La Mer Violette (the purple sea) is an editorial for the November issue of FAINT Magazine Australia. It was shot in an abstract, futuristic room without a solid floor. Instead, there is a water surface, which reflects the geometric stone architecture and the deep red light.
The original idea was to create a symbol for the psychological process of reflecting, repressing and projecting the positive and negative aspects of our personalities in both our self-perception and our interactions with the other. The psyche is understood as a space of ambivalence, constantly evading our intellect. Our self-awareness knows countless ways to mask our demons and uses the outside world as the projection screen for the shadow plays of our souls.
A ruby seemed to be the perfect inspiration for the scenery – its refraction of light offered not only visual beauty, but also an instrument to express the psychological dynamics of our reflection. Unlike a clear diamond, the ruby does not represent immaculate perfection; its crimson color reveals a darker character by making it the visual equivalent of a blood diamond.
The lack of a solid floor expresses the missing orientation of our inner world – its place is taken by the liquid element of a water surface, which stands for the sea of our unconscious.
Director and Photographer Damien Krisl captured this scenario to present the unique fashion pieces with stylist Melanie Perego from Gucci, Disquared 2, Christian Louboutin, Jean Paul Gaultier, Louis Vuitton, Agent Provocateur and many others.
LIGHT “The challenge was to light up the huge place during the night, as our shoot included four location moves. We shot from 10pm until 7am with the preparation and 6 looks.The complex reflection of the water was another factor we had to deal with. Not least, our shoot required careful work of the lightning crew, because water and power flashes are not best friends. The difficulty was to create the soft red gradient in the background as we had no space to hide the flashes. We bounced them indirect on the boarder of the pool. Because the walls were grey we used full power on all the flashes. The background was around 9m long so we used 9 Pulso G Lights for the background and some Picos for the models to highlight some parts.“
Equipment used for the shoot:
4 power packs Verso A4, 2 power packs Scoro S 3200, 11 Pulso G lamps, 6 Picolite lamps, 6 P70 reflectors, 3 Softboxes
A big thank-you to: Alexandre Dubois for the Art Direction and the amazing
Crew: 1st AD : Thompson Johnson
Styliste : Melanie Perego
Assistant styliste : Fabio Chiervo
Chef décorateur: : Sylvain Cabouat @ Filomeno Paris
Assistent deco: : Klemens Trenkle & Sven Müller
Producer : Loris Gerometta
Assistant prod : Eva Reimann
Assistant lumière : Christian Gerber & Victoria Loesch
Digital : Daniel Heller
Make-up : Vincent Jabes @ B-Agency Paris
Hair : Raynald Bernard @ Mods’shair
Models : Margarita L. @ Karin Models Paris : Anastasia B. @ Karin Models Paris : Benoit B. @ Nathalie Models Paris
Postproduction : Georges-Emmanuel Arnaud
I was asked to be a part of Red Bull’s Sewa’s Sequence, a project for skateboarder Sewa Kroetkov. He is a very technical skater that links tricks together by wheelies or nose manuals, and they built him a custom obstacle to show what he’s best at. Of course (like you can see in the video below) it took a lot of time and sweat to finally land the bigspin boardslide to manual, to crooked grind, to nose manual-nollie flip out.
This was supposed to be a two day shoot, in which you don’t know when the athlete will finish the trick. Might be in ten minutes, or never. In this case he landed the trick right at the end of the second day, leaving me about twenty minutes to shoot a photo which showed all tricks he had done. The reason I couldn’t just shoot it when it was happening on the spot was because a film crew was taking up all the space in the old factory hall with moving camera men, scrims, tripods, you name it. Usually you’d always shoot something like this as is, it’s important people know the tricks were actually pulled and not staged. In this case we thankfully had the video evidence, so we agreed on doing the photo trick by trick, rather than spending possibly another two days (if that would have even been physically possible).
