Thursday, 16 April 2009

Fashion & Portraits.

Is there a Fashion Photographer worth their salt who does not do a pretty good line in Portrait Photography too? I think not, fashion, people and portraits do have a lot in common even though the purpose of fashion pictures is quite different to portraiture. I think the common denominator is understanding your subject and getting to the core of the matter at hand be it the sitters personality or the form of a gorgeous dress or gown.

A portrait shoot with Artist Elodie Silberstein

I met the artist Elodie Silberstein at an opening a few months ago and then attended the opening of her show ‘Mothers Day’ at Mori Gallery a few weeks later. I had no idea what the show was going to be about or what form it would take so you can imagine my surprise when I found it was an instillation piece; a massive space full of pink light, shoes arranged on shelves along one wall, a beautiful ‘model’ writhing (ever so slowly) in the middle of the floor in ‘mothers shoes’ and in very large type on another wall, a letter to a mother, quite some time deceased! Well it wasn’t Silence of the Lambs but it was a little disturbing and exciting at the same time. And those shoes! Beautiful shoes all lined up, and that pair strapped to the model/hostage, well you get the idea.

Fast forward to Now; Elodie has come to the studio for me to take her portrait before a trip to France & the UK to see Galleries about her work. Elodie was a little nervous about having her portrait done but quite likes my work and had put her trust in me. I wanted the portrait to reflect her use of space and to somehow reflect her artistic interest in shoes; all bundled up into one shot.

Mothers Day by Elodie Silberstein, photography by Kent Johnson

We agreed that B&W would be nice and I started shooting with bits of studio equipment in shot, chatting about space and shoes and motivation for making art. After getting the shots out of the camera and looking through them on the computer we both felt we had some pretty good pictures and were pretty happy. But I thought maybe we should take just a few more frames; just to be sure.

I found Elodie a stool and then gave her the copy of Vogue Italia with the beautiful Ferragamo gatefold brochure spilling out of it that we had been admiring before the shoot; “Here, why not just hold this, we love these shoes!”

A portrait shoot with Artist Elodie Silberstein

I think the last shots turned out the best. After looking through the first set we could see that we had some lovely shots and Elodie could see that the portraits were just what she wanted, so now we were much more relaxed and trusting and the final pictures bring out all of that as well.

Mothers Day by Elodie Silberstein, photography by Kent Johnson

You can see more of Elodie’s work on her website here, and you can also see more of my portrait photography here. Click the images to see them by themselves.