I've wanted to photograph Sophia for years now. We communicated a couple of years ago when I had an androgynous idea to do. For whatever reason it never happened and I didn't hear of her again until my mate Flavia shot her. Flavia's pics were inspiring, Sophia's amazing bone structure and face was easy to see and being a portrait photographer, well, it was a no brainer - shoot her.
So if that isn't cool, what is? I took one look and knew 100% we'd get some great images. Always nice to have that feeling before a shoot.
Gina and I met Sophia at the Post Office in Martin Place. I didn't have a plan until I walked around the block just before Sophia got there. It was all so clear. There were patches of reflected light everywhere, even in the middle of crowds - so to any photographer it's kind of obvious what to do, I was excited and just hoped the light would hang around until Sophia got there. It did.
I wanted to shoot this almost street photography style, so to capture other people in the shots but have them out of focus - that wouldn't be a problem as I rarely shoot higher than f4 on a long lens.
Some shots took two or three takes and Sophia did the 30 metre walk through the crowd a few times to allow me to isolate her in patches of light and also to try and grab focus - this was pretty challenging. At one point I was standing on top of one of those round poles that are about waist high, in order to get the right vantage point.
Final shots were in a quiet location which had some perfect light, shadow and modern sharp lined architecture.
These are some of my favourite locations and I used to shoot straight architecture this way just usi the available shadows and lines to create abstraction. So having this beautiful model in Sophia to concentrate on within that context was really awesome.
Sophia was absolutely perfect to work with, very relaxed, so much so we had some afternoon smoko half way through the shoot. I couldn't even see Gina at one point from all the smoke.
And yes, there are plenty more images to come from this shoot.
Laneikka runs a fashion blog called Grunge Children and she had contacted me through my website expressing an interest in a collaboration. From her comments I could tell she'd connected with aspects of what I do and could 'feel' the images at a level beyond the surface. This was great. We worked out some ideas which suited both of us and the best part is she has access to a whole range of wardrobe, which we also agreed on before the shoot.
I decided to shoot this at my fave location out near Cape Banks so I met Laneikka in the car park out at the helicopter base. She arrived with a car full of wardrobe! Hahaha perfect.
The first few shots were fantastic and I knew this was a good idea. Laneikka's background is in acting so her expression and presence in front of the camera is really superb. We quickly got into that creative bubble I like to get into, which I am currently basing my workshops around. Laneikka's wardrobe worked perfectly in this first location, I reckon we chose it perfectly.
After the initial portraits we moved through some varying lighting conditions and also changed the outfit a couple of times to keep things fresh and in-tune with the light we were using. Natural light that is. We ended up doing a fairly cohesive set featuring a beautiful fur Laneikka had with her, I love furs and I love shooting them!
The last thing we did was a video. Prior to the shoot I'd checked out Laneikka's profile on Star Now and seen some acting videos she'd done so of course my mind fast tracked to a project I've been thinking about for a while. It really required someone with acting experience and someone who could go a bit beyond the norm, emotionally. She said she'd be happy to do it.
Having never done anything like this before I let Laneikka lead the way. I set up the tripod and camera in a selected spot for the light and she spent about 10 minutes alone preparing herself. I haven't completed editing the video so I'm not going to say too much more about it now, just that I found it absolutely beautiful and emotionally challenging (not to mention how she felt) and have the greatest respect for her for doing this for me.
Elegant Magazine, May 2017 Issue
The other great thing about this shoot... I spent a few hours that Sunday night editing a bunch of shots from the day and a cohesive theme started to appear - helped along by some red wine and good vibes. I thought why not submit this somewhere - checked Elegant Magazine and their deadline for submissions for the May issue of the mag was in 12 hours time so I messaged Laneikka and checked she was cool with the idea and with the images I'd picked. A few hours editing gave us a 9 image set, chosen carefully for their flow and also their variety. I've published through Elegant Mag before and have found them professional and good with communications, which is not the case with many mags. They're also well respected in the online fashion world - although they also do a print version of the mag which is nice.
So within a few more hours I had an email from them saying "Submission Accepted"! Too easy with Laneikka, but I had faith in her before we even started the shoot.
I can't publish many images that will be published in the mag for a while yet, that's standard magazine policy.
Stay tuned for more images and of course, the video.
Greg had contacted me after having spoken with Peter Lee, who had done a worskhop with me last year. Greg was disatisfied with the pictures he was taking and was finding it hard to see a way forward. He was obviously an experienced photographer and his images were great in my opinion, but he wanted to move ahead so we put together a 3 hour workshop that would help him move forward. I'm sure Greg won't mind me saying, as it's relevant to the design of the workshop, is that his previous work was very static and lacking life.
