After what seems like months I have at last been able to progress my Lyrics project a step further. The shoot we recently carried out for Seagull Guitars involved a very lovely model called Artemis. I noticed how natural she was in the commercial shoot and asked her at the end of that if she would be happy modelling for my project.
Of course, she leapt at the chance to work with such a great and inspirational photographer(!!) again and so I was left to ponder what lyric from my list we should do.
I had for some time had my eye on my buddy’s studio, well more importantly, the bedroom above it, for a particular shot I had been thinking about. However, I felt it would be tricky to pull off as it involved some pretty serious make-up skills. After my discussion with Artemis she declared an ability in this particular technique and was very interested in the idea.
For those that don’t know, my project revolves around shooting scenes that have been conjured up mentally over the years whilst listening to some favourite music tracks. Some of these tracks are really well known, others are less so, but all of them have had an influence on my life at some point of time or another. Some of these influences have been positive and others negative. Some of the images I have in my head are literal interpretations of the lyric and others are quite wide of the literal mark. None of this really matters as this is a very personal set of work and one that I hope I will be able to exhibit one day.
This latest edition was the hardest to date as it is taken from the Suzanne Vega song, Luka. The song itself is about child abuse but my interpretation is about partner abuse. My model is female so I guess it is about males abusing females physically. Pretty heavy and emotive stuff and an issue that is a living hell for far too many people across the globe. I do not aim to change anything here, nor am I on any crusade, I am simply displaying my take on the lyric.
The make up was important but only to give the impression of the abuse. I wanted Artemis to portray a beaten woman, but a defiant and resolute one. My heroine is intended to be proud and strong, she will make it through and I wanted to capture signs of hope in the image. I truly hope I have managed to get this across in the final image.
The day of the shoot was interesting for a number of reasons and our journey to Worcester and the excellent studio provided by my great friend and very accomplished Landscape photographer, Ian Thompson of Photophilia, was without hitch but with plenty of conversation. We arrived and set about working the bedroom ‘studio’ to assess exactly what we wanted to achieve.
After make up and wardrobe were ready we started shooting. The look however was proving harder to capture than first hoped. Artemis suggested we ditch the flash heads and use the natural light available (I already know she is a sucker for natural light!) but it was the step we needed to go through. With the lens stopped wide open (f2.8) things started to come together. I used a tripod as we were at slow shutter speeds and the light was perfect as it was bright but not sunny. Using a tripod is slow but that reduction in pace leads to a more considered frame in turn meaning less shots but better quality individual images.
In post I delayed processing for almost a week. I wanted to get in the right mood and feel the image I was trying to create. This may sound a little cheesy but involves getting right into the heart of the song itself and letting the chords and vibe flow through you until you just ‘know’ how you want the image in front of you to look. If you are interested I will let you know how I processed these (technically) but it is nothing too difficult or clever. The important thing to note is that I did want the final image to look slightly devoid of bright colours and to maintain a slightly more gritty feel.
The images below are a couple of the unsuccessful efforts, the final edit will appear on my website in the next day or so. Anyway, I hope you enjoy………Oh, by the way, the lyric in question is “They only hit until you cry”.