Saturday, 16 June 2012


I promised myself, with my role model in mind (she doesn't really know me, but everyone needs someone to idolize, so bare with me) that I will follow her lead and describe the trials and tribulations of every photo shoot I do meticulously… I’ve been super-slacking my blog for the past month, but that’s only because I’ve been too busy gathering the stories for it :P
But okay. Here goes. 

1.   May 2012, the Archimetrics business promos
Location: Ljubljana, make up and outfits  in-situ. Light was half day, half ambient, half flash… :D
The Archimetrics duo are two young architects I’ve worked with before – they are those sort of people that you can trust to do what they do better than I can. They made my call card so well, they totally redeemed my faith in architects. But we’ll get to that later. The photo shoot was in their magnificent home, they knew what they wanted, they were prepared, the light was lovely, their demands were logical and exact – an easy task for me. By now it’s painfully obvious who knows what they want and who just fusses. Unfortunately people who know what they want are in dire minority in my business. 
 2.  The Harp lady photo shoot, personal/business promos
Location: Celje; make up and outfits  in-situ, light was mostly day, some flash…
This was a paid photo shoot in the lady’s apartment (we scared the cat out of the window), she posed with a harp, sitting next to a window with pale curtains. She wore her own dresses and jewelry and would play her music most of the time. Because I wasn’t sure, and neither was she, which photos would represent her better, we did some artistic and some very face-on ones…

3. first photo shoot
Location: Celje. Make-up and costumes super impro and the star of the shoot was Ape’s dandelion hair.
Ape just arrived and this was, I think three days into her stay here, she was still thawing and getting her sea legs (or Celje legs :))
Tamara initiated the shoot and at first we really didn’t have much idea about what we can or want to do. First shoots are always like that, that’s why I like to start with basic beauty. In this case however, we were shooting indoors, so we had to skip basic beauty…
Tamara, Klara and Ape all posed, at first in a group, which didn’t work (I am still not all that good with group shots in false light), later individually, which worked excellently. Tamara did some mirrored or sitting full body length shots, showing off her physique, Klara did some excellent dark lying downs and Ape did some wicket backlit sitting downs with her hair in a ball. As we learned, her hair is best when just washed, but craziest when just combed :D

4.       The photo shoot in the park - Frida
Location: Celje, make-up by me as seen on the net, something a little pushy, aiming for a Frida impression (unibrow, color, gold jewelry…). Laterwards we were joined by Tamara and Miha and did some dark skin vs pale skin duets
The shoot started by my window, just for the make-up shot. We did some nice, mild backlit shots with various tree branches from the park site, some aimed at symmetrical shots of Ape in a dark parka, also catching the lens butterflies/aliens. Then we had coffee and talked like nuts about whom we would stalk if we ever got to Hollywood (they would have to be American celebrities, whereas most really good ones are non so.) 

5.    Klara Katana photoshoot (Klara of the Blades)
Weather: fucked, so Location: my impro studio. Lights mostly spotlights, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ Henry. Make-up and armory by me (once the big blades started coming out it was hard not to get tempted by the General’s gun collection also). Also, we wanted Klara’s hair to be wet, so she had to kneel above a cold-water (and she didn’t say anything!!?  I could have given her the warm water!!)) bucket. The blades were:
Long sword one-hander (medieval)
Bayonet-turned-short sword 
A Gurkha
… and Klara’s wet hair.
In addition we did some beauty shots (without the blades) on the balcony, some wailed close-ups of the face and some wet hair ¾ body shots in frozen motion. In post production some of those got wings. 

6.     Dark Rain
Location: my apartment in Celje and the promenade by the river. Make up and dresses – impro and a red umbrella, light mostly daylight, such as it was. Extra: dog :D
At first we attempted to take dark background photos of a dark person in dark make-up, which didn’t work particularly well (now I know why: the impression of lack of light is only on the audience – in truth the lights would had to have been a lot more controlled.) We did some sensual ‘Italian or Spanish Vogue’ shots of her lying in the large old chair, window blinds casting shadows on her.
Later we went out, though in again thorough lack of rain, to portray Ape with a red umbrella and a dog on a leash. The light wasn’t good enough to make really good shots, so I mostly did them in black and white ultimately, just for the effect of the shapes. 

7.   The Inca/Azteca photo shoot
Location: gate to our building downtown. Costume: improvised whatever was lying around, jewelry also and make up slightly extravagant: we attempted to braid her hair in odd sticks and paint her forehead in red paintbrush, without making Ape, who already has heavy Mexican features look too ‘Northern native American’ and slightly more Nepali. Light was daylight/sunlight and ‘The Shiny Thingie’ was heavily used, on and off screen.
Two themes we had going were ‘the arrogant, beautiful Inca princess’  and the ‘Sold off Nepali child bride, who will do her regal duty but is frightened nonetheless’. 

8.    Fire and Ice photo shoot
Tamara and Ape as models suffered under my make-up treatment and hair tangling with intention to create the impression of something sexy cold and molten hot. Tamara with her massive bright blue eyes and white skin was an obvious choice for ice whereas Ape’s mystique sensuality was perfect fire. To make matters worse, we used that killer red lipstick that can’t be washed off on Ape’s eyelashes (it took two weeks to get it all off again), but it looked amazing.
Later after Tamara left, we moved back into the hallway and Ape posed in a tight dress, using shadow on the wall as part of the scene. Although I do my best to avoid the poppy tattoo Ape has on her hip, one of the pictured did look like she’s kissing Murphy. 

