Wednesday January 2nd, 2013
by Maria Luci
Recently, Sharp for Men‘s fashion editor, Luke Langsdale, contacted UK-photographer Ross Woodhall about wo very unique and fairly simple shoots, that eventually turned into a single breathtaking project. One was an outdoor assignment, highlighting gear and outdoor clothing while the other was an indoor shoot for evening wear. Then there was a change of plans, and the two shoots melded into one unbelievable shoot on top of a glacier.
Ross is used to working on mountains for his adventure/sports photography, but usually it’s people in snow pants, skiing or snowboarding. This time, he would be photographing men in tuxedos and wingtips at the edge of a snow-capped cliff. To make the assignment even more magestic, Ross suggested to Sharp that they shoot at the Swiss skiing village of Saas Fee. He knew the village was easily accessible for the clients and that its mountains would provide a breathtakingly beautiful backdrop.
Once the Sharp team was excited about Saas Fee, Ross put them in touch with the Swiss Tourist Board who were “brilliant and took care of almost everything.” Once casting was completed in London, they all flew to the land of fine chocolate and finer watches for a black tie adventure. Of their days on the glacier, Ross says,
Shooting in the mountains is great, I’ve been doing it for 20 years. But you have to be aware of your surroundings, especially in Saas Fee as there are crevasses literally everywhere up there. And our days there were very hectic. Day one was a 6:30am start, on the glacier until 8:00pm.
Day two was a later start at 7:30 am, then the equipment and clothing had to be transported up another gondola, dressing room and equipment set up—which on both days where in lift station rooms organized by the tourist board—and then plenty of hiking.
The biggest challenge for Ross and the crew was moving around on the windy glacier with all the equipment—especially the lighting gear (think an umbrella in a hurricane, but the umbrella is 5-feet wide). Their models also had to traverse the uneven rock faces wearing patent leather dress shoes, often teetering on the edge of a 500-ft cliff, with little to no traction to speak of.
Luckily, everyone made it out alive… And Ross was able to capture some stunning and unique photographs. The client loved the images and have used them in both their November and December issues.
View more of Ross’ work at rosswoodhall.com.
Wednesday December 12th, 2012
A year ago, New York-based fashion photographer Joshua Pestka began shooting portraits of each model he worked with on commercial shoots. He then started uploading them to a blog he called The Day’s Hello. The blog became an opportunity to connect with his subjects on a more casual, direct level—it also served as a quick and easy way to remember his favorite models. The first 100 portraits on “The Day’s Hello” were shot following a strict set of rules: they were all landscape, black and white, and were left uncropped. Now into his second phase of the project, Joshua is incorporating color, cropping and varying distances and orientations to add additional flavor and creativity. However, he still adheres to his 5-10 minute rule, shooting each portrait quickly to avoid obsessive tendencies. The idea behind Joshua’s blog, along with his stunning portraits, caught my attention and I got in touch with him to learn more. Below is our interview; Enjoy!
- Maria Luci
How would you describe your photographic style?
I think that there’s more consistency in what I shoot than how I shoot. Depending on the concept, the job, the collaborations with artists, models, art directors and so on, how you shoot needs to be a fluid thing. I try to work on a feeling more than anything. Almost everything I’ve shot shows the subject in a self-reliant light. I think that there’s a strength in most people and I lean towards showcasing that.
How would you describe “The Day’s Hello”?
“The Day’s Hello” is a collaborative work in progress that’s a mix between a fashion and a personality blog. It’s a development project for me. Most of the images on the blog are shot within about 5 minutes. For me, with a tendency to be a bit too meticulous at times, relegating myself to 5 minutes to get it right or not get it at all has helped force me to grow.
You use Tumblr; why?
It’s such a simple tool to use, especially for showcasing photography work. I have a twitter account, for example, but don’t really have much to say that’s either amusing or that I feel would benefit the world at large. Most people like looking at pictures, though, so with it’s myriad of themes, Tumblr offers a great way to showcase new material in a way that isn’t too convoluted.
How has the project evolved over time?
