There was only one dress left to do in this fashion shoot and it turned out to be the most daring and interesting shot to get. This is where fashion photography – and in particular editorial photography – gets to be the most fun; when it’s damned difficult and it calls for a real departure and some risk taking.
It was see-through, multicoloured and almost iridescent in its choice of fabric. It was both beautiful and challenging. With only one connecting point it made dressing interesting and could possibly look shapeless on a lesser body. Fortunately I had Heather as a model. After doing some test shots we discovered that any under garments immediately showed through once it had been hit by the flash. So after talking it through, we decided to shoot it nude in a closed set.
Shooting. The how and the why
Rather than go for a flat, this-is-the-dress kind of shot I decided I wanted something more suggestive. I wanted to show how it might feel to wear this dress. Given the swirling, creased shape of the garment I wanted these shots to have a movement that accentuated its patterns and free-flowing form. So I decided to shoot it in slow-motion. Not so easy to do with studio flashes built for short bursts of strong light. It took a fair bit of experimentation with the camera settings but we got there in the end. Everything you see in these shots was done in-camera. Looking back, it was the only way it could have been done. Since we were taking this fashion shoot into experimental territory I needed to be able to look on the back of the camera and see if the results were good. And they were. Better than either us of could have expected.
I like photographs that look like they weren’t taken by me. By that I mean, I love the ‘happy accidents’ that can take place in photography. Sometimes setting up a shoot is as much about creating an environment for random things to happen as it is for the intended outcome. You kind of need both to be there. This was one of those shoots. Nothing makes me happier in a fashion shoot, when it’s two (or more) people working together to create a photograph or a style. By the way she moved her body and the poses she struck, Heather had as much to do with the outcome as I did. That’s part of the beauty and the risk of doing shots ‘in camera’.