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MISS ANIELA: Rags, Riches & Redheads: Fashion in a French Château


Not long following our shoot in Lanzarote, we were loading up the cars and trailer for another week-long stint at the splendiferous Château Challain in France, for a premium Fashion Shoot Experience with an intimate group of photographers hailing from round the world.

This blog post takes you behind the scenes on the shooting, lighting and the post-production approach to achieving the final fairytale images of ‘Chateau Chique’.


Close-up of Dawn Treader, details on the making further below.

Setting the brief

Where did it all start? We first shot at Chateau Challain in 2014. It’s the most incredibly beautiful building I’ve ever seen – check out the drone footage above. We knew we wanted to return because the place simply has it all: not just absolutely photogenic architecture and rooms, but the logistical feasibility for the scale of our crew and clients. It’s easy for us to drive there, it’s close to Nantes Airport for everyone else to fly to, and wine is bountiful – everyone’s happy.

The shoot was to take place in October and planning started months in advance. Chateau dates were booked at least 6 months beforehand, and designers were commissioned back in the spring.

That was the logistical framework – the substance. As for the style, brief-wise, it was the wardrobe to first figure out for our vision for Chateau Chique. The flavour that generally goes with the chateau is obviously that of romantic, whimsical, and fantastical… big dresses, hairpieces, fairytale elegance, as we’d already done on our first shoot in 2014, ‘French Fairytale’ (selection of images below). So, how would we make this one different?

MISS ANIELA RAGS RICHES FRENCH CHATEAU 3 Montage of Images I shot last time at the Chateau in 2014

We wanted intricate but demure looks, using the last shoot as a basis to refine. Chateau Chique would hopefully raise the bar learning from the experience we gleaned last time. We commissioned wardrobe from London, Germany and China, with military jackets and ‘raggy Cinderella’ dresses, in addition to some voluminous fairytale bespoke pieces.

That was the brief for the production overall. My own personal brief within that, in terms of genre, was about making standalone fine-art pieces. For the other clients, they could shoot whatever they wanted: fashion stories or fine-art standalones, or experiment with whatever they fancied.

Wardrobe styling
or our 2014 shoot at Challain (see montage above) we’d commissioned a set of voluminous dresses from China, in addition to a few pieces from other designers and from theatre rental. Our surprise guest, Kirsty Mitchell, had sculpted my favourite look of the week which appeared in Elegant Elegy (middle image above). Overall we’d loved the adventure of making our own designs but also appreciated that we are wardrobe novices, so numerous looks were rough diamonds. The dress that appears in Forbidden Flower for example (third on middle row on montage above), is a dress that Matt in hindsight said he would have muted and muddied to give more texture and story.

For Chique, we again commissioned some dresses from China, but we left more time so we could do our own bit of work on them. The dresses when they turn up from China are just a starting point, like raw photo files. Cue customisation, spray paints, culling of tacky flowers… a full ‘make under’: here are some before and afters by Matt.



Transforming another Dress


A military jacket sprayed in gold.


Matt tweaking his dresses on set

A third dress concept of Matt’s was a ragged Cinderella-inspired dress (below, and seen at the top of the blog post) which was teamed with a muted floral theatre corset, huge wig, piles of tulle and a neck collar, but kept minimal with no accessories to continue the idea of more a ragged servant girl than an opulent character. (This look worked better than I anticipated and I enjoyed shooting her in a bedroom decor that perfectly suited the look.)

The ‘ragged Cinderella’ dress. First draft on the mannequin far left; then teamed with high wig, corset and minimal accessories

We also set aside a pretty penny to commission designers in London and Germany to make bespoke pieces. Wendy Benstead was commissioned to make two showpiece dresses. The first was a fitted jacket with voluminous textured dress. We wanted an autumnal feel, and on our moodboard below we had hints of a fairytale fungi-laden wood scene. The jacket evolved into a quirky military jacket – my favourite part, delightfully ‘wrong’ in terms of era – with wild collar and cuffs.


Moodboard for fungi Dress


Development of fungi Dress


Finished fungi Dress


Fungi dress on the model. It looked incredible but to give it more justice I have decided to reshoot this dress in the New Year.

