Model: Valis Volkova Location: Chippenham, UK
The portrait project is progressing slowly but steadily. I’ve been trying to book a session a week but sadly I haven’t managed it quite as often as that. However, I’ve now shot 6 models and have another today. I’ve also been searching my back catalogue and will have a few more to add from there as time progresses.
A few weeks ago I met and worked with the marvellous Valis Volkova. Would you believe she’s been in my home town for well over a year and we haven’t worked together before. In fact, we’d never even met each other despite the fact she resided in a house I’d visited several times!
We arranged a shoot here at my home and from the moment I picked her up (5 mins drive!) to the time she left we got on like a house on fire. Valis is a superstar in the making. She’s already appeared in Game of Thrones and I’m sure she’ll get tons more work now she’s moved to London. For now though, for three hours, she was working with li’l ole me and boy did we get some shots. I love the classic Hollywood feel to these shots and with my favoured one light rig (as natural as possible) Valis’ look is simply stunning.
The B&W portrait theme is an interesting one because it’s not as simple as I thought it’d be. I’ve always poo-pooed the idea that you have to ‘think’ in mono as being a bit naff and, quite frankly, bollocks. However, for this, I think I’m starting to plan in my head how things might look. I’ve now set my camera screen to show contrasty mono so I can get a good feel of the shot as I go (thanks Artemis!).
I’m still amazed at how different a shot can feel with just the slightest movement of head, eyes, chin, mouth, hair or shoulder. Ok, I’ve always known this and maybe I’m just uber sensitive to it on this project but never has it had such an effect on me. There are frames that knock you out next to one with the slightest adjustment that just ‘doesn’t quite work’. Maybe it’s just my personal taste but I like the challenge of this series and it’s only just beginning!