INTRODUCING PRESSURE POINTS: THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Updated: Nov 13
The Photographer owns the copyright to all images.
MEET THE TEAM
As a freelance Photographer, or any type of creator in fact, it is easy to be so focused on pushing out projects for other people, that we often forget to set aside time to work on our own creations. Not only this, but as I also create content for others, I was slowly forgetting about myself. I felt I was losing my unique creative flair, and felt uninspired, demotivated and burnt out. It's always a dark and cloudy state for me to be in when this happens as I begin to question my own capabilities and talents.
I took to my instagram and had a scroll down my content, and I realised the more I scrolled down, the more experimental I was in my earlier days as a Photographer. I missed having a story behind my work, and I also missed researching and writing about my projects, as opposed to: heres a pretty picture, post it online and forget about it by next week. It's meaningless and doesn't leave a mark...well for me, anyway. What changed?
It's been a year since graduating with a 1st class degree in Media Production (go me, sorry I wanted to flex and rightly so because that degree cost me alot...mentally and financially). It's been a year of being left to my own devices. A year of no deadlines, no pressure and crazy enough...I work best under pressure. It's what I need in order to create to my fullest potential. And they do say, pressure creates diamonds, right? The diamonds being my work, and the more pressure, the more impactful and inspiring it is for myself and hopefully for others.
Once I identified the issue, I had to pick myself up. I set myself a personal challenge, find an old project I love, that sparks a new idea, create a new one based on this, and write up about the process. And so, that's exactly what I done.
Credit: Nicole Parkes @Parosaroid Campaign Shoot for Preetee Lashes (2020)
This was the project that I kept scrolling back to, therefore this would be the starting point to my creation. I sat and analysed it as if I did not photograph it myself. What do I like so much about these images?
Firstly, I loved the analogous colour scheme. The lilac colorama in contrast with the pink tinge on the skin created a beautiful gradient, and complimented the models skin tone well. I liked how minimal the models posing was, as it allows you to focus on the hair, makeup and the lashes (intentional on my part considering it was a shoot for an Eyelash brand). Lastly, I absolutely loved the little pearl detailing on the eyelids and the texture it created. As soon as I discovered what I liked, a lightbulb went off in my head. Inspiration had finally sprung upon me and I finally had a concept for my shoot.
'Analogous' Term: Analogous colours are next to each other on the colour wheel and create harmony due to their proximity. The most common grouping of colours in an analogous colour scheme is 3, however, they have to have a minimum of 2 colours but a maximum of 5.
I knew I wanted to incorporate texture and upon speaking to Yeama, the Hairstylist for this shoot, she instantly suggested using crystals somehow. I wanted Ambers makeup to have a soft hue, nothing too bold or sharp, a soft glam vibe, and for her hair to be pulled back and out of her face. I was not sure how all this would be incorporated, so I discussed these ideas with the glam team and provided them with images to go off for inspiration. They took the idea and was left to create to their fullest extent. Leaving them to create based off the brief I gave was important as it is equally their art as well as mine, and a collaboration between creatives should not have loads of restrictions otherwise it's not really a chance for everyone to exercise their creativity.
I also took inspiration from Mélanie Lehmann who is an incredible queer Photographer in the UK who emphasises her vision using light gels. I love how she lights her sets and uses lighting to enhance the creative concept, it's stunning and this is what I wanted my focus to be on set. Lighting is so important in a shoot, so experimenting with different set ups is important in order to improve.
@Melony.lemon has shot covers for publications such as Wonderland, Gay Times and Pause Magazine. Melanie has a unique style, and in most cases you can tell when something has been shot by her.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS - PRODUCTION DAY
When we spoke about the idea, Daniela, the Makeup Artist, was really excited. We had worked together before, and she is an artist who is not afraid to experiment with texture and colour. I've also seen her do a variety of looks on women of all skin tones which is important...we can't have our models looking crazy on set. This was a chance for her to take the brief, and interpret it with her own creativity, to create a look fitted to the vision. Upon arrival to the studio, once I had shown her the colour of the backdrop, straight away a few ideas quickly sprung to her mind. She showed me an example of something she could create and I left her to her own devices.
"She completely trusted me and those are the spaces I love to work in. I played off the inspiration of the background and the hairstyle to create this look. I wanted it to give “editorial” but something you can wear out and not look scary. A true MILMADEUK glam is about delivering the unexpected and I’m sure the assignment was understood!"
Yeama says I’ve worked with Nicole before and we’ve been a part of amazing projects so I knew this would be a breeze. She came to me with an idea of a look that she had in mind and as soon as she suggested the style I immediately thought “crystals” because what girl doesn’t like a bit of shine in their life?! I knew that the braid, and the crystals on her head and around her baby hairs would exaggerate her whole look".
"My goal was to do something different to the hairstyles Parosaroid already has already shot. I wanted the hair to stand out as much as possible (it even worked out great that the MUA also placed crystals on Amber’s eyebrows!) In summary if I was to explain the look we done for Amber? One word: magical. From the people, to the outcome, to the energy on the day of the shoot...it was magical and she looked amazing!"
The photographs did not achieve the initial look which I was going for. I was aiming for a crisp look with a pink backlight created with a light gel to enhance the depth within the photographs. This was because for some reason only one flash was working at a time in the studio I used. Also, I accidentally melted the lighting gel because of how I placed it on one of the lights. So instead of going for a lighter, ethereal look, I decided that I would use a simple one light set up and turned off the additional light, for the face to be sculpted with shadows.
I first placed the light directly in front of Amber, pointing slightly down to her at a 45 degree angle. However I quickly scrapped this because I did not like how it removed a lot of the shadows; it lacked depth and looked too commercial for me.
I decided to move the light to the side of the model to bring back the shadows. Remember the lighting gel that I just mentioned I melted? I was intrigued by my hazard and noticed how the lighting gel hardened as it cooled down. So instead of throwing it away, I decided to use it as a filter, placing it over my lens with tape. The little hardened bits created little blurs within the shot, in addition to changing the colour tint. It turned out to be the best mistake I made because that one decision is what helped enhance the shoot and tie everything together. Now, are you ready for the outcome?
I introduce to you, 'Pressure Points': A creative Parosaroid Production.
Canon 5D Mark IV
24-70mm 2.8 Sigma Lens
1x Profoto D1 Air 500
Broncolor Octabox 150cm
Pink melted Light Gel
Credit: Project Title: "Pressure Points" Amber-rose Gill @Amberrosegill / Photographed by Nicole Parkes @nameisnic0le / Hairstylist: @theallureparlour / Makeup Artist: @Milmadeuk