I shot Penny just after Heather’s fashion shoot and I was still experimenting with the slow-shutter effect that I had been using previously. However this time I wanted to rein it. Make it more sombre, more moody. The model agency had a specific brief with Penny. They wanted to see a more adult, more mature take on her youthful appearance.
Compliments and Contrasts
By now, clothes were running thin as it was almost the end. I never like to repeating a dress or a look so it was time to get inventive. Photographing Penny in just a basque wasn’t going to cut it creatively for me. So, sometimes a fashion photographer has to play fashion designer to get the right ‘look’. Rooting through the crew’s coats I managed to find a couple of pieces I liked; a jacket with a silk inner lining and a fake fur parka hood. Pinning these items together we had our new ‘couture’ jacket – and just as importantly – Penny had a new prop to work with. For me, I now had some interesting / contrasting textures to photograph; a soft fur, a metallic jacket and the coarse stitch work of Chantal Vizard‘s (our fashion designer’s) basque.
Action vs Inaction
For me modelling can be like acting. Sometimes you have models who throw all kinds of bizarre poses – which can be great. Others just don’t. They’re stand just there, acting like mirrors for your thoughts. In the course of this shoot Penny started off as one and became the other. By doing less, she became more. By presenting a blank canvas, her head shots became more telling and in turn she gained the maturity and soulfulness that the agency were after.
Penny was a fantastic model to shoot with and in the end we shot a lot longer than I think either of us had expected. As a photographer I’m always looking for push myself, to get something different out of each fashion shoot and it’s even better when your subject can creatively push back too. Penny fits that role.