I brought just two broncolor Move power packs and attached the MobiLED lamps to the Beauty Dish for this shoot, and shot the entire photo with them. In the making of photo you can see I moved the lights with the skater, so I didn’t have to adjust the lights anymore, which saved me a lot of time. I finally lit up the roof seperately, layered everything in Photoshop and took the parts I needed.
ATHLETE Sewa Kroetkov started skateboarding in the Netherlands, a little over a decade ago. He moved to Los Angeles a few years back to pursue his dream of making it as a professional skateboarder, and last summer he did just that, making it into the professional roster of Blind Skateboards. Alongside Red Bull, he created Sewa’s Sequence, a project which gives him the perfect stage to demonstrate his particular game… ever seen a bigspin boardslide to manny, to crook, to nose manny-nollie flip out?! #SewasSequence
Rutger Pauw I grew up around Rotterdam, a city that today is known as one of the better places to ride street BMX in. Thirteen years ago when I started riding BMX I could have never imagined that I’d be living in London now, travelling all over, working with the coolest people I’ve ever met. I also wouldn’t have guessed that I’d be shooting photos of the people I saw in magazines back then. It’s been quite an interesting journey when I think of it now. The difference between riding bikes and photography isn’t all that big, I think. Even when shooting all the other sports, you meet the same kind of determination, and the same amount of fun.
Venessa Arizaga and Olivia Kim for FEED Projects. Jewelry Designer; Director of Creative Projects, Nordstrom
I’m a control freak. I’ll admit it. To a large extent, it’s helped me in my career, but along the way I’ve come to realize that I can’t always do everything by myself. A recent celebrity portrait project put that to the test. Although the photographs themselves were quite simple in execution, this project would challenge me in a new strange way.
The portraits in this post were taken to to support my friend Lauren Bush Lauren’s charity, FEED Projects. Lauren and I dreamt up a concept for the shoot over coffee. We would capture portraits of FEED’s celebrity ambassadors and influencers in a studio setting that felt classic, natural, and share a moment of intimacy between friends or business partners. It would be the first major advertising campaign effort for FEED, and although grassroots, the final images would live in a lot of major places, including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, and Elle, just to name a few.
Okay… This all sounds great, but there was one big problem- as much as I’d love to volunteer my time for every single portrait, each image was shot on a different day and conflicted with the busiest few months of my year as a freelance photographer. It is an honor to give my time to a charity and create something that would contribute to raising funds for a good cause, but I had already confirmed and held days for other projects. My schedule was locked-in. Yes- I had days free, but they weaved in and out of the other projects in no logical order. (Sometimes my schedule looks like throwing a bucket of paint at a calendar.) Another major problem was that the subjects Lauren had lasso’d to be part of the project were way more important and busier than I, and could not confirm dates very far in advance. Knowing this, we had to be loosey-goosey and come up with a plan in case I couldn’t make it to one of the shoots.
So, rather than turn down such a cool opportunity in its entirety, I came up with a solution and was very honest to Lauren about my previous commitments- I would design a look and lighting style for the campaign, so there is a sense of cohesion among the images and they look part of the same series, but I couldn’t promise to be there if schedules didn’t line up. If a subject scheduled within a day I wasn’t available, the look and feel would need to be able to be replicated by another photographer I trust. Since I moved into my first-ever-very-own-studio-space at the beginning of this year, luckily I was able to leave everything more or less set up during the duration of the shoot days.
All portraits lit with a broncolor Parabolic 177 with MobiLED head powered by Move 1200 L power pack
John Legend and Chrissy Teigen for FEED Projects. Model; Musician
Lauren looking over the shoot and my studio’s cluttered shelves full of do-dads
Karlie Kloss and Christina Tosi. Model and Co-Founder, Karlie’s Kookies; Chef / Founder, Momofuku Milk Bar
In order to make my schedule align with Jesica Alba’s, I took an overnight flight into NYC after wrapping another project, and went directly to the studio to shoot.
Jessica now only knows me as a tired looking disheveled mess.
