Gregoire and I first worked together on a fashion shoot in London’s Lightspot Studio, but for our second assignment I wanted to photograph him outside in a more gritty, editorial setting. So we travelled down to the London Bridge district with my old leather bike jacket as our key prop.
Unseen enemy / collaborator
Shuffling between the dimly-lit doorways and skipping from one shooting opportunity to another, we moved towards the dank rail-side lock-ups, looking for an aesthetic match.
Bizarrely for these head shots, given the fact that this was a location-based fashion shoot, the background doesn’t play much of a part at all. But what does come through though is the one thing you can’t see: the biting coldness. It was night and it was seriously freezing – in a way British summers can only be. That said, once we had settled into a rhythm, we’d both have to concede that the freezing conditions helped with our respective performances – I shot quicker and Gregoire looked genuinely cold.
Painting with light
I love my painting masters, none more so than Rembrandt, as can clearly be seen in the first photograph of this gallery. All of these photographs were all shot using a small camera flash and a single diffuser. The softened light really gave that first photograph the editorial quality I was looking for. It isn’t a fashion shot per se, because it’s not about the clothes, but more of a perfume ad ‘look’. The leather jacket here is more suggestive of the body and arms beneath, than descriptive. As a head shot, it’s all about the face and nothing should steal attention away from that.
Keep it simple
Even though there wasn’t a fashion stylist or make-up artist on this shoot, the look feels really balanced. The line between fashion photography and documentary photography regularly blurs for me. Push too much in either direction and the result can feel forced.