The brief for the second dress was to make a Dior-style, blue dupion dress with large open collar and matching hat. Slimmer-hanging than the other, with delicacy, pastel tone, and fan shapes decorating the skirt, and hat. The moodboard is below.


Moodboard for blue dupion dress


Finished blue dupion dress


Blue dupion dress on the model in Thawed Fortress (more about this image further below.)


Another piece we commissioned was from Jolien of Fairytas: a golden corset in baroque, Tex Saverio style.


Jolien’s sketch, and the finished baroque corset.

The baroque corset teamed with a headpiece by Rachel Sigmon, here shot with Nikon D810 & 80-400mm lens, natural light

In working with designers, we’ve learnt it’s not always easy, even when you have a good budget. It is about ongoing communication, giving as full a brief as possible initially but also checking in on them to see pictures of the progression – even better, going in to visit. Leaving the brief ‘brief’, or completely wide open is dangerous, just as it would be if a client tells a photographer that they don’t mind what image they produce. A creative is hired to use their specific expertise, but a brief must still be as full as possible. When the client see the results they will know that indeed they had a brief even if they couldn’t articulate it.

Happily, all pieces were completed on time. In addition to the commissioned dresses, our stylist Minna Attala sourced extra and back-up looks. Dresses of her own making, dresses from National Theatre, and some pieces from her own designer connections including Della Reed, along with sacks of accessories and shoes. In addition, we had make-up/hair/designer extraordinaire Rachel Sigmon join the styling room. She brought oodles of wigs, hairpieces, and a gold dress I loved so much I shot it 4 times (seen in Dawn Treader and Marooned further below).

Matt also brought along his big box of tricks to add to the mix, including reams of pearls and his prized set of tea-stained vintage stockings (my worries about him still do not cease ;-) ) This time, we did not have airline capacity to worry about, our trailer was huge enough to bring everyone’s kitchen sink if we wanted.


Costume keying into the location
Because this was the second time for me at Challain, my own goal was to make images in different areas than I shot last time. My favourite room of the whole place is the Taxidermy Room, but having already shot a favourite image in there, I steered clear entirely and focused on the staircase, the entrance hall and bedrooms. I also wanted to shoot outside with the chateau in the distance (but didn’t manage that). Matt wanted to revisit the kitchen and create another (better) hazy atmosphere in there.

Our model line-up was completely familiar, all models we’d worked with before. This gave us confidence and relief. Kim, our redhead muse; Monica and Anita who’d joined us in Lanzarote, and Kristina, who we’d shot at Belvoir Castle in our picture The Governess.


Makeup & hair
We wanted elegant hair and makeup like last year’s, but toned down the use of synthetic hairpieces in general, using more headpieces and natural hairdoes. Rachel Sigmon did make some fancy wigs on the fly: ‘hair helmets’ as she named them, and these were amongst my favourite looks. Rachel, who juggled makeup, hair and some dresses too, had been discovered by Matt via Facebook and we’d been communicating plans via pictures over FB messaging for some time.

Now to put it all together. As usual, here is where I step in and make Matt’s months of planning worthwhile.

On an FSE we have multiple photographer set-ups going on at once. We’d start shooting around 11am each day, photographers being loosely designated spots to work in (though roaming was permitted as long as no-one trod on each others’ toes). I shot alone, with Matt on hand when he was not helping someone else, otherwise assisted by Aneil. Baby Lilith would either be parked next to me in a pram, or scooped off to the TV / internet room to join her cousin and auntie. As she’s breastfed on demand, I’d feed her on set or take a lie down on one of the many beds around – the location lent an advantageous relaxed atmosphere and there was plenty of time, so the shoots were fairly easy-going, lots of time to set up, think, try options, and spend ages tweaking to get it just right (tweaking the pictures, that is…)

I took my iMac to France (enough room in the trailer for everyone’s kitchen sink, remember) so I could off-load and even do some editing in my room each night.

Camera & lenses
For all shoots I was working with my Nikon D810 and mainly alternated between 24-70mm and 50mm lenses (with some opportunist telephoto shots). Eternally the question in my mind is how to get close enough to the model to show off her wares, whilst backing off enough to show the contextual location in all its elegance. Sometimes this is achieved through the 24-70mm lens alone, sometimes it is achieved through stitching panoramically with the 50mm lens. As much as I can I shoot both options. Stitching does mean better resolution in the end.