“The Day’s Hello” started out with a rigid set of rules. Same lens, no cropping, minimal retouching, and entirely shot in black and white (camera settings as well) as opposed to being shot in color and converted. After 100 portraits, I felt as if that format was something I’d been able to really feel as if it was my own, but I was also starting to lose interest. Time for a change. Looser rules. Cropping, color, movement, different framing instead of only face-focus. So far, so good.
Have there been any challenges with the blog?
Light. I’ll usually try to shoot after the commercial work is done, but during the winter, especially, finding light can be hard. Also, if there’s a lot of makeup, it’s difficult to just pop outside during lunchtime and make something look natural. But overall, it’s been great to have The Day’s Hello as a reference for when I haven’t seen someone in a while and need to surreptitiously double check on what their names are (sorry!).
What has the response been?
It’s been great. I show my printed portfolios to potential clients quite a bit, and have brought The Day’s Hello around as a secondary item to show via the iPad. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback saying that it should be its own standalone print portfolio. This is something I’m seriously considering at the moment.
How do you see The Day’s Hello in the future?
The blog is showing the evolution of my photography outside the commercial and studio work I do. As I learn to shoot more for it, I’m learning to shoot more for myself. I don’t do it for anyone or any client, so I’m the one who determines where it goes in the end. It’s been a really freeing experience, and I hope to see it continue for quite some time. Maybe I will eventually take it into the studio to see if I can combine the two styles… we’ll see.
View more of Joshua’s work at joshuapestka.com and on The Day’s Hello.
Thursday November 8th, 2012
by Maria Luci
Our fashion photographer Samantha Wolov‘s recent project combined all of her favorite elements: a creative team she loved, an amazing location, “chiaroscuro-esque lighting”, and all things art deco. It was, in a word, “perfect.” The shoot was the brainchild of Samantha and her then styling partner Alanna Anderson. At the time, Alanna had been in contact with up-and-coming knitwear designer Jeanette Au whose latest collection was inspired by the Erté-era Ballets Russes (or, The Russian Ballets). Au’s specific muses included the ballets of Sergei Diaghilev‘s and the paintings of Léon Bakst. Having once worked in a gallery that sold Erté serigraphs, Samantha knew she had to shoot the collection.
Working on the concept for the shoot, Samantha decided to highlight the theatricality of the collection and it’s inspiration through both the lighting and location. She adds, “I knew we needed to be at a location that subtly referenced Au’s source material, but not in a bash-you-over-the-head kind of way.” With this in mind, she chose the Paramount Theater in Oakland, an art deco landmark. According to Samantha, the space has “the same degree of elegance and drama as the collection, but isn’t so similar in aesthetic that it would compete.”
With the location chosen, Samantha got to work with her “dream team” with Alanna heading up styling and her friend Anna as the model—who Samantha says is the closest person she has to a muse. Samantha and Alanna share an art history background, which Samantha believes keeps them on the same page, and lets them “see the bigger picture faster.”Alanna understood Samantha’s need for “timelessness and classicism” in the styling and “worked hard to create looks that were opulent and appropriate for the story.”
To create a chiaroscuro affect, Samantha, who’s typically fairly minimal with her lighting, had to add extra lights to capture the desired look. She also wanted to bring Erté’s style in—”the saturated colors, the crispness of his line”—which meant a very conscious approach to framing her subject. Samantha adds, “I think it’s hard to translate [his sense of space] into a photograph, it’s a challenge to do him justice.” But she had to try, and she considers the resulting photos to be some of her best work yet.”I knew this was going to be a great story,” she says, “And it was. It’s one of my all-time favorites.”
The photos were recently published in GLASSbook, a fashion magazine based out of Toronto.
View more at samanthawolov.com.
Tuesday August 21st, 2012
by Maria Luci
Evaan Kheraj is a Vancouver-based fashion photographer, director and cinematographer. His days are spent creating emotional fashion stills and videos in a style that he characterizes as “cinematic realism.” Evaan’s unique and colorful photographs have caught the eyes of fashion magazines around the world—from Vancouver, to Los Angeles, to London and now, even Sweden.
