This fashion shoot was serious fun but it had to be shot quickly. Our model, Samantha, had to be at another casting session in half an hour. Everything needed to come together really fast. -How did I want the make-up? -How did I want the hair? Shifting from fashion photographer to fashion designer, I looked between Samantha and the copper coloured dress hanging on the clothing rail. “Bride of Frankenstein. I want it to be like The Bride of Frankenstein”. Pash and Sue-Tanya’s (my stylist and hair stylist’s) faces were priceless. They looked completely dumbstruck: “-Wha, huh?”
Samantha, our model, got it though. I explained the photo concept to her as quickly as I was thinking of it. She was to be this closeted librarian-teacher type who is very button-down and yet touched by a crazed madness that rips through her when she’s not at work. Think angular poses. Like a ostrich. Think ‘Mars Attacks’. -These are the kind off the spur fashion briefings you can expect as a model with me.
Music is the key. There’s a prevalent thinking that you play what the model likes (up-tempo dance music etc.). Well, I play what I like, or more accurately, what I think suits the character and atmosphere of that individual photo setup. I can’t remember what it was this time but it was probably loud and spiky. My best suggestion is to keep iTunes open with a very large removable drive of songs nearby.
When Samantha returned for her shoot from hair and make-up, Sue-Tanya had done wonders. She had created a mad egg-like beehive on top of our fashion model and she really looked the part.
It’s all in the performance
Actors make the best models a friend told me. To be honest, I can’t remember if Sam had an acting background or not, but that was they way I directed the poses. Some models need minute directions in each photograph (left a it, right a bit etc.), with others you just out throw out encouragement and see what happens and Samantha just flew. Weird pose after weird pose, clutching a tailors dummy, jumping across the studio -she got it. It was a very concentrated, yet fun, twenty minutes to do a fashion shoot in.
When it was over Sam just glowed, wiggling in her high heels and fly-away hair. “Damn, I really want to stay and do some more but…” it was over. She had to go just as we too had to move on to the next model.