Lighting gear
For me nowadays, lighting is crucial on every shot in a place like this. For the majority of the time, relying on natural light just doesn’t cut it, except for some off-the-cuff 50mm portraits. Sometimes a brilliant shaft of light would shine into a room and lend the temptation to shoot natural, but I’ve learnt now that it’s mostly misleading, leading to high contrast and blow-outs on skin. The general plan of action was to shut out as much light as possible and shoot with strobe.

We used broncolor Move 1200L kits with a variety of modifiers, and we would manoeuvre the kits around the chateau from one room to the next with the help of our assistants. It’s a big location but we had time and plenty strong arms.


Dawn Treader is my overall stand-out from the week and the shot I edited first of all – the equivalent of last year’s Elegant Elegy(see the dedicated blog post on that, A Creepy Fairytale with Broncolor). This was shot with one of Rachel’s ‘hair helmets’, teamed with her gold dress too. Step in our redhead muse Kim, with taxidermy my favourite thing, shut the shutters and step her on a ladder, and we had a scene in-camera that gave me goosebumps. Oh and Matt insisted on replacing the burnt out bulbs in the candelabra which I am now thankful for. She became a nightwatchwoman, surreally tall to let the dress hang in its full flow, and an eerie expression of Tilda Swinton. I was in love.


DAWN TREADER. Nikon D810 (24-70mm f/2.8 lens). Settings: 28mm, f/4.0, 1/5 sec, ISO125.



Lighting diagram for Dawn Treader. Main light is Broncolor Move 1200L with Para 88. HMI lights are Lupolux 1200W HMIs 

Game of Thrones inspired


Image selection

Editing was very straightforward for this one, I knew what I wanted. It was just a case of the right image selection. Above shows my main quandary: which of these two poses? I loved the moving forward pose of the left, decided that must be the one, so I made sure it was pin-sharp, and went ahead stitching and editing.

However, I just couldn’t shake off the gut feeling that the pose on the right was better. I’d actually used this shot to do a quick mock-up back at the chateau on my iMac. I kept looking back at my mock-up, trying to encapsulate its essence that was missing from the new ‘properly done’ version, and not feeling it was quite there. Thinking I’d just chosen that shot in haste, I realised that my haste was actually instinct of choosing the ‘right shot’. Sometimes we work better when we don’t think too much and go with our gut reaction! The left pose made more sense in terms of walking i.e. ‘treading’ the dawn, as it’s more animated, and yet I couldn’t deny that the more static and reclined pose on the right did something for me. I decided to revert. Heart over brain, I have to go with what I ‘love’ (as long as the shot was just as pin-sharp… and luckily it was perfect).

Stitched together, the final image barely took a Curves adjustment which is a rarity; it already has so much colour and contrast in there, with the bright orange setting off the frame. It was important to me to preserve the tungsten hue of the image, but not to over-muddy the tones. I even wonder whether it’s still over-processed.

Now for a little more of an unusual editing approach…


MAROONED. Nikon D810 (24-70mm f/2.8 lens). Settings: 24mm, f/4.0, 1/160 sec, ISO100.

This was shot in the King’s Room, with one of my favourite aspects of the chateau: a wooden, stately four poster bed with interesting carvings and texture.


I shot Kim around the room and finally ended up in the corner you see above. A fairly simple pose by the bedstead was the final place, and the one where I took the most shots, inspired by the simplicity and lines of the composition. This was lit fairly simply with the Para 88 at top camera left.


I loved the synergy of golden tones in the scene. But things took a surprising turn in the editing to create Marooned.  I felt compelled to turn down the temperature to make the dress markedly cool, isolating it a little from the surroundings by using a brush in Adobe Raw. It seemed that this frame in particular lent itself mystically well to this unorthodox editing change (other shots didn’t look so good to me when I tried the same technique) and I saw something mermaid-like and otherworldly as I continued. I was unsure, but I decided to continue (recognising that hesitation happens a lot in creating my favourite images!)  I edited most of it that evening hunched over my laptop on the floor of my chateau bedroom (I didn’t even make it to my iMac because I was so eager, i.e. lazy) and showed it on my iPad to Kim at dinner – who said she loved it (I was pleased as she’s usually nonchalantly honest with a mystifying pokerface about most images…)

Now onto a far more intricate piece which, unlike the images I’ve shown so far, took a great deal more time in post-production. Weeks, in fact, of editing in Photoshop which is partly why this blog post has been a long time coming…

We had Kristina in the Wendy Benstead blue dupion dress, teamed with a bird hat by Rachel Sigmon, a neck piece by Della Reed and accessories hunted by Matt (I’d road-tested the brooch at dinner in Newhaven a few weeks prior, naturally).


