Yesterday, Rhys and I went to a very famous and large park in the city. I've wanted to shoot Rhys for a long time now. He has a really cool look, short hair, cropped at the sides and a nice full dark beard. He usually wears glasses which kind of hide his face but I could tell there was potential there to look good in photos. And I was right! Plus, he's skinny so everything works on him.
The shoot was great, freezing, but great. We collaborated on a bunch of different looks, but pretty much just brought a random assortment of clothes.
My goal of this shoot was to 1. shoot outside in natural-differing lighting, 2. To take shots of my model in different outfits, lighting and angles and 3. to create a feeling of un-Earthiness-- Stranger in a Strange Land kind of deal.
It was nice shooting outside- the first place we shot was on these really wide steps, littered with trees and garbage bins. I really wanted to get some shots of Rhys lying on them, with the long late afternoon shadows falling on him. GQ style I had in my head, so we whipped on a tie, white shirt assemble with a light nylon bomber with a screen-printed photo of Ayers Rock (sp?) on the back. (Rhys is an Aussie). It worked out but I ended up choosing a lot of photos of him standing, and the photos from that location came out overall quite two dimensional to me.
My favourite location was this giant blue fibre-glass sculpture, that lended itself as a natural stage and had the appearance of melting toffee. I though pairing the backdrop with my crazy pseudo-floral patterned hooded nylon windbreaker, over white shirt with a floral print yellow tie would work. And the crazy thing is, I think it does.
My favourite shot I got of Rhys, was a portrait, standing on some stairs up a small hill to a mermaid sculpture. The setting light of the sun, became more golden in tones, and a shadow from a tree casted on Rhys' face. I actually got goosebumps taking some of those photos. Framing his face with the shadow and trying to get that beam of light to illuminate the deep brown of his eyes was challenging, and I wish I had done it better, but I'm happy with the results- the statue, blurry in the background- ties it to the rest of the photo series.
If I could go back and do it over, I think I would try to take more close up shots, portraits. I really love taking those flat- 2 dimensional images for some reason. But I want to experiment with other angles.
Oh, and I was planning to take some photos of him on the grass- which has a nice golden hue at this time of year- but totally forgot. Must have been over concerned about losing my fingers to frost bite...
Oh, also, I need to get my ratio of focused photos higher. Going back on my laptop and looking at them, I lost so many just because they weren't in focus. Amateur!
The story of this narrative spread relates to my own experiences living in China- in another different culture- and really immersing yourself in it. I don't think a lot of people realize how difficult it can be, not just living in a different culture, but fitting yourself into it. There are times when I feel completely unrelatable to both Chinese and Western (Canadian) culture. It's hard to explain my feelings, but it's something a kin to an astronaut leaving the gravity and comfort of Earth to go to Mars- but it's a long, slow journey-- and so soon, the Earth and Mars become nothing but ideas in the astronaut's head. And soon only the black expanse of Space is what they know. And really, the scariest thing about Space is that it's empty.
Wtf does this have to do with yesterday's photoshoot? I guess, I just had in my mind this feeling, this feeling of lost and finding, of otherness and comfortableness. Of someone losing themselves but also in the process, creating themselves. The structured geometry of the stairs, the melting stage, the floating poses in the field, the otherworldliness of the mermaid statue and the warmness of the last shots in the forest- they all lend themselves to this narrative. Or at least they do to me.