Fashion & Formation
A Vogue-inspired editorial inspired by the athleticism & high fashion of the 1920's
The era of the early 1900's has always held a very vibrant state of intrigue and value to myself and many artists. The boom of industrialization matched with the growth of the middle and high classes created a new paradigm in which fashion and art would soon be reshaped and seen through new lenses. The textured tangibles of the time - glowing street lamps, flash photography bulbs upon the red carpet of Hollywood's growing popularity, the beautifully romantic aviation age and new fashion advances now available to the masses - created a idealistic scene in which the imagination had little boundary and seemingly-endless inspiration. It was this era and it's attributes that inspired this editorial - a look into the world of athleticism and high fashion in the 1920's through the lens of Vogue and a modern paradigm. A look into the behind the scenes and an insight into the specific editing is found below the editorial.
The behind the scenes & insight into the process
One of the best pieces of advice I was given when starting out in freelance business was making personal work a high priority - not just with time but with a myriad of my resources. Personal work is what often drives, inspires and brings the professional and paid work. I saw this first hand when one of my first personal shoots brought one of my biggest clients to this day - I was brand new at business, did a quick shoot to test some new gear and posted a photo, tagging a few clients I would have wanted. A day later one of those companies contacted me and within a month I had a contract that was more than I made in my corporate 9-5.
It was then that I made a decision that no matter my state of business, schedule or finances, personal shoots would be a non-negotiable for me - and not just because they often brought work, but because they allowed me the room to grow, experiment and gain better understanding of my equipment, my style and how I can best serve my clients on any given shoot.
Enter this project.
I had been deeply inspired by Vogue's material from the 1920's and 1940's, as well as the world of the high-fashioned and high class within those eras. So I set out to create an editorial that would capture the essence of those styles set in a modern day paradigm. I hired a hair and makeup artist, a group of models, an assistant and a behind the scenes photographer to capture the process. I knew the location would be crucial in that it would need to be void of modern day aesthetic and speak to the particular vignette I was after. I knew a friend who happened to live in a gated community in which they had this mostly unused tennis court that had vines growing around 3/4 of it's encasing fencing and was old enough to have a worn look that lacked the modern touch.
We spent 2 hours working on hair and makeup, a note worth making to any and all photographers - always overestimate the time you'll need for that process. Then we moved to the tennis court and began setting up and shooting. I knew the look I wanted - flat, painterly and cinematic with a specific nod to the 1920's color and texture. We set up lights and modifiers and began to work on creating the right lighting. As in most things in life, the only thing you can count on is change and you have to be prepared for the curve balls. Since hair and makeup took far longer than I had accounted for, we were losing daylight quickly and suddenly my strobes were not working well in a dimly lit, shadow-filled scenario. So I called an audible, turned the strobes off, pulled in some reflectors and began shooting with natural light. And in a moment it all came together.
With daylight quickly lessening, we rushed through a myriad of shots I knew that I wanted and then spent a couple minutes experimenting with shots I began to think of whilst on set. Within an hour and a half we had captured enough and lost all daylight and called it a day. The editing process was a long, specific journey to get the color and tone just right. I spent several weeks on retouching and dialing in the right feel and then a bit longer applying across the spectrum of images we had captured.
In the end it proved to not only be one of my favorite projects to date, but also has been one of the more successful projects in garnering jobs from clients who wanted a similar aesthetic. And it went down as yet another reason to put money, time and energy into personal projects.