Quick shot of the blue dupion dress look

Pulled together by stylist Minna the final look was stunning, and not difficult to take a bad portrait of. But we decided to spend all morning perfecting the trickiest shot in the chateau: the staircase. The staircase is like a tricky lover: looks easy enough on the eye, till you try to make it work and you find yourself rebuked. The lighting is uneven, with multiple shadowed areas and light sources upon it. Below are the first shots we took which show how difficult it started out.


Here’s how we developed our set-up.


Lighting diagram for Thawed Fortress. Main light is broncolor Move 1200L with beauty dish. Lupolux 1200W HMI firing from bottom of staircase.

The result gave enough front fill and evened out the back and side areas of the shot. The dark top of the staircase was the main difficult spot that we wanted to lighten up. Once lighting was ‘nailed’ as Matt duly announces, it was time to tie down composition, and I was on a consistent mission of shooting the staircase fully and frontally, showing it all off in the frame. I shot tilts to one side to stitch the image.

In editing, once it was stitched and cropped, I arrived at a square format which showed off staircase, dress, side passageway, chandeliers – and space for potential surrealism. It had to go somewhere, but where? My first thought was birds, to go with the bird hat. Birds flocking from her dress. Looked crap. So I changed tact: water. Water coming down the stairs? Splashing down the banisters? I spent a good many hours trying out this approach with stock water images and thought I had it. Until Matthew suggested redoing the whole thing with: ice.

I used landscape imagery more ambitiously than I ever have done: building out the canvas quite a way both sides, extending the scene to become panoramic.


As soon as I put on this first left side, I could see it was working in terms of lighting, and, to my delight, the stark shapes of the icicles at the top middle took on the effect of coming ’round’ the staircase, making a quality hinge for this inspiration of this composite to continue. It kept me going, for I needed this reassurance to battle through the right hand side which took more effort, and multiple stock ice images to get right, creating the effect of a pool at the bottom of the stairs. I then tried water trickling down the stairs, but this was an ostentatious step too far, so I swapped it out for simple lumps of ice. Compositing is as much about taking stuff away as it is putting things in.

Once composited, I used some simple Curves adjustments to ‘glue’ the whole image together (but not ruin skin tones or muddy the whites too much, important in an image with snow/ice), and the usual airbrushing to make the model and dress as beautiful as possible, and finally a couple centuries later the whole piece was satisfactorily complete.

Below is the final image in its full dimensions (and further below, a cropped version to see in closer).


THAWED FORTRESS. Nikon D810 (24-70mm f/2.8 lens). Settings: 24mm, f/5.6, 1/160 sec, ISO64.

Thawed Fortress – closer detail / crop 

More on lighting
Here is one of my favourite lighting set-ups from the week. A shot began with model Kristina styled in a corset by Minna and hair helmet by Rachel. The lighting progresses through these shots to reach the result further below.


We began with Kristina up against a wall and lighting far too frontal. We developed a lighting set-up which would give a soft overall fill, having two strobes firing away from the model to bounce the light. On left was a stripbox and on the right, the Para 88.



We experimented with different power settings to give a variety in look. Ultimately it is the moment she steps forward away from the wall that the lighting and softness transforms the mood.

Taking care of a group of other photographers is the main challenge of our FSE event, combined with having to think and shoot creatively for myself as a participant too. On this shoot we had a smaller, more intimate group of participants (six other photographers) which made life more manageable, luckily no huge setbacks minus the usual (expected) minor dramas getting all models to the chateau on time.



We brought our brother and sister-in-law (with their little boy Hunter) to help caretake our baby Lilith, and had no shortage of extra help from the doting stylist Minna (or anyone else who fancied a baby hug). And as much as I’ve been long ogling the baby cribs in the chateau, awaiting the day I bring my own baby, Lilith was happily tucked between us each night where she belongs, in our four-poster bed like a babe of leisure.



