This was quite the shoot. I had been talking with Freya, the stylist I worked with on it for around two months beforehand through a series of virtual meetings and bouncing moodboards back and forth. We finally settled on a seaside-themed shoot, and whittled down the locations we had in mind to Hastings in Sussex.
Since taking part in an incredible webinar with the photographer Campbell Addy - and all the amazing tips he generously shared including writing out concepts or sketching out ideas before a shoot - I’ve been sketching ideas in a similar way. This has been particularly useful for me, being someone who uses a format in which every shot costs and every shot therefore counts. I use it primarily as a guide; I might not necessarily use all the ideas I’ve sketched out but at the same time it helps me focus on what I want to get out of the shoot and cuts down time too.
Here are a few examples:
I took the train down to Hastings on a Saturday afternoon the previous weekend to scout for locations, and the weather had been incredible sunshine, with late golden hour light. This being an outdoor location shoot in the UK, we knew that we had to contend with the unpredictability of the British weather. But we were shooting in the middle of July, so probably the safest time to shoot outside right? WRONG…wrong, wrong, wrong.
Keeping a close eye on the forecast in the days leading up to the shoot, I was being promised a full day of sunny, beautifully clear weather. Shoot day however was something else entirely. All was going well (apart from one of the models not being told by her booker that we were driving her out of London to shoot - yes for all she knew we could’ve been kidnapping her) and the weather on arriving in Hastings was dry and bright. It was only an hour later when we had prepped the two models’ first outfits that the rain started.
We spent the next 40 minutes sat in cars, trying to decide when would be a good time to bravely venture out or whether to cancel shoot entirely. We went for the former, as by that point the rain had calmed down a little, and I could feel that we were still managing to capture good stuff
I gotta thank our models, Scarlett and Ruoyi for their patience it was was particularly challenging weather, which got only worse when we turned up at our second location that day, the beach and sand dunes of Camber Sands. And do you know what was the real kicker? Not 20 minutes down the road during our journey back to London, the sky turned a beautiful pink and the sun broke through the clouds, as though the weather said f*ck you.
Anyhoo, the pictures turned out really well, well enough to get published in Flanelle magazine. You can see the feature here.
I recently teamed up with the wonderful @heardinlondon to see how we’d work together to get a different angle on the same moment. I’ve been cycling to shoots lately, which is an essential part of any photography project for me with the current situation. I shot on 35mm film, she on digital.
The project centred around capturing socially-distanced portraits of people who for very good reasons were unable to attend the recent Black Lives Matter protests in London
This was our first project together.
As @sistahnisha is shielding her parents from COVID-19, she hasn’t been able to attend the protests. She did however make @yasminaaak this sign to take with her. It was her way of making sure that a piece of her was there to support the movement, and her friend. We discussed the importance of friendship and community at this time.
‘The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion’ (Frederick Douglass)
We also visited @kitchenno7 in North London. Rather than a placard, she decided that the thing she felt represented both her heart being at the #BlackLivesMatterUK protests whilst needing to still stay at home, was this painting of her Dad which always makes her smile. We spoke about how lockdown had brought up a lot of deep grieving for parental bereavement. This is a seminal moment where she feels her father with her.
“People often say that fashion repeats itself every 20 years. What I see now is that protest against injustice repeats, and repeats and fiercely repeats. I am the daughter of a black man, the great granddaughter of slaves. I have the genes of rebellion in my blood. My anger at the racism, micro and macro aggressions that I and my family and my ancestors have received over the centuries has eaten at me. It has affected my being.”
“When you look at me I want you to see a black woman; a woman of mixed heritage, but still, a black woman. Don’t tell me, “I don’t see colour”. To say that is to say that you don’t see us, that you can ignore us, that we have no worth to you, that we do not exist. If you say that you had no idea, until now, that prejudice, injustice and racism was still such an issue then I can only conclude you have been deaf and blind or selfish and uncaring to the world around you. If yesterday wasn’t the time to wake up then today is the day to get fucking woke. And don’t even try touching my hair!”
Whilst continuing to cycle in the rain to support folk who could not make it to the protests, @heardinlondon and I visited @sachanotsasha, with her children Ezra’Jacob and Nehemiah’Grace.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t attend the protests as keeping the kiddies safe was at the forefront. Nevertheless, we stand with everyone and everything black. Thank you for taking a stand and speaking. Your voices, our voices and their voices will be heard.”
You can see more of the images @heardinlondon has shot for the project, as well as her other wonderful work HERE.
Before the current lockdown, I was booked for an editorial shoot in London by stylist Ivonna Dambrehte. Ivonna was doing a number of shoots to refresh her portfolio, and was keen to do one that had a film aesthetic (which is where I came in).
We settled on shooting in an indoor location and booked Space63, a lovely place in Old Street. It offered a neat combination of interesting spaces for environmental portrait shots, with the added option of studio lighting and backdrop material for simple shots when needed.
I shot on film only and used both my Mamiya RZ67 for medium format and Canon EOS3 for 35mm. Shooting on film I felt suited the vibe of the space and the looks Ivonna would be bringing, and she was happy to budget for Kodak Portra 400 film stock in both formats.
One thing I hadn’t bargained for was that my EOS3 messed up one of the rolls of film I used to shoot the first outfit, so had to rely on what I’d already shot on my RZ67. Nonetheless, the shoot was fun one and having a stylist like Ivonna who can pull such a wide range of stuff from designers is so invaluable (in this case the likes of LA BARBERA, PUBLIC DESIRE, Olivia Rubens, and jnglsntmssv).
I must give a huge thanks to Margherita Lascala, who stepped in to do our make-up at the last minute when our original MUA had to drop out.
One thing to consider if you are looking to get an editorial published is to research magazines and publications. There are so many titles, each with their own aesthetic and the kinds of editorials they publish that it really pays to find those that you feel your work is a match for when you’re planning your shoot. We already had a small number of online magazines in mind beforehand, which meant once we had the finished images we could simply put together the submission and send it out to those publications.
Our editorial was published in KODD Magazine, and you can see more of the images HERE.