Sometimes it is interesting to approach a photography project from a unique angle. This is what happened in January when I worked with a collective of three different artists on a common project called “OR”.
It all started last year when I met artisan Mihaela Slav who works with recycled fabrics and leftover leather to create unique accessories such as purses, scarves and neckless. I already published a gallery describing her work when I reviewed the Zeiss Loxia lenses.
Following that encounter, Mihaela and I spoke many times about the idea of producing a series of photos to promote her brand and art. At the beginning we intended to mix traditional still life shots with something more artistic such as light painting.
Then everything changed once we met talented artists Eleonora Manca and her partner Alessandro Amaducci. Eleonora is a visual artist, photographer, performer and video artist who uses her own body as a medium to communicate and display her art. Alessandro is a known video artist as well; he has written several different books about the genre and has been active for more than 15 years.
Together we decided to mix our skills and produce something different from your classic commercial project. The idea was to combine the body performance of Eleonora with the various fashion objects designed by Mihaela. I curated the photography aspect while Alessandro took care of the video. Each of us will edit and manipulate the final photos according our individual style and ideas.
I decided to use the Samsung NX1 because of the great quality of its files.
The shoot was challenging for many reasons. From a light point of view, I had to give Eleonora enough space to move comfortably and perform. This meant that I couldn’t be 100% precise with my lighting setup.
Since video shooting was involved as well, I used continuous light sources. I’ve worked with this kind of light many times before for my film-making so while I was confident, it was also a challenge because continuous light for photography requires a lot of precision. You can spend many hours trying to set up the perfect light, so if your time is limited (as mine was), you may find yourself racing against the clock. What’s more, leather is not the easiest texture to photograph because it can be very dark but also reflect too much light.
The photos in this article are a preview, and the style and post-processing might change for the final project as it is a work-in-progress. I post-processed all the photos using Lightroom and I must say that the NX1 files are really flexible thanks to the fact that they are 14 bit uncompressed RAW files.
At the beginning I wasn’t planning on making the series monochrome. Then after many attempts to find the right style I came to the conclusion that the sepia tone suited the series really well. I used one of the Rebecca Lily Presets from her Pro Set III series to give the images the final look you see here.
As I mentioned at the beginning, the project is titled “OR”. Eleonora came up with the idea after seeing these two letters stamped onto one of Mihaela’s leftover leather samples. (You can see it on the cover image of this article.) “OR” also refers to the two different types of skin that appear in the images: Eleonora’s skin and the leather used to create the objects.
The photo shoot took place at the Paolo Tonin gallery.
Have you ever collaborated with an artist on a photo shoot? If so, tell us about your experience!