All our participating photographers: Jan, Anna, Janelle, Marco & Lynne, Lara, James

Models: Monika Gocman, Anita Sikorska, Kim D, Kristina Vaiciuniate

Designers/wardrobe/styling: Wendy Benstead, Fairytas, Minna Attala, Rachel Sigmon / Posh Fairytale Couture, Della Reed, Jolita, National Theatre

Makeup & hair: Grace Gray, Rachel Sigmon

Assistants: Daniel Lennard, Johnathan Clover, Aneil Sharma

The hospitality & grandeur of Chateau Challain

broncolor, Lupolux Photo, Nikon, Manfrotto, ThinkTank Photo


About Miss Aniela
‘Miss Aniela’s colourful, often surreal images are cerebral and sexy, intimate and public, all at once’ (American Photo)

Aniela is the middle name of Natalie Dybisz, a fine-art fashion photographer based in London, UK. Originating as a self-portrait artist in 2006, Miss Aniela’s work has been exhibited internationally and featured in numerous media including NY Arts, El Pais, ALARM Chicago, Vogue Italia and BBC.

REMADY Music Video Beautiful filmed with the new FT System and HMI1600

In the music Video, Jackalopz – Beautiful, the assignment was to film a beautiful woman who whiles away her days in a wonderful house or Villa.

To keep the video exciting and interesting, several themes or scenes were needed with the model, Donika, be these putting on make-up, a swing in the garden, waking up in bed, playing with the dog or the parachute shoot – all this had to be well planned before the shoot began.

We needed sufficient light, cameras, fans, a house and, of course, the model. We decided to shoot in high-speed for which I needed powerful and flicker-free light to create sharp images. The 1600 light and bron’s FT system were ideal for lighting the various scenes.


The FT system allowed us to use the light focused to follow the whole surface or someone. With the 1600 lights, we lit the scene and provided backlight. In addition to the fact that the light was easy to set-up on the set, I was seriously impressed by the brightness of the light; in fact, we had so much light that we hardly noticed the bad weather – the images were incredibly sharp.


After a long search, we found a villa in Lucerne overlooking the stunning lake and mountains, where we could film the music video. The highlight for me was the large parachute that was like a giant skirt in which the fans created a cloud-like movement.

It looks absolutely spectacular in slow motion – don’t miss the Video. Looking back, filming without the light would have been impossible as the rooms were very dark.

Music Video
Second Camera – Brigitte Wittmer
Color Grading – Pascal Isenschmid
DOP Director Robert Wittmer
Light by broncolor

About Musician Remady

Toy Story – Star War’s Figures inspired Still life Photographer Jonathan Beer

jonathanbeer2-1000x562Still life photography can be a lonely way to make a living. “I’m predominantly working with inanimate objects and only very rarely venturing outside,” says Manchester-based Jonathan Beer.

“Sometimes it can all get a little claustrophobic and it’s important to take on a personal project to get the creative juices flowing again.”

Fellow photographers had suggested to Jonathan that he needed to move out of his comfort zone by taking on a portrait shoot. He agreed. But he decided to embrace the challenge in a way that would be more suited to his commercial shooting style.


“I pretended to agree and then looked around for a tabletop subject that would be more my thing,” he smiles. “The answer lay in my seven-year-old son’s toy box. He agreed to lend me his Star Wars figures, and in return I let him help out on the shoot. It was a great opportunity for us to do something together.”

Working with a view camera fitted with a Hasselblad H3DII 39 MS back, Jonathan was able to meticulously control where his focus fell to attain a real sense of perspective in his tiny scenes. “Normally my intention is to achieve as much depth of field as possible,” he says, “but here the aim was to make it as narrow as possible and to create backgrounds that were effectively just suggestions of shape at times.

Jonathanbeer4-1000x562Meanwhile, the extra clarity of the Multi-Shot was the cherry on the top of already amazing file quality and it’s perfect for still life work. It also compliments working with movements and view cameras very well too, as it allows me to really push the limits of the lenses.”


