Good evening everyone!
Today we have a guest and she is here to answer a couple of questions about the last shooting I posted on my sites/pages. (Did you like it?!?). It sort of was a first timer for her and I thought her insight on how does a shooting smoothly work might be interesting!
Feel free to ask us any additional questions! It would be an honour to satisfy your curiosity about our settings, gears, preparation workflow and all! Here we go 😀
Hello Maria, first time we met was actually for taking a photo of you in Luxembourg. Do you remember? Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
Hi Ed! Of course I remember : ) I couldn’t believe a photographer would find any artistic/aesthetic interest in my style or my looks and I was pretty flattered. I am always up for trying new things, and I appreciate all kinds of art, so despite being a bit shy about it, due to the friendly approach and how cool the idea of Street art sounded I decided to give it a shot! It was pretty exciting. As for myself, what can I say? … my name is María and I come from Spain, I moved to Luxembourg after doing a traineeship at the Parliament and, finding it very cool, I decided to stay. I now have a full time editorial job at a multinational and like to fill my rare free time gaps with things like going to the movies, to concerts, playing guitar, (fashion photography xD) and hanging out with friends.
You were a contact recommendation from about a half of your company’s staff! (Only half kidding). That day I met a busy bee indeed. The pics eventually ended up on the pages of a magazine published in the whole Great Region of Luxemburg. How would you describe your relationship with your own image on pictures/public image?
I didn’t know whether I was ready at first. As in, OK, I’m brave enough to pose, but should I? Will I accept and be happy with the result? with seeing my image published? I wasn’t sure I had the right to pretend to be a model, but I then I relaxed and let my ideals come first: I think all people are beautiful in a way, and it’s good to show diversity instead of following the rules established by these epidemic imposed universal beauty standards. I convinced myself that I had something to offer, as I was enthusiastic about it and I had actually been asked and recommended by other people. My first reaction when the result of this first shot together was out was “Wow, he’s an awesome photographer! he’s made me look great in this picture!”. My initial idea was that it was the technical and artistic ability of yours that made this picture beautiful and that, in particular, had made me look good in the given context and environment. But the closer I looked into it the better I realized the result had little to do with editions or modifications (the picture looked super natural and not trying to modify or perfection reality) but with how comfortable we both felt, and how much passion was involved in the process. Since that moment I knew I could trust you to take pictures of me, and that I wanted to do my best to help create beautiful captures and feel even more relaxed in front of the camera to make the most out of what it has to offer in hands of people like you!
Last Sunday’s project has been tough to plan due to both our schedules. The long wait left us plenty of time to plan, talk, prepare… When it finally happened it took us nearly a full day! Was the actual shooting process different from what you imagined?
Last Sunday was my “biggest and most ambitious project” so far. We had been talking a lot about it, changing plans, ideas for settings and landscape, etc. But we were also thinking bigger than usual. This time we bought clothes online (apart from using the ones we could get hold of); Michelle, a professional make up artist, was there and we had thought of several ideas to capture vs. a single shot/idea session like our previous approach was. It was demanding indeed, I felt a bit more responsible for delivering and being up to the expectations that were put on me, but on the other hand I also knew we were playing with improvisation a lot, and that there was no pressure whatsoever to worry about. The whole planing process made me feel super excited about the project, and allowed for all the effort put into it and the long hours of shooting to be exciting and thrilling. I wouldn’t have imagined that we could spend 10 hours + taking pictures without getting bored, and I wouldn’t have expected either I could stand the torture of being in the cold, with a bra and a raincoat to then get asked to wet my hair without complaining too much (laughs).
Yeah well I recognize that if I feel there is a good shot to be taken, I simply ask for it! I don’t want to go back home and feel like “Damn why didn’t I at least ask for it?!!”
Of course, and I think that is how it should be, it’s just maybe things I could predict and imagine to a lesser extent than the rest. It’s risky, it’s challenging, and I like it.
Is there a particular “moment” you will actually remember from that day? Let’s imagine you would need to post one single Vine video from this shooting that both represents what you take away personally from this modelling exercise but also represents the actual results we made public? What would that be?
I couldn’t be able to pick one moment. I’d try to capture the conversations, the make up while being done by Michelle, the “before” and “after” of every look, when we laugh out of the silliness of a situation, when you come up with a new idea, when we stand in the same position for long periods of time, when I complain…And I would mainly try to give a balance of the ups and downs, the laughing and the concentration moments. I think that would reflect very well how hard the whole process is, but how rewarding and fun it is at the same time.
Fair enough! I leave you this… But now you need to choose only one picture out of our series from last Sunday and no “I like them all” answer! Roland Barthes defined in Camera Lucida photographs in terms of Studium and Punctum. Pick one picture and go on 😛 (Mwahaha)
I really do like them all! (ok, ok…); but I have 3 absolute favorites. The one lying down by the fountain at night with the raincoat, because of the dramatism of the colours, and the textures; the “Fuck sight” one because its fresh and cheeky and has a great contrast of colours; and my absolute favorite would probably be the close shot with the reflection in the mirror. I’m no expert but it looks technically perfect to me. The effect, the idea behind it, the colours and the execution. It’s crazy that from the super simple tools we used to try this effect out something so highly professional and beautiful came out!
Without demystifying the whole thing, it is true that in the end, it’s just a Sofa, a light and a roll of reflecting paper! I always thought people underestimate how creative photography can be without using retouching softwares like Photoshop… Post treatment is kept so low-key on that one it is hardly believable! We created a whole world in a frame with sooo little! How do you (Maria) now relate to this girl you see on the picture?
Well, I do feel close to that girl in the picture, I recognize myself and all of the elements we used in it. It’s true that the initial resources used seemed much more simple and almost rudimentary in comparison to the elaborate result, but the final scene, what you see now, is indeed, and not surprisingly, derived from the passion, the savoir – faire and the effort put when combining all these simple things into a winning magic combination!
Ok, last one! I usually work with models with a fair amount of posing experience. I think this can be intimidating in a way as people generally are fearing the camera, doubt their modelling skills… I remember you expressing doubts at some points! Can you give a few practical advices/tips to someone who would be tempted in trying something similar with me? (what to prepare, things to keep in mind, questions to ask…).
It is indeed very challenging, and the comparison is unavoidable. One usually has a very cliché idea on what posing means (we’ve all imitated models jokingly), but I would say it’s pretty off. I think I still have a lot to learn, but what’s helped me most is to relax and feel comfortable. At the beginning I felt stiff and nervous, hesitating on whether what I was doing made sense, looked good or ridiculous instead… Now I feel more relaxed in front of the camera, I rely on you giving me instructions and telling me to move in a way or the other, and in the meantime I do whatever feels right for the set and the context given. I suppose professional models know how to be more proactive and initiate the poses themselves, but I think both approaches can work if the photographer and model have a good communicative relationship, like it was the case.
Thanks Maria! Best regards 😀