THIS POST CONTAINS NSFW CONTENT
I recently had the opportunity to connect with film photographer Arianna Lago on an editorial for the September Issue magazine. Arianna was a fascinating photographer to shadow. She is Italian and moved to London when she was an adult for her career. She has only been doing photography for a short number of years but has a clear and distinct style to her work. Its soft, colorful, and extremely photojournalistic. Through a publication called Also Journal, I found an editorial she shot and just fell in love with her images. After reaching out she said I could work with her on set for a shoot for the "September Issue" magazine which is less fashion, and more fine art based.
The concept of the shoot was outlined in the brief Arianna sent me: exploring the complex duality women have within their own seduction, both the soft and the hard, gentle and extreme. Seduction is never a fixed idea and we are interested in exploring this tension through a mix of portraiture and still life. We will play with flesh tones, transparencies and softness and bring tension with awkward “dumped” doll poses and string distorting the body. We will have a few additional props which add tension.
This was also the first time I was able to witness a shoot with an art director. Gemma Fletcher is an art director based in the UK who works on editorial, commercial, and film projects. Her job is to develop and refine the overall concept of the shoot and dictate the images needed. We had actually previously met, as she had reviewed my work as part of an online course I have been taking. Gemma helped me understand how her role will change the outcome of the story. The photographer, stylist, props, etc all have different things they bring to the table. Gemma helps mediate all of those different ideas and brings together cohesion. She asks the questions of "does this fit the story?" or "what are we trying to say with this image?"
The shoot itself was different than anything else I saw in London. First and foremost, fine art shoots are not about the clothing. We weren't selling a product, we were selling an idea. There was less emphasis on things looking "pretty" or put together. The model, Tessa, was more abstract in her posing and we didn't necessarily have to see her face much of the time. Often times, Arianna would let Tessa just interact with the environment to get the best image. Since Arianna also shot film, we had to be very aware of the placement of the set and how the natural light changed throughout the day. I was in charge of redirecting the light and metering to make sure Arianna's settings matched up.
Overall, this was probably the most "conceptual" project I got to work on while I was abroad. This felt very London. It was edgy, had a message, and the styling was very playful and experimental. The distribution for this shoot will be in the September Issues magazine this fall accompanied by a written piece to compliment the photographs.