My first shoot with Apollo and Jurgen did not go as planned. At the time I was confident in my abilities to take some decent portraits which would not only stand make the model look good but also the mask. However, this confidence was not deserved as the end result shows. I have criticised my work for being naive and juvenile and I only have myself to blame for this as I did very little proper research into what I would like the images to come out like, so I have decided to rectify this for my future shoots
A surprising source was a book about a model called Isabella Blow, a book of the same name written by Martina Rink. This is a book of my mothers that I picked up when I noticed the front cover which is that of the model with a mask on. Isabella Blow was a model that worked with many designers and photographers modelling hats and masks. In the book was a catalogue of people she had worked with and one of those was Robert Astley Sparke. The images in the book were risque so I looked further into this work on his website. Although the images aren’t all to my taste, there were two that stood out. One of Will.I.Am in sunglasses struck i instantly liked as the focus went straight to his eyewear. Although not a mask, the principal could be used in some of my shoots going forward, but I do think that the background is too distracting and more focus should be put on the principal. I also like the vibrance of the image, a trait that is shown in other pictures he has produced, Such as the image of the girl in sunglasses with two more models in the background. I wish I had been this versatile when I had Apollo and Jurgen at my disposal. These are traits I would like to replicate going forward
My research took me to some other photographers as well, such as Eric Lafforgue. He is primarily a travel photographer but has taken many portraits on his journeys, presumably all of them strangers and this is what attracted my attention as in each of his images, he has managed to pose the subject exactly as he wants them and make it look natural. This is the skill i admire the most of his, as its the weakest area of my own skillset and something I struggled with greatly with Apollo and Jurgen. Each image has a direct focus as well with nothing to distract you. The image of the small girl with blue eyes as well as the one of the girl in the head scarf are well lit, well posed and nothing to distract you from the focus of the image. I spent a great deal of time going through his website, exploring his extraordinary work
I also tried to find examples of masks in fashion, a more direct and relevant link to the work we are producing. I found work by Alexander McQueen in a series called Savage Beauty which utilises masks in his collection. Although this collection is an incredible piece of creative work, it is far too avant-garde for what we have in mind so I found more relevant pieces such as those by Versace and Raquel Allegra. The imagery used by the latter was much more to my liking as it was simple, effective and made the mask a focal point as the image of the woman in matching dress and mask shows
However, my favourite belongs to Burberry, a brand close to me as we have a factory in my hometown. The images here are well lit but exceedingly simple and effective. there is no doubt as the brand, due to the famous pattern, but also the focus is entirely on the mask. The models are either looking into the camera or to one side and I think this is something I can effectively recreate without a studio
Going forward I will try to take heed of my notes of these two photographers and hope that it will result in an improvement in my own work.
References for research:
Rink, M. (2010). Isabella Blow (8th ed.). Thames & Hudson.
Lafforgue, E. (N.D). People > Kurd. Eric Lafforgue Photography. http://www.ericlafforgue.com/gallery/People/Kurd
Yotka, S. (2020). People Are Wearing Masks Everywhere—Except in Fashion Look Books. Vogue. https://www.vogue.com/article/people-are-wearing-masks-everywhere-except-in-fashion-lookbooks
Block, I. (2020). Burberry releases face mask with signature check pattern on antimicrobial fabric. Dezeen. https://www.dezeen.com/2020/08/21/burberry-face-mask-coronavirus-antimicrobial-fashion-design/
Sparke, R. (N.D). Portfolio. Robert Astley Sparke. https://www.robertastleysparke.com/