Laura Brown and Garance Dore. Executive Editor, Harper’s Bazaar; Founder, garancedore.com
Miraculously, between being on other assignments in Morocco, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Germany, and then Alaska yet again, I only missed one photoshoot- Anne Hathaway and her husband Adam Shulman. I know it sucks because Anne Hathaway is an incredible actress, but I still consider missing just this shoot extremely lucky. Since we had planned this might happen, we already had a game plan: Lights were built, their positions were marked and taped to the floor, and the exact ratios of key and fill light scribbled on a piece of paper. After walking my good friend photographer Oscar Zabala and my assistant Caleb Adams through the setup, I hit the road knowing they would crush it while I was gone.
Photography is a lot more than just technical aspects, but Oscar is also no noob to the other important skills a photographer must have. Lighting aside, he contributed heavily to making the subjects comfortable, making sure the clothing worked with the look and feel, and of course influencing a relaxed pose. I was in Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle in the middle of a setup for National Geographic’s “Life Below Zero” when I heard my phone bleep… I took off my half frozen glove and took a peep at the screen- it was an iMessage from Oscar saying the shoot went well, with an attachment of one of the shots. I can’t say I really had a sigh of relief, because actually I trusted them to pull it off.
Oscar Zabala’s portrait of Anne Hathaway and Adam Shulman. Actor; Artist
So, what is the takeaway here? Photographers can be control freaks. Sometimes we have to let go and contribute to the greater project as a whole, similar to how a film crew works together. I can share Oscar’s image here on my blog as part of this post, but obviously it can’t live in portfolio simply because it’s not my work… but in the end we got the job done. I know that a photographer can never be replaced by a robot on set with an iPad for a face- The nature of the work is too personal and intimate. However, when you put trust in the right people, you can pull off things that would otherwise never come into fruition.
Joey L. is a commercial photographer, director and published author based in Brooklyn, New York. A sensitive observer of endangered cultures and traditions, Joey travels the globe creating dramatic portraits while giving the viewer a powerful insight into his subjects’ lives. His photo series range from Brooklyn, New York to Siberut, Indonesia; proof of an artist equally comfortable with the familiar and the exotic. His work is cinematic and contemporary – a fine art portrait approach to subjects once only seen in photojournalistic styles.
J.L. about the used broncolor products “Although they may look like tools meant to communicate with extraterrestrials, the broncolor parabolics actually make a beautiful quality of light. The Move 1200L was designed for travel and portable photography, but I also find a lot of use for it inside my studio. I was shooting with flash, but I like to leave on the LED modelling light on the MobiLED head as a constant light source, since this contributes as a focus light, but also to behind the scenes images and videos. The quality of light gave everyone in the room a sense of how the final image will look.”
Amy Christian from the OXFAM Organisation UK approached fashion photographer PEROU for a special project, featuring happy children enyoing clean water.
I met Perou last year for the first time to discuss the idea of him photographing the water and sanitation projects. In August last year all came together in Mukuru, Nairobi. I stood barefoot on a piece of plastic sheeting throwing water over laughing children as Perou took their photos in an improvised studio. Rope, tied to the roof of a school building held the blue back drop in place, the floor had been covered in plastic sheeting and studio lights flashed in unison with the water as it splashed over the children.
We spent the day at Oxfam’s bio-centre in Reuben, Mukuru celebrating clean water with the children. The bio-centre provides the local community with clean, affordable toilets and fresh drinking water. It also helps fund the school that sits behind it, where the children we were photographing spend their days. 14 year old Judy Mueni was fourth up to have her photo taken. I stood on the edge of the ‘studio’ next to two large buckets of water and a jug. She grinned as she stepped past me to take her position in front of Perou. He chatted to her for a bit, explaining what he needed her to do. She laughed at him and told him she was excited to be involved, that when she grows up she wants to be either an accountant or a model. She now knows that he is a famous fashion photographer after he gave a presentation earlier in the day. “I love fashion,” she proