A few weeks ago my phone “bingled” to say I had an email. It was a notification from Purple Port, an online photographic / modelling site that conects photographers, models, make up artists and stylists. To be honsest, these emails don’t usually inspire me as they are casting calls from models around my area asking for photographers and usually they are just not my cup of tea – or are totally free shoots and the ones I HAVE tried to get involved with usually don’t come to much. However, the couple that have gone very well have both been with Alternative Male models and I’ve had a blast on both of those shoots.
So, this email offered a casting call from a model wishing to do a couple of shoots. The guy looked pretty cool in his portfolio so I got in touch. It turns out that Jordan is represented by an agency I had not heard of called “The Twisted Agency” who represent alternative models and are based in Kent. One of the shoots was for Edinburgh clothing label Conspiring Ravens Murderous Crows. They design graphically designed limited edition streetware and a look at their website told me all I needed to know where to go down the route of shooting Jordan for them. It needed to have high contrast and clarity, be edgy but not too dark (in lighting terms) as to lose the detail of the clothing.
Conspiring Ravens Murderous Crows (CRMC) Clothing is not just alternative street apparel, it is a collective as the name implies.
Like the group names for the birds, A Conspiracy of Ravens and A Murder of Crows are a collective. We wish to bring Edinburgh’s Arts Scene together acting as a node for Designers, Artists, Musicians, DJs, Tattooists, Hairdressers and more to unite and put Scotland and the rest of the UK on the map for its work and talent.
Jordan and I discussed the shoot through facebook messenger and decided that the canal basin in Sheffield would be a good location. I wanted to use a single alien bee light shot through my Elinchrom 1m deep rotolux (my usual “go to” light and modifier as it’s small and fits in a camera bag!) I knew also I could use it to overpower the late evening sun if we needed to in order to backlight Jordan for some more standard fashion shots.
The canal basin in Sheffield is a beautiful place. Flats here are a premium and if only they would develop the city between the basin and the rest of the town I can see it doing really well down here. (I remember saying this also 15 years ago) Sadly, until they knock down the old castle markets and redevelop the area its going to be a ghost town like it is now… Anyway, there is a lovely bar right by the canal dock that served me a cider to drink in the sun whilst I waited for my model to arrive.
Five minutes working with Jordan informed me that he was one of those fantastic models that LOOKS like he’s doing nothing but pulling poses and exuding coolness – but one look at the back of the camera shows a wicked looking guy with a snear and a glint in his eye. Damn, the guy could smack it every single time. Bam, bam bam… – I couldn’t help thinking of a slightly wilder Johnny Depp..
We chose an area under the elevated warehouses where the Alien Bee would be of most use. It was a beautiful summers afternoon, so I needed the shade to make the light effective. Additionally the cross beams of the supporting pillars looked great as a backdrop. I fired off some shots with my 70-200mm with a 5.6 aperture to retain some of the background. I wanted the shots to focus on Jordan and the clothing but still define where we were in location. I then I chose my 17-40 wide angle and got in close!!
The Canon 17-40L wide angle is fantastic for portraits that require an “edge” normally one would not want distortion in an image and the wide angle bends the image due its optical nature. Get in close and you can give a model a HUGE bulging head and tiny skinny body. Sounds awful and yes, usually it is however, This seemed just the ticket for an alt streetware label with a model you could stick a sack on and shoot with a baked bean tin and would still look like the coolest dude on the block!
After we captured the shots under the warehouse, all I did was to turn Jordan 90 degrees and lean him against the wooden wall of the warehouse entrance. The sun was behind him and I used the strobe to overpower the sun allowing a high contrast look with lots of lovely sun flare. It was a shame that there were a lot of parked cars around the area that I had no chance of cropping out so I shot lots to the sky and then embraced the “street look” and shot some with them in.
The whole shoot took about an hour and a half and we didn’t even look for another location in the end. We shot Two garments. If Jordan is the quality of Twisted Agencies models then they will be on to a complete winner. I’ve already contacted them to see if they ever need models testing or to hook me up if models contact them for shots. (fingers crossed) I’ll definitely be working with Jordan again I hope and really really want to shoot a complete range with him and CRMC – perhaps with some additional models.
Watch this space I guess – I have my fingers crossed.