Monday, 14 January 2019

The Joys and Pain of Simple Photography

I received a phone call yesterday from a former colleague, who having spotted a typo on one of my blog posts. Had decided to do me a turn of kindness and let me know. Which I appreciated very much. I think it was also a good excuse to give me a call and chat about how the Industry is going. I was praised for my uncompromising commitment to photography; though I assured my friend I had compromised a lot in my time. As we discussed jobs from the past and diminishing fees, I was told about a former client of years of theirs, who had eventually asked them if they could; "just set up the lights" so they could do the shots themselves. We weren't using face-time but I'm sure my eyes rolling into the back of my head were clearly visible at the other end. Or maybe it was a groan I let slip, certainly not a gasp.. "I made it look too simple" my colleague continued. And indeed I think they had. There is a point in every good photographers life; when no matter what you are looking at; they have made what they did look simple, too simple. And people start to believe it really was. Sometimes, what they have done actually was simple - it's just it has taken years of experience to be able to see, feel, and deliver that simplicity. I like this shot below. It's a branding shot from the end of an eCommerce/Lookbook shoot. And it is simplicity itself. Just stand the model in the light (*details below). When did I learn how to pull off simplicity? To simply ask the model, any model to just slink back against the wall, and then for me to pull off the shot? It wasn't always that way! After all it's one of the most ridiculous things in the world, this wall leaning pose.. and in the wrong hands looks as unnatural as it really is.
Good model, check. Fabulous garments and styling - check. Team - check. Years of experience.. Check check check!
A branding fashion shot made in natural light from an eCommerce fashion shoot. Photographed in Sydney by Kent Johnson for BUthelabel.
I like this shot. And it is really, truly, a natural shot. I know enough about what is happening with the light and the camera on a technical front, so it does not interfere with the subject and the mood of the model. I've got lovely garments that I have a feeling for along with the scene before my eyes. And I have a cooperative team, and a wonderful experienced and beautiful Danish model, whom if I remember correctly; I even asked If I could just toss her hair a little; to lift the shot (sometimes its easier to do it yourself).. So I like this shot - but even we ended up overthinking it; bringing in a large light to soften the shadow on the next look. But that was OK as it gave us a nice variation on the shadow theme which was/is a key feature of the branding shots over the plain white background lookbook pictures. I often say to people that simple is the most difficult of all - it certainly almost always involves a lot more than the eye sees and what is perceived. And that's good; because the power of simplicity is that it just looks beautiful when you see it, and when you see it, you don't have to think about anything else at all.

*Don't overexpose the highlights, sun on white linen, black silk top; don't let shadow fall on wrong part of face; is shadow too dark(?) keep the feeling carefree and natural. Which after 3 hours of continuous modelling, shooting and outfit changes is no small thing - here we are, come on everyone, it's nearly done and  it's almost time to go home.

Book Me..
Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
0433 796 863