9.       The Nea’s magic shoot
Location: my apartment, streets of Celje and my parents’ uphill house. Make up by Nea Likar, models Ape and Tamy. Light was at first pure flash, later pure daylight, such as it was…The third day we also added water. (It didn’t rain until we were done shooting the wet stormy shots.)
Some of the best make-up artists I’ve met so far, Nea came to do some of her magic on Tamara and Ape on a Sunday morning… She not only has a sick array of materials, she treats them really well (keeps them debacterialized an’all…), used them even better and likes to experiment. My kinda girl. If I had more lives to live, I’d aim to be a make-up artist, too… But as she would put it, when people say she has really nice skin, she does because she works her ass off for it, I don’t. I don’t care about my looks at all. The reason I buy so much make-up, products, décor and miscellaneous pretty things at all is for the models to wear. I suppose I’ve always felt like they would be lost on me.
               The idea was to do three or four upstaged shots consecutively: first the ‘nude’ make-up effect – making the face look like it’s not wearing any make up at all… I regret I haven’t done a photo of the girls before we began, so the difference would be even more apparent. Then she did the elegant, fine touches, to make the faces just freshly, breezily beautiful. They she added décor and ultimately applied mirrored scales – green on Ape and silver on Tamara.
               Later that day Ape put on a green evening dress and posed in the streets, but she kept the mirrored mask until the next day (people have actually gotten used to her walking around like she’s a creature from another world), when we climbed the hill and hoped for the rain, but eventually used a hose to do a garden-in-the-rain shoot. The mirrored mask then melted :) We used real flowers and the old decrepit pool as props. Clothes were our own. On the way down, I took a photo that will someday serve for the cover of my Not Even My Shadow book. 

 10.   The studio photo shoot
Location: studio in Celje, courtesy of Fotosalon; make-up by Danijela Rodič, dresses by some other lady. Models: Klara, Tamara, Ape, Nataša, Edvard and, well, the studio.
I have never ever shot in a proper studio before – my studio is the good and the bad Henry and up until now I wasn’t certain why I needed anything else. I was nervous, however, because I have never had that sort of an opportunity before (Am mostly daylight beauty shot kinda girl) and I should probably work on my nerves… It is not easy to coordinate such a group, though, especially with real-world stuff continuously popping through.
Having never used flash/reflectors before, it took me a while to realize how to work them and in the end I came out looking incredibly smart, because my super expensivest flash actually began commanding all the slaves all on its own. All I had to do was pretend I knew exactly that’s what will happen and carry on. In truth the camera that could was one step ahead of me, so we didn’t need the technician at all. I had two ambitions that day: to create a flawless portrait and to catch motion in mid air in absolute clarity of depth. On top of that, I learned how to make rather stiff outfits into an original editorial and towards the end I realized the four lights that we had (my hotshoed master, two slaves and an extra smaller unit to light the lower parts of the legs) in 4-second exposure shoot with a second delay: thus as a bonus in the end we created multiple exposure shots in one shot. Which was, for the first time, rather magical. 

 11.   Klara, Lara and photo shoot
Location: building entrance hallway (I live in a very useful building), and ultimately the gallery storage of the shop owner’s next door. Make up and clothes were all impro.
First I shot Lara against the natural light, because I always like to take beauty shots of the new models, while other models dress up :) We played with our hair a little, especially my lately favorite ‘all around’ braid. Sometime halfway the neighbor offered us his frame store and we fooled around against the majestic background of artwork and frame samples, which was pretty awesome. Unexpected great chance :) 

12.   Andreja’s second promo shoot
Location: Drej’s flat, mostly ambient, day light or flash, Ape as assistant. Make up and clothes were Drej’s own, as were Flor the ginger canine and Cilka, the fuzzy feline :D
Drej needed more photos for her book promotion, the first of which were mellow and early-morning-blue, where this time we used her room (the actual workspace) as the background, some walls in their flat and a bookshelf as a background. Best pickies were the ones with the crazy pets :D 

13.   The  Velenje Lake photo shoot
 A buddy of ours, Matt, suggested we try our scenic luck on one of the Velenje lakes – nice, cleaned as of late water that’s accumulated due to the Velenje Coal mine sinking the ground over the ages. The lakes have since cleared their cappuccino murkiness and are in fact very very picturesque. Even I, who steer clear of all things deep and dense, if emerald, liked their niceness. Not to mention the clouds were really pushing it with poshness and after we had the best chocolates ever (Lucifer’s – I’m not kidding), Ape was willing and able to jump in… about 50 times. We tried tying her fresh tattoos into plastic bags, but that didn’t hold… air.
               There were a few girls on a pier already there and because I’ve had negative experience with teenagers before, escalating to violence, I was weary, however, they turned out to be super nice. Until Ape gave me away, they even though we were both foreign. Either which way, we did several ‘drowned’ takes, several jumps off pier, several swoons off pier, a few sexy poses and some nice dripping wet ones :)  I haven’t gotten about to editing them all yet, because there are so very many, but they turned out great. And I got some pretty impressive sunburns and dehydration, because, well, when I’m working, I forget everything except the photos. Hopefully by the next week’s literary night I won’t be crispy crimson anymore :D