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Keegan Arrives In Melbourne

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Last week I got back into testing in Melbourne, working with some new talent. The face in question was Keegan; a young model who had only recently arrived in the city, having come from northern Australia. As he had only been down here a few days, he hadn’t yet acclimatised, and was feeling the chill! But this didn’t stop his enthusiasm for the shoot.

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I had two huge bags of garments from H&M, with a few wild patterns thrown in for good measure. I continue to be amazed at the photogenic nature of some of the more ‘out there’ garments. Things you would question if seen in public, but that look great for shoots (the shirt in the first photo on this post, for example.)

Keegan was really easy to work with, he had a very calm nature and took direction well. He was also really good as posing with hands- which sounds a bit odd to notice- but hands are one of the toughest things to get right, in my opinion. It is easy to make them look awkward or stiff, so this is a real skill.

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Luckily I am really nice and had a lot of long sleeve garments and winter gear. It was one of those shoots where the talent didn’t mind being layered up. I was also lucky to find an old dock shed which had been converted into a carpark. It had really interesting light in there- a combination of strong down lights and natural light from the large entrances. There were hardly any cars in there, so we pretty much had free reign of the area.

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Thanks Keegan for being a champ, and good luck with your career in Melbourne!

Keegan is signed with GTR Melbourne.

Grandparents On Film

Something a bit different today. Avid followers will know that I was born in Tasmania, and a lot of my family still lives there. I moved over to Melbourne when I was 4 or so, so I consider myself more of a Melbournian (“what do you mean this coffee isn’t small batch?!”) but I still try to make it back to the island every Christmas.

I’m lucky in that I still have three grandparents, and they are all fit and healthy. Especially in recent years, I have become more and more appreciative of the fact that they are still around, but also more aware that this won’t be the case forever. It’s not a nice thing to think about, and most of the time I don’t contemplate it, but sometimes it is important to remember that not everything is permanent.

But let’s not go there.

Last year I found a whole heap of black and white Ilford that I had rolled in high-school, so I decided to start shooting a few frames here and there every so often. I use a small Canon film camera, and I love it because it’s so tiny, but it also fits all of the lenses from my usual kit. I prefer, however, to use it with the cheapest plastic lens I have- a 50mm. This lens weighs next to nothing, and looks cheap and nasty, but there is something about it that I love- the shallow depth of field, the way it vignettes really badly… it’s the stuff dreams are made of haha.

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So I took this camera with me to Tasmania over Christmas last year, as I had shot some film in Tokyo and wanted to finish off the roll. I also wanted to take some portraits of my grandparents, because everything just looks great on film, and I thought they might be good for the ‘ol family albums.

Above are my paternal grandparents. These are straight out of camera, but I got the negatives scanned and put on a CD. No adjustments at all. I love the way that film looks so real. So much depth and tone, even with no processing. To me, it’s like looking at a small part of each person.

My grandma is known for her world-famous potatoes, and has kept every letter from every grandchild ever written (once I discovered this archive, I was a lot more careful what I wrote!). My grandad is a photographer (maybe that’s where I got it from?), and his framed prints of the many mountains he has climbed line the hallway in their house. Both of them will annihilate you at Scrabble.

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On my mother’s side, I have just one grandparent. Everyone calls him Popsie. I’m absolutely in love with this candid photo of him in the garden. Popsie grows the best vegetables, and I always look forward to eating them when I go back over there. He has a dog named Zeus, who will come up to you and put his foot on you. Whenever we stay with Popsie, mum always tries to buy him some new form of technology. He’s mastered the usage of cordless phones and the digital set-top box, but he narrowly escaped being set up with an Optus mobile phone plan this January.

Shooting With Sakura

On my most recent trip to Japan I wanted to do some test shooting, so I got in touch with an agency located near where I was staying in Tokyo. Folio Models represent both Japanese and foreign models, and were keen for me to do some test shoots.

As I only had limited kit, and didn’t have my usual team of hair and makeup artists and stylists, I had to shoot in quite a raw style. I asked the models to come with natural makeup, and bring a few garments.

My first subject was Sakura Kinoshita, who had been modelling for a few years, but needed some updated shots for her comp card. We decided to shoot near the Folio office in Azabujuban. Although this was not a monumental or particularly significant location, I was really inspired by the textures of the surrounding streets, and the gentle light that is completely different from the harsh light in Australia.

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The light was so beautiful, with a late-afternoon feel, even though it was only 2pm. I was so inspired by the shadows that were created by the light finding its way through the buildings.

Can you believe that little walls and panels like this sit side-by-side with modern buildings and shiny 7/11 stores?