All kinds of household items things were pressed into service: one particularly effective background consisting of repeated circles, had its origins in a backlit Connect 4 game covered with a sheet of translucent paper.  Other miniature sets were created using sheets of fake grass and sand, more usually found on a train set.


Lighting was provided by a broncolor Flooter Fresnel attachment, which afforded a sunshine feel to the set.

Ultimately the illusion was the objective, alongside freedom to improvise. “I enjoyed the chance to wind up my friends,” adds Jonathan, “while also producing some shots that have really enlivened my website. Maybe I’ll graduate to real people next time.”

More nice works from Jonathan Beer here
Jonathan Beer is a still-life and product photographer working in both Manchester and London… lucky thing

Danny MacAskill’s Drop and Roll Tour – Freeze the Action


Danny MacAskill and his Drop And Roll team do shows throughout the world, and they wanted to do a fun video project together that wouldn’t be a serious piece.

Of course in the end so much effort gets put in that everyone ends up working hard for it, but then it shows.

He wanted to do a shoot where the team were dressed like the hair metal rockers of the 80s, and he even got legend Rob halford off of Judas Priest to be featured in the video as himself.

We did the whole shoot on a really low budget, and we ended up renting over fifty Arri lights connected to a light mixer, so we could make proper stage lighting. Add to that an industrial smoke machine, and we were in business.

For the moving image part the constant light was enough, but for photography I needed more to freeze the action, so I brought my Moves, and used them together with the stage lighting, which worked very well.

Drop and Roll team

I mainly used a Para 88 for a front light, and a standard reflector with barn doors as a back light. The barn doors are fantastic to prevent light spill, especially on backdrops. In post production I ended up using several filters from 80s films to get a nice warm film look, mixing them in layers.
Drop and Roll team

BTS Drop and RollClick here to read all about Danny MacAskill’s Drop and Roll Tour

About Photographer Rutger Pauw
The thing I like most about photography is that it’s like riding bikes. It allows me to come up with ideas and tricks I haven’t seen before. Somehow that’s what has always intrigued me most. It’s a little personal victory, maybe unnoticed by others but the feeling of having created something you haven’t seen before is why I take photos.

Check out on our News Blog more articles about Action Photographer Rutger Pauw!

New Playground – Strasbourg’s National and University Library


I promise, this is not deliberate. For the third time, I’m setting up a photo shoot in a library. After the Media library Andre Malraux in Strasbourg, and the Stadtbibliothek in Stuttgart, we were granted the access to the National and University library of Strasbourg.

The building, which is a work of architects August Hartel and Skjold Neckelmann, was opened in 1895 and renovated last year. It holds the second largest collection in France and is a magnificent historical monument. I never thought I would be able to do anything inside this building until a few weeks ago. After submitting a few projects during a year, I finally got a positive answer.


 The mission wasn’t easy as I was asked to combine architecture elements and artistic performances. Something I shouldn’t be afraid of since It’s the core of what I’ve been doing with the serie “InMotion”.


But I couldn’t help finding it a bit more challenging than usual as the architecture of the building is somehow disconcerting with its mix of modern and old structures and volumes. After a quick walk through the building, I decided to break it into three short sessions with 6 different artists.

Fanny and Noémie George, two ex gymnasts and dancers, Anastasia Skukhtorova a pole dance champion for some “off pole” work, Paul Herzfeld and Nhật-Nam Lê, two amazing chinese pole performers and Sandra Ehrensperger a ballet dancer from The Opera du Rhin.


An amazing line up in an amazing place… My main concern was for the 2 circus artists. The library has one of the most beautiful staircase I’ve ever seen. And what I wanted to do was to bring a 16 feet tall chinese pole in the center of it. At first, I had to convince the library to let us do so.

The pole is safe and easy to install but, when you’re not used to this type of material, I can understand that people can be afraid of it. Somehow we managed to convince them. Then came up the installation, we had to be really careful to not hurt anyone, but also to not break anything inside ! Fortunately the setup was smooth and quick… We we’re all set to have the fun of our lives in an incredible Setting.

Some infos on the tools used during these 3 sessions :
broncolor Move Kit
Para 88
Canon 5 D mark III

Thanks to the whole staff of the National and University Library of Strasbourg.
Thanks to all the dancers and performers for their art and passion.
Thanks to Marlène for the Behind the scenes video, and a special shoutout to the broncolor team for their support.