Evaan’s Scandinavian connection all began after he received a call from Jonna Berg, the editor-in-chief of one of Sweden’s biggest fashion magazines, STYLEBY. Jonna was looking for a Canadian photographer to shoot up-and-coming Swedish actress Alicia Vikander while she was filming in Vancouver. She thought Evaan would be perfect for the job.
Evaan was excited for the assignment as he’d been itching to photograph Alicia for some time now. He says, “I’d seen images of her in movie posters and thought it would be great to photographer her because of her intense emotion.” With ideas already in mind, Evaan agreed to the assignment and soon got to work with Jonna concepting the overall look and feel of the spread. The STYLEBY team pulled photographs from Evaan’s portfolio to create a mood board for the shoot and they worked from there to set a cohesive tone. Evaan also put together location ideas and sent those over to Sweden for approval. Then, once everything was set and Alicia’s schedule was in place, production began.
According to Evaan, celebrity fashion shoots are standard assignments for him, but this shoot was a bit different as he’s used to having the client on set. He says, “Given we were were in Vancouver and the STYLEBY team is in New York and Sweden, my team and I were shoot on our own, which is atypical.” What was typical though was the tight time frame Evaan and his team had to work within. Alicia was busy filming “The Seventh Son” with Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges, so they only had a small window to photograph numerous set ups—six setups in four locations to be exact. However, according to Evaan, Alicia was a trooper and they were able to make it through all of the locations. Evaan adds,
Alicia was fabulous. She was extremely pleasant to work with and was about as natural as it gets in front of the camera. At no point did we feel rushed and she made my life easy.
STYLEBY was thrilled with the results and ended up using shots from every set up in their July issue. Evaan was also pleased with the photographs, adding that, “It’s probably the most representative of the way I like to use light. I love natural light and shadows, they go hand in hand with realism.”
View more of Evaan’s work at evaan.ca.
Thursday June 14th, 2012
Natalie Young‘s fashion work has a natural ease quality to it. More lifestyle than high fashion, her photos share a sense of spontaneity and familiarity. They’re real. This attraction to authenticity was what first had Natalie noticing Rising Sun & Co, a clothing brand committed to creating tailor made, authentic American clothing. As soon as she came across Rising Sun, Natalie knew she had to work with them—that she was the perfect photographer to showcase their brand. And that’s just what she did.
Natalie and her producer first discovered Rising Sun at a fashion convention. She explains her immediate attraction to the company,
We were drawn to the authenticity that’s apparent in their philosophy: “Drawing inspiration from master tailors of a bygone era, when good design, superior quality, and pride in your work actually mattered.”
Later, visiting their L.A. workshop, we saw their team of craftsman who work largely on turn-of-the-century machines to produce their garments. There’s an early 1900′s working-class sensibility to the line: an unpretentious blend of style and durability. Their down-to-earth vibe meshed well with my own style of shooting, as well as my own personal tastes.
Soon after meeting the Rising Sun team, Natalie got to work on a shoot for the brand. She’d found the perfect location while scouting for another assignment, a motorcycle shop specializing in handcrafted bikes with its own art gallery attached. Upon first laying her eyes on the spot, Natalie knew she had to shoot there. And now with the Rising Sun project, she knew she’d found the perfect combination. So, Natalie and her producer, “developed a concept that revolved around the vintage working-class craftsman” and used the bike shop as their backdrop.
The shoot went swimmingly with the client very happy with the resulting photos. Natalie also got an added benefit from the shoot as well,
A wonderful bonus to this whole experience was getting to know the couple that own the motorcycle shop & art gallery (Michael and Robin at South Bay Customs). Two wonderful souls that also embodied the same values of quality, style and individual expression that originally drew me to Rising Sun. I went back to the shop a month later and filmed a short documentary piece about them and their space. It will be released soon on my blog and Facebook page.
Rising Sun is using Natalie’s images in trade show advertising and they’ll also be showcased in an editorial spread in the July issue of Pistol Magazine. She’s now working on a motion piece for them as well that will be released in August. “It’s going to be rad. Watch out for it!”
View more of Natalie’s work on her website, natalieyoung.com.
- Maria Luci