UN_DID Brand Re-launch

They say the best things come to those who wait, and the results of this shoot were two months in the planning. I was contacted by Romi Desani, founder of the beauty brand UN_DID via the agency Truffle who I had previously done some work for in 2020.

Romi had started UN_DID because he felt there was not nearly enough representation of Asian/POC people in the beauty space. He had sought to use his brand to normalise individuality in the everyday,  and take inspiration from South Asian culture.

He wanted to put together a branded shoot for product photography, model visuals and short clips/videos, all to be used across website and socials, for which he felt my style and aesthetic could align perfectly. Romi also wanted the new imagery to place UN_DID as much as a lifestyle brand rather than just an ingredient-centred/beauty one.

With what he wanted to achieve with the shoot, I essentially took on the role of co-creative director as well as producer and photographer (phew). The production side for me didn’t feel like a huge stretch, given I seem to take on that role as well as that of art director (as well as photographer!) for my own self-initiated collaborative shoots.

Throughout the process, we were constantly refining the way we wanted brand came across in the new visuals, from how the products were to be captured to the model casting, right down to deciding the studio we felt best suited to the content we were looking to shoot. Ultimately, we settled on a concept and tone that we billed as Benetton-branches-out-into-the-beauty-and-lifestyle-space.

For us, the casting of the models was as crucial as the capturing of the product content, and we really wanted to cast diverse people of colour who had the kind of personality we felt would help us create images that showed joy and spirit without feeling too staged.  We ended up casting three models, Tanya, Pat and Nandi all from the same agency, BAME.

Romi came up with the idea of using clothing branded with different variations of the UN_ branding, which I think worked well with the images we shot and played well with the Bennetton-inspired theme.

After a look at studios, we finally settled on Studio Rogue, a lovely space in South London. It proved to be perfect, small enough for the team to feel comfortable but large enough for us as a team to move around in comfortably. Despite the studio having perfectly useable lighting, we managed to do the entire shoot using the available daylight we had on the day (thank you, UK weather).

Although it was a long shoot day, the entire team were amazing to work with, and managed to sustain great energy throughout the entire shoot. The models really made the effort to show a range of expression and personality that helped elevate the images beyond the standard model shots, and Cat our videographer captured some great footage. 

All in all, the shoot proved to be a great success, with a set of both stills and video assets that Romi was incredibly happy with. You can see final shots from the project here.

Misfits Brand Shoot

I don’t usually shoot anything still life or product related, but I was really pleased to be asked to help create the latest assets for Misfits, a brand who produce a great range of vegan plant-based protein bars.

The opportunity to finally work with Millie from Set Sisters - who I had connected with last year via the platform The Dots - was also too good to resist. 

Rich Saint-Ford, the creative director had come up with a concept for the shoot that revolved around an American high school theme, for which Set Sisters did what they do best - namely coming up with great settings in which to capture products as well as people. This included some old gym flooring sourced on ebay, along with an old school locker and velvet curtains.  

I feel fortunate to have worked with such a great team. The shoot went so well in fact, that we finished significantly earlier than intended, and Rich had made his image selections before we even left the studio. Efficiency indeed.

You can see final images from the shoot here.

Ball is Life

I thought it time to revisit a favourite shoot from a few years ago.

I’m not sure how it happened, but there was a period when I began re-watching films from the 90s that had a common thread; they were either set in New York and/or they involved basketball (White Men Can’t Jump, Above the Rim, and He Got Game, for example). 

image courtesy of Vanity Fair

I had also recently been to the excellent Basquiat: Boom for Real exhibition, billed as first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. One image that really stuck in my mind was the picture that was taken of him for a cover feature done by the New York Times in 1985.

image courtesy of The Guardian

I felt inspired to put together a shoot that involved the simple premise of getting someone in a suit playing basketball. My friend Javan fit the bill perfectly. Javan is one of the best-dressed people I know, and when I put the idea to him he was fully on board.

I had already scouted some locations to shoot in and a quick trip to a sports outlet to buy a basketball was the only other thing I needed.

We initially shot outside a hoarding opposite Bond Street station in London’s West End. I loved the blue colour and thought it would be a great place to get some shots of Javan dribbling the ball towards camera. As ever with shooting in busy locations like this, it took a little patience to wait for quiet moments in between the crowds of shoppers but we eventually got enough shots to move onto the next location.

And it was from West to East we went. Bethnal Green, to be precise. I got my favourite shots in a nearby outdoor court I’d scouted the week before. We finished up by shooting outside building covered in graffiti, where I was able to do my take on that New York Times cover.

A big thank you to Javan for his patience and for taking direction so well during the shoot. You can see more images  HERE.

Using Format