Have you ever had a photo shoot that went so well, it’s literally engraved on your memory for all time? Even if there were hiccups, any memory of those are erased, and instead the entire shoot just beams in this warm, sentimental glow and you just think, ok, why can’t all of my shoots be like that?
I definitely did not think that this shoot would go that way. It was a recipe for disaster, I thought – there was just too much that could go wrong. Firstly, the only stage that I had been able to find in Derby (a city of few great locations, despite three years of searching throughout university), was in a church. It was a very modern building, but a church nonetheless. I was lucky to find it, and only did because my Dad was working as a gardener for the building at the time, and he managed to twist the Bishop’s arm. The number of sleepless nights that I had, imagining a bad tempered Bishop storming my photo shoot, complaining about… well, everything. I had visions of us being thrown out, or not being allowed into the building at all, convinced that, because it had proven out of the question for me to speak to anyone of authority personally, that there would prove to have been some mistake on my Dad’s part. It’s not that I don’t trust him, but the number one rule of finding a location is not to leave it down to a third person – cut out the middle man (aka, Dad), and for that to have not been possible, was scary.
We had a few… I can’t really call them dramas. They definitely were little more than hiccups – our model running late convinced us that we had a no-show on our hands, the cardboard waves that I had spend weeks making had to be taped to the back of the curtains and wooden floors, which of course, took a good forty-five minutes before they finally agreed to behave themselves and be still. Not to mention, it was bitterly cold in there. Why are churches always bitterly cold? I thought it was just an old building thing, but this was a bright, shiny, modern build, and still… I was a goosebump away from wearing gloves.
I’m complaining needlessly, as usual, of course. Despite the goosebumps, the fear of being thrown out and the rebellious set, everything went swimmingly. We closed ourselves into the darkness of the stage, using only one tiny window as a beacon of light, reflecting it around the room with a broken mirror, the smashed shards glued clumsily to a sheet of photo frame plastic. I really love the effect that this DIY addition created, breaking up the image, creating a dreamy effect that I’ve never managed to achieve before in quite the way that I’ve always wanted. This was one of those shoots that actually ends up better than the polished, impossible-to-recreate image in my mind. And that’s rare, for a perfectionist like myself.
The ISO had to be pushed up to accommodate for the unexpected darkness, but I really like the cinematic feel of the images that this creates. The cinematic and theatrical qualities go hand-in-hand, and my styling became quite ballerina bride, which I adore. Very little editing went into these, and it was all colour manipulation only. Basically, I’m really pleased with the results, as you have no doubt gathered, and I really hope that you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Model: Oona Elizabeth
Hair/Makeup: Razwana Kausar
Styling: Emma Styles