Every student is taught to keep an idea file, the same with stylist, hair and make-up people, models and photographers. We have always called them, "Swipe Files". It's not the malicious, copyright infringing process that is an absolute no-no in our industry, it's just a starting place.
A little over a month ago Kat Hinkle and I were contemplating doing a fashion test and we came across one of those inspiring images that got us energized and set the wheels in motion. We had found several similar images and melded them into one solid idea. Kat went off to find a willing, aspiring model type to be our subject but was having trouble casting the right face for what we were targeting.
I suggested, though she doesn't aspire to be a model, my friend and part time muse, Ashley. You have seen her on this blog before. She has amazing blue eyes and an electric smile and yes, a willingness to be photographed. She's not a ham by any stretch of the imagination but more of a curious sponge always looking to explore a new opportunity.
That being said, we found a date we could all live with and Kat began her lyrical magic with make-up and hair spray. We did a little video of the process and it has been floating around cyberspace for a while now.
The payoff for me was the culmination of months of working with a light source that I had yet come to master, well evening manage, let alone master, but things fell into place and the lighting was perfect.
Actually you're seeing the second version first because, while I do love both versions, the first of the two is my favorite. The comments have been flattering and the comparison have been creative and varied. The latest was, "It looks so very, Sweeny Todd".
Kat pulled out all the stops on this one as she made each individual eyelash by hand. Very admirable and original.
I was recently talking to a client about how digital photography had changed the business in general and how it really changed my life in the business. If it weren't for digital, I told him, I wouldn't be doing this right now. It has given new life and excitement to the art that film would have struggled to engender.
Just look at these three images. All came from the very same lighting, camera and photographer but each has a unique beauty unto it's own. That to me is exciting. To do this with film would have been a major undertaking and frankly, I would not have had the energy or patience to get there.
As I look at these, I realize that we may have wasted Ashley's incredible smile but the mood here was perfect. I did in fact shoot happier versions but they just didn't carry the feel of this more melancholy look..
Johnny Depp and the recent Alice in Wonderland movie and even a little Buster Keaton surfaces from these images.
I have always said being able to work with young fresh people has kept me from becoming the old curmudgeon that I would have been without them. Thanks kids.