At the invitation of fellow fashion photographer Dushan Nadanasivam, I left London to join him in Paris to do a fashion shoot together. We were going to be shooting in the ‘Photo Studio La Salle de Bain‘. The photo studio is a split level house specifically designed for shooting fashion, advertising and catalog shoots. Dushan would be upstairs in the loft area and I would shoot downstairs in the salon de bain.
Of all the models that with were us that day, I spent most of time with Layka G, who arrived with her own fashion stylist and two outfits. As we were going to be in the basement I decided I wanted to use the dark surroundings to my advantage – a definite challenge when you have two black dresses to shoot. Working with a mixture of soft boxes and flashguns on each photograph, we managed to get a strong editorial look to the photos. The cool, marble gallery-like atmosphere really helped set the tone.
In the middle of the studio was a very modern bath. Piercingly white with chrome water-jets it looked very space-age, like some kind of a futuristic door or docking port. Being white, it was also beautifully matched to Layka’s cropped-white hair. But more than that, I thought it was a huge photo reflector in disguise that if lit correctly, would kick out some great soft light in some very interesting directions. By strategically taping flashguns around Layka we managed to get some great portraits and full-length photographs of her in the bath.
The last shot of the day was just something I saw through the view finder as we were finishing up. I’d taken a test shot where Martine Peguet’s (our parisian hair & make-up artist’s) hands were still in the shot. Looking at the resulting photograph, it struck me how much the bath looked like some kind of futuristic birthing pool, as if designed for for the perfect android (in this case Layka) with lots of technician’s hands moving around her. The next thing I knew I was rushing round the photo studio looking for “spare hands” and I managed to pull in any of the models who were waiting to shoot with Dushan. I didn’t get as many as I wanted, but congratulations to Layka for holding the pose and the ‘look’ while it all came together.