For my Lit Portrait I wanted to do a beauty shot and play about with different styles like Punk and Mod. I also wanted to play about with make-up and colour so it was a bit more interesting. A photographer that I got inspiration from and that uses bold, shocking colours and compositions is Rankin, he is a British photographer who mainly does editorial fashion but also does beauty portraits and films too. I have used his work for inspiration before but it was the beauty portraits I was looking at for this. He is the founder of Dazed & Confused magazine which contains urban fashion with shocking ‘out there’ images of models in bright clothes and quirky styles.
His body of work features some of the most celebrated publications, biggest brands and pioneering charities, including Nike, Swatch, Dove, Pantene, Diageo, Women’s Aid, and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. He has shot covers for Elle, German Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stoneand Wonderland. His work has always questioned social norms and ideas of beauty and, in late 2000, Rankin published the irregular quarterly Rank, an experimental anti-fashion magazine celebrating the unconventional. Rankin has published over 30 books, is regularly exhibited in galleries around the world, as well as his own London gallery. His museum-scale exhibition ‘Show Off’ opened at NRW Dusseldorf in September 2012, pulling in over 30,000 visitors in 3 months. Today, Rankin is back to his passion shooting magazine publishing offering his creative talents and skills back to his first love.
The fashion aspect of the portfolio I was quite excited to do as I used to photograph fashion and enjoyed organizing the locations, clothing, models and lighting. I thought instead of using just the models clothes I would try and get in contact with some clothing businesses around Falmouth, there are a few decent ones like Volcom and Sessions as I originally wanted to do more skating clothing, however as they are quite big companies I was not allowed to take any clothing out. There is a more independent but still very popular clothing shop in the area called Wild Pony, I contacted the owner and we negotiated that if i gave her a deposit of the clothes I wanted to borrow and delivered them back to her house after shooting. She also wanted them hung them up so she didn’t have to iron them as they were silk shirts and delicate vintage pieces. I agreed to all of this as it was good practice for professional skills and we set up a date that she was best with, we chose a Sunday as it was a day she was closed as I couldn’t take out clothes when the shop was open.
I had a few difficulties with re-arranging the shoot as she had a couple of Sundays in November where she was open due to Beer Festivals and events.
On the actual shoot day I had already scouted a couple of locations around town, I wanted an urban street background so I went for a cobble stoned alley way and also I found a wall that looked like a painting just outside Old Brewery Yard near Cafe Cinnamon in Falmouth. I decided to use the wall as it worked with the urban feel and it was a bigger space to work with, it also had some steps in front of a black door which I could work with.
Tina was my model, she is from Norway and is studying (BA) Photography at University with me, she is also one of my house mates but I just thought her hair and vintage look worked well for my shoot. I styled her in 80s vintage street clothing, with a cream silk shirt and patterned jumper that was borrowed and her own green disco pants and patent loafers.
I decided to experiment with some speed lights and also with using Canon instead of my usual choice of Nikon, I did like the outcome but I had trouble with the sensors on the flashguns. I set up a couple on stands with soft boxes and one on my camera, I have used this before and it did work well so thought i’d try again.
In the end I used mainly the flashgun on my camera but the speed lights were handy for some fill in light and as it was on location the natural light was also quite soft that day so that worked to my advantage. Overall I was happy with the outcome of the shoot but I think next time I would take more time with the lighting and think of more ways to direct my model.
This is the image I decided to use, the light is more natural and i prefer the softer focus as it goes with the style i wanted. The flash did not fire properly on this one which is why it is more natural also, the flash made her features harsh at times and her overall stance is a lot more relaxed in this too.