I decided on a "walkabout" workshop where we would walk the streets of the Sydney CBD, via some spots I had previously shot some fashion editorial stuff - with model Scarlette Beth (Shan). I'd worked with Shan before and she's an excellent model, especially for this kind of shooting.
The various kinds of lighting you can find in Sydney encompass just about everything you could think of - so being able to see and recognise a particular type of light, then quickly set up a shot, including positioning the model etc. would provide a good variety of shots and knowledge for Greg. Also it's challenging to work on your feet that way and it keeps things form getting static - there WILL be life in the pictures when you work this way so hopefully this would help Greg shift from static posed studio shots in static light into a more dynamic way of working and seeing pictures.
I met Greg at a Cafe off Martin Place and we talked for about an hour. This allows me to further learn what Greg wanted out of the workshop (I do a simple questionnaire before hand of course) and also to answer any and all questions he might have.
Greg soaked up the experience and the information like a sponge. We met Shan in Martin Place, and she looked absolutely stunning, wearing all black. I'd asked her for a black sleek look which would go with the streets and alleyways of the CBD perfectly. After we met Shan, we started shooting right away - beside the columns that run around the Sydney Post Office. Moving around the columns allowed a few challenging lighting conditions from back light to reflected light.
I normally set up the shot, position the model in the right place with the light etc. take a few shots and then let the workshop participant go. Greg was off, with his beautiful digital Leica and I could see he was getting awesome shots right away.
Next we strolled down toward Angel Arcade and some other alley-ways near where the old tank stream used to run. The light in those alleyways in really nice reflected light, mainly from the windows of large buildings. There's also some good bands of direct light and the street scape provides great compositional opportunities.
We even ran into a shop/cafe and fired off a few shots through the window with Shan inside.
Since the workshop there's been no stopping Greg. He's booked and shot a handful of models with excellent results. Check out his work:
While your browsing, check out Shan's beautiful portfolio too:
Here are some of Greg's excellent captures from the day:
Love working with Sylph whenever she's in town. So during her Sydney tour in April, we hooked up. Initially she was going to come up to the Mountains, but living in a new place that isn't great for shooting in I decided to book a room in a fave hotel in Sydney. That way, we could do the portraits we were talking about plus some other stuff - there were lots of ideas.
Basically the shoot was divided up as follows:
1. A set for Sylph's Patreon account - boudoir/strip.
2. Some smoking portraits - yep Sylph smoking :)
3. Diamonds & Pearls portraits (inspired by Marc Lagrange)
4. Something a bit sexier and edgy.
1. Patreon Boudoir/Strip Set
We had the use of two rooms! Such a nice manager, he knew we were shooting and offered us one of the other rooms for a couple of hours before the guests arrived at 1PM. It had different décor and a different vibe so this was great for variability in our images.
I can't share these shots here except for one - a black and white version - the final set is in colour with lovely warm tones. The set starts with Sylph in some really stunning new lingerie she purchased recently and proceeds slowly as she takes it off, piece by piece until nude. You'll have to go to Sylph's Patreon page to see them when they're released - soon. Why not support a hard working dedicated artist while you're there? I do.
2. Smoking Portraits
Yea they're smoking hot and she is smoking :) Shot on film with the Pentax 67 loaded with Tri-X and also digital. We did a quick practice run before lighting one up, luckily the smoke alarms didn't go off. Although, I've shot some smoking shots in these rooms before with no adverse reactions.
3. Diamonds & Pearls Portraits
What's a Diamonds & Pearls portrait? Check out the series and the book by Marc Lagrange.
My ADORNED series of portraits were heavily inspired by Marc Lagrange - whose work I love. Imagine my interest when Sylph mentioned she'd been reading a copy of his book 'Diamonds and Pearls' and wanted to shoot some portraits along those lines. She brought with her some elaborate jewellery and of course she brought her elegant form along too, so evident in these images.
4. Something a Bit Sexier and Edgy
OK so Malcom Grant, Sylph's host, had given her a studded collar and said see what you can do with that. So we shot a heap of stuff with the collar being used in various ways. Most of these are probably for Patreon too. We also shot some fashion/nude portrait stuff against the wonderful slate coloured wall paper. I lit these shots so they'd have that edgy, almost Polaroid look.
As usual, there's lots more shots to edit from this shoot that will slowly appear around the place. If you're a photographer and Sylph's in your town - go book her now, you won't be disappointed.