Sometimes mistakes can have the best outcomes. I’m a very organic, instinctive photographer and my relationship with model Emmanuelle Duchesne as always been the same too. From the first moment we met, we agreed never to repeat ourselves. And so it has continued to be.
Breaking the mould
On our previous shoots together we’d always shot outside, but this time we were going to be inside a studio. The thinking was that it’d be a different location, a different dynamic and that it would result in a fresh, different outcome. Half way through the shoot, Diego, the studio owner (himself, a photographer of some note) dropped by to see how we were doing. Turning the corner into the studio, his face was a smile of bemused puzzlement as he looked at the setup: “Mark… we normally put the girls in front of the Lastolight backdrop.” (I had put my model inside, with two flash guns, some leaves and a rope as props). We all fell about laughing.
Waves of images
However that said, the results I was getting were really random and strangely breathless. I had been looking for an abstract way of shooting Emmanuelle and now I had found it – albeit by accident using a collapsible back drop in a way it had never been designed for. I kept on shooting curious to see where this would go.
Emmanuelle is an amazing, instinctive model and she really threw some great shapes that day, only briefly pausing to look at the back of the camera during our breaks. It turned out to be hard work and a seriously hot shoot even the studio lights weren’t on.
By the end, I knew I had something really special. So special that looking through the contact sheets afterwards I was struggling to work out which shots to remove – that was November 2010. In the end, I left the shoot on my hard drive for nearly three years. Spinning through them years later, it became obvious. I wasn’t looking at stills, I was looking at frames; in effect a moving video installation. Time heals all.