I believe that there is no one right answer in photography -- there are endless solutions to a visual problem. These solutions depend heavily on both the artist creating the piece and the target audience for these visuals. One concept can be expressed in a million ways, each one unique.
One of my best friends and an INSANELY TALENTED artist — Brooke Shaden, shares these beliefs with me. Brooke is a fine art photographer, and I am a fashion photographer, yet as artist we hold similar visions about personal expression. In fact, we believe that given the same concept, the same location, the same model, the same clothes, two artists true to their style will create drastically different results. With this belief in mind, we decided to put this idea to the test.
The summer I had the honor of filming a series with Brooke for the Framed Network, and we called the series of 6 episodes "The Concept". At the beginning of each episode Brooke and I were given a concept, and often a location, and were invited to explore our creative visions. The show took you through the entire process from developing an idea, to pulling together a creative team, location, shooting, gear choices, and more.
The Concept: Back to the Future
For this episode I was give the theme "Back to the Future". The first words that came to mind were cyborg and metal. I envisioned an extremely tall, pale and slender model, with oversized eyes, looking alien-like in her features and demeanor. I felt that she should be in a futuristic and sterile environment, perhaps a long metallic hallway or amongst pipes or other futuristic environment. Working with my stylist Lisa Smith Craig, I envisioned metallic pieces and strong structural silhouettes for that futuristic feel. For hair and makeup I needed pale and sleek, a specialty of my makeup artist Griselle Rosario. For the set, I decided to make something myself instead of compositing or going on location. I acquired pieces of foam core (4x8ft) and used adhesive spray to attach pieces of silver poster board. I knew in Photoshop I could remove the seams, and this would help give me the look I desired. The final element I added was a bit of a cool tone to the photograph, adding a blue-green gel to the shadows. If you want to see the details and learn more about utilizing gels, this is a chapter in my most recent book Creative 52, Chapter 31: Use a Gel!
In fact, in the video below you can see the details of the setup and see the image-making in progress!
To perfect my vision of this shoot, I needed to add final touches in Photoshop. The main changes in my image were some tweaks to color (making the skin even more pale and tweak the tones of the gel), smoothing out the metallic background, and a few tweaks in liquify. You can watch the entire retouch start to finish in the video below!