Photography: Shavonne Wong/ Zhiffy Photography HMUA: Andrea Claire Stylist: Jen Su/ SpunkPunkFunk Wardrobe: SpunkPunkFunk Model: Luth Seah Assistant: Steven Foo
I am so grateful the the images from this shoot are going places! They have been posted up on SHOWStudio, Nick Knight's instagram, Wonderful Machine, Wetransfer and I am so honoured by that.
This project that took place during a recent program I took part in where we were issued with monthly briefs for shoot concepts and we as the artists had to take it from there. The Nick Knight Mastered Program is a 4-month online talent program whereby Nick and his team of highly trained industry experts worked with myself and various other photographers from around the world to push our creative comfort zones and really get us thinking about our processes. I was definitely hoping to walk out of the program with some more insight and hopefully some great shoots for my portfolio as well as I am planning to go to NYC in April! Now that the course it's over, I have to say that there are some parts that really didn't come up to par to what I was expecting and things that I wasn't too happy with but if anybody would like to know more, feel free to drop me an email.
I however couldn’t be happier with the results of this shoot in particular! Here’s how I got inspired, the research and the thought process behind it.
I've chosen Gareth Pugh's S/S16 collection as it really stood out to me among the rest of the other collections. Maybe I'm a mynah that really likes shiny things hahaha..
A little research showed that his SS16 collection was a tribute to Soho. Or at least the death of it, whatever he could remember of what it used to be. With that in mind, while looking at his collection, the thought that came into my mind was the word "Rejection" That the freaks and outcasts of Soho are no longer welcomed and their places are being closed down and replaced with frozen yoghurt stores, Starbucks and luxury flats. When I look at his collection, I feel as though they were putting on a facade, a mask to hide who they are and who among us haven’t felt that way to some degree at one point in our lives? I love shoots and projects that incorporate an element of human emotion into it as opposed to just being only visually pleasing so this spoke to me on an artistic level as well. The use of the sequins, strong colours seemed to create a shiny, elaborate outfit so nobody can see the inside.
When I saw the above video though, I saw strength and power. And a little more research showed that Gareth Pugh said earlier this year "I always want to do something that looks powerful, that gives women strength – but I suppose that a gay man’s perspective on a strong woman could be quite one-sided. So I work with Ruth [Hogben] and Katie [Shillingford], and to try and develop that, and to make it into something that is believable and is approachable, and understandable." So I wanted to show that too. In this shoot I want to be able to portray pain of rejection, the hurt of being left alone, the need to mask oneself, the then being able to be strong despite all that.
This is the makeup and hair for the runway show itself. I want to be able to use elements of it but without the stocking over the model's face as I would like to really capture the facial emotions so everything will be directly painted on. So glad I was able to get a fantastic makeup artist for this!
This is all the references for how I want to shoot it. I want there to be colours to portray the craziness of Soho, or at least the craziness of the kind of person that gets rejected by society. However I still want the photos to be somewhat dark, mysterious and slightly unfocused/blurry to portray the messiness and grittiness of life.
As for lighting, it was done with the help of my assistant that day, Steven! He had incredible technical knowledge that was very helpful on set. Basically, as you can see from the reference images above, I knew I wanted to use strong colours. Images were lit with 3 lights covered in colour gels. For modifiers, they were changed between softboxes and reflectors. If you look upclose, the lights are not also necessarily covered by only one colour. Half of it could be red and another yellow. Nobody said that one colour per light was the rule!
For this shoot, I also got to use Canon’s studio for this shoot which was just awesome. Super happy working with Canon since they really are always very supportive of my work and projects. This shoot carried a bit of a heavy theme and I wanted to do it right so being able to use a studio really helped keep the right vibe and structure for what we were trying to do. Thank you Alvin and Lance from Canon! Of course a huge thank you to the amazing team that I had!
Hope you guys enjoyed this post! I know every artists process is different but I’d like to think we all have similarities in our approach. Its always fascinating to me to better understanding the ticks, emotions and inspirations of different photographers so I hope you guys enjoyed learning a little bit more about mine. A memorable shoot for me and amongst other things, it really solidified the idea for me that inspiration and deeper meaning can and should always be portrayed in our work.
Would love to know what you think!