Andriamampandry Tiana also known as Haze Kware is a photographer and videographer located in Strasbourg. He is one of the members of blackdough Team, and proposes from now on his craft as a solo Photographer under the pseudonym: HK

Photographer for Dancers / Performers / Artists / and individuals looking for edgy, gritty, bad ass visuals.

MOOOI Designers and their Artworks – Light-up and Shoot


We went to the press presentation of the design brand MOOOI in Milano. Not knowing what to expect, I took my broncolor battery operated travel kit with me in a flight case. The exhibition floor was overwhelming.

There were huge beautiful interior images of Massimo Listri. And in front of these images they presented the collection of Moooi. The combination of two dimensional Images with three dimensional Design created a whole new world. The journalist Renske Schriemer found out, that one of the main designers, Mr. Marcel Wanders, had time for an interview and a photo.

Marcel asked me, if I have an idea for this photo. I told him it would be nice if he would be in the Set and not standing in front of it. That was a little bit tricky since the chairs he designed were standing on a block that wasn’t built to carry the weight of a person.

It just needed to hold the chairs. But Marcel loved the idea and would give it a try. He went for the interview giving me the time to come-up with a light plan and setting up the lights. Since time was limited, I had a lot of pressure. Salone del Mobile means running through Milan, using taxis and metro up and down roll stairs (that are often in maintenance).

So my gear had to be compact. Meaning two lamps, tree tripods (one small one for the camera) three umbrellas, two white and one silver and the pack. And a spare flash tube, I carry around some years now with me without the need to use it.


The back ground was lighter than the set with chairs standing in front of it. The idea was to turn this around. It would provide me the opportunity to create a more dramatic atmosphere and controlling the light. Making it more surreal.

The difficulty was to get main light on my subject without influencing the back ground. The goal was to make it darker. The main light was coming from the right pointed to the phase of Marcel Wanders, closing the Umbrella just a bit. The other lamp was standing on the upper site to light op the straits in the picture of Massimo.

Just a little bit so the chair wouldn’t get stocked in the back ground. I was just finished with the setup as Marcel Wander showed up. He took his place in the chair. Then I needed some time to adjust the light, his suite was in contrast to his shoes very dark.

On the Ipad the test images looked like modern Polaroids, very useful when you are using flash lights and you need to show to your person in front of the camera, what you are trying to achieve. A lot people think because it is digital, it’s made in no time. But working with light and creating an atmosphere takes a certain time.

Lucky for me as designers are people that can understand this fact, since they work for months, even years creating the perfect design.


The other thing was to find the right pose. I asked him to lean a little bit forward, and it worked. Renske and I decided to try, if we could interview more Designers of Moooi. And so, in a couple of hours we had several nice interviews and managed to get the Designers in front of the camera.


The story and pictures were published in Residence Magazine.

About Norbert Voskens

At the age of ten I started to shoot portraits of my friends on the playground. Since then, the camera never left my side. I went to art school in the early 90’s and photography became my way to make a living, but I guess it already was my life. The world has changed and so has photography. It’s digital now, mostly. But I still picture the world, my world, your world or how we want the world to be like. I Picture it. Because that’s who I am and what I love to do.

Portraits by Rutger Pauw – Red Bull’s Kaleidoscope Film Project

I recently was invited to shoot photos at Kaleidoscope, a new Red Bull film featuring BMXer Kriss Kyle from Glasgow.

The film was made by the Ridley Scott Associates, and I love how it came out. 18 months of work went into this Project.

I used the Moves with a Para 88 for the portraits at this shoot, which blended in nicely with the HMI cinema lighting on set.


It’s one of the biggest projects Red Bull UK have ever done, and I believe it shows. I feel privileged to have been a part of this.

About Rutger Pauw
The thing I like most about photography is that it’s like riding bikes. It allows me to come up with ideas and tricks I haven’t seen before. Somehow that’s what has always intrigued me most. It’s a little personal victory, maybe unnoticed by others but the feeling of having created something you haven’t seen before is why I take photos.

More articles about Rutger Pauw….
Para 88 for poor light conditions
Twan Van Gendt Portrait by Rutger Pauw
One Shot – danny MacAskill in front of the Solar Eclipse

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