.
Nina Boldt is a singer from Germany, now living in London town. One Sunday afternoon we got together and took over a friend's bedroom. For this particular shoot, I wanted to evoke a light, hazy atmosphere - like a scene from a French art-house film. Naturalism was important, but at the same time I still wanted to push the edges of reality a little. A combination of natural and artificial light would be in order.
After pushing a lot of junk to one side I gelled the windows with diffusion. On sunny days windows tend to blow out; this time though the weather was likely to be grey. I really did not want to risk seeing the street beyond - it would just be one more hassle in Photoshop. By gelling the windows I could guarantee a nice, solid block of white in the background and soften the sunlight at the same time.
Bedrooms can be tricky places to make interesting. The environment needs to be carefully arranged so that any objects that appear in the background do not detract from the overall composition. A good starting point is to clear out everything that can be easily moved. Certain items can then be reintroduced if necessary. In the above photo we added a guitar. That was it.
The last ingredient was the smoke machine. Before the shoot, I was very wary of the raw images looking too "digital" or "real". Bedrooms are very familiar places after all, and modern photographic equipment does nothing to obscure reality. In addition to opening up the lens - thereby knocking out the background - I accentuated the depth effect by hazing the room. Distant details were thereby washed out and artfully smoothed over. Nina on the other hand remained sharp and fully formed.
At the tail end of October I joined Disco Damage for the filming of their new music video, the delightfully named "Cocktail Cunt." The director was Mikey Williamson.
Channeling his inner-chav, actor Jamie Robertson donned a shell-suit, a naff red cap and a tasteless pair of white trainers. During the course of filming he sloshed back pints of lager, screamed at a non-existant TV and abused a slot machine. Meanwhile, the regulars of Camden's Grafton Arms kept a safe, if perplexed, distance.
Later Kristin Neely joined Laura Fares for the electro-duo's cameo. Their performance involved much tutting and disapproving looks, which they delivered with uncanny ease.
By the end of the day Jamie was wasted - he had been downing lagers and shots from the bar all afternoon. Every take, another swig. The shoot had at times taken on the life of a drinking game, but then again, authenticity does require dedication...
This shoot was to be featured in the fashion, photography & art magazine Labb.
The date of publication was meant to be the end of August, but slipped to September. After London Fashion Week I was told October. By the beginning of November the magazine had yet to appear. I sent a few emails and text messages - no response. I began to worry... Then half way through November I received confirmation of the news I had been dreading: Labb was no more. It had gone belly up. (The story is an intriguing one.)
The pictures shown here were photographed way back in sunny July. Since then a third of a year has passed. Outside my window there is now snow. Regrettably it is a little late to begin shopping the pictures around other magazines. I've been left with no other option but to post them here and draw a line under the whole affair.
I want to thank the team for all their hard work. I am very proud of what we achieved.
Model: Eve Clancy @ First
Model: David @ Oxygen
Photographer: A R Harvey
Stylist: Jade Stavri
Makeup: Kaori Mitsuyasu
Photo Assistant: Jenny Calvin
Stylist Assistant: Lauren Cardoe
Behind the scenes photography and filming: Emma Jane Richards
Designers include: Rachel Freire (@ Bloody Gray), Millie Betiteo, Lina Osterman, Aminaka Wilmont, Lou Dalton, James Small, Kate Kuba, Daniel Spire, Culita, GMG, and 2 Weeks for Bitching and Junk Food.