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Sakura was really enthusiastic, and took direction well. She had a gentle nature, and kind face. So half way through I tried to tease a little more attitude out of her, and get some stronger expressions.

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I was thrilled with some of the shots that I captured, and felt inspired by my surroundings the whole time. A few days later, Folio sent through Sakura’s updated comp card, with one of my shots as the main image. すごく嬉しかった!!

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New World Soul Campaign

One of my absolute favourite things to photograph is campaigns for designers. I love the creative nature of these type of shoots, and working with a team really brings a special energy to set. Upper Volta, by Francis Kwamee has been a client for a few years now, and I always get excited when the potential for a new collaboration arises. This particular campaign had two intented outcomes; to showcase some garments from the new collection, as well as create some bold images to advertise an upcoming fashion show.

The shoot was conducted in a fantastic warehouse in Prahran. The concrete floors and white brick walls provided an interesting yet unobtrusive background, and I brought in my profoto kit to enable me to utilize dramatic light. What was particularly exciting to me this time was the total creative freedom I had. Kwamee trusted me to shoot and light however I wanted, and busied himself co-ordinating the models and pinning garments. The models were really diverse, from all bakcgrounds. I thought this really helped convey the international feel of Kwamee’s new collection. After a few minutes setting up my kit and testing the light, I was ready to roll.

Here’s a shot from @cliftonstreetmarket of me doing my thing. Do you like my makeshift desk? The bright orange makes it completely OH&S compliant.

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Jarreau of Lordtown Media was on the second camera capturing footage for some short promo videos. We worked really well together, ensuring that we each kept out of each other’s shots.

It was great working with such a diverse team of models, and everyone did a great job. Some of the models didn’t have much experience, but they were brilliant at taking direction, and adopting the ‘mood’ of the shoot. We flew through the large double rack of clothing, and everyone really kept the energy up, which made for a fluid, relaxed shoot. Thanks team!

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The images were used for promotion on social media. Check out a couple with the copy overlaid! And don’t forget to have a look at Kwamee on instagram!

 

Harvey Petito + A Fishy Friend

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I’ve been testing a lot in the studio lately, but a few weeks ago I had my youngest model on set yet. Harvey Petito is making a huge name for himself in Melbourne, and no wonder- he is a champ! I had been following Harvey on Instagram for a while, but had never thought to ask if he wanted to test. But a little emoji comment on one of his pictures caught the attention of his mum, Sharon (who manages his account), and it snowballed from there.

I was really excited to work with Harvey, because I hadn’t worked with a model of his age and experience before. What I liked was that he was just himself. Asking questions, telling puns, eating the lollies that I purposefully placed out on the bench. He was full of energy, but also knew how to work the camera. It was fascinating to watch, and I found that I approached the shoot and my way of reacting to him differently than when I shoot older talent. I really liked that fluidity, and the way that we both kind of adapted to each other’s rhythms.

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One (silly) idea that I had, was to do quite a dark portrait, involving Harvey holding a squid. Something quite deadpan and a bit faded or washed out. Long story short, I couldn’t get a squid, but I did get a garfish, which provided a bit of fun and a little bit of “grossness” to the set. Something different, that’s for sure.

Thanks Sharon and Harvey for coming down to the studio- I had a great time, and I think I would like to do more testing with young models. It’s a different way of thinking and working and I liked that a lot.

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Taking My Studio To The Streets

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I had a dream a few weeks ago about using the Profoto b2 kit on location in the city, with a beauty dish to shoot a male model.

SO…

Last week I decided to make this dream a reality and used the Profoto b2 kit on location in the city, with a beauty dish to shoot a male model.

The model in question was Matt Saccuzzo, from GTR. Matt is heading overseas soon, and needed some more fashion work in his book. So we hit the streets of Melbourne with a little team and made some magic. I had the fantastic Trent Pace as my assistant (I was actually super stoked that he wanted to assist me- I’m a fan of his work!), and Emma Gordon as my stylist.

3pm on an overcast day on Williams Street, we made some pictures.

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Testing With Darcy

Doing a lot of testing with males lately- its great because you don’t have to worry so much about hair and makeup. Darcy Ellis, who is represented by GTR, came in to the studio a few weeks ago, and we shot a range of looks for his book. I styled the shoot, using garments sourced from Myer (mostly Kenji), as well as a few of Darcy’s own garments.

I shoot really quickly, so the whole test was over in about an hour, but we got a lot of different images that I was happy with. Darcy was really easy to get along with, very friendly and funny.

If you would like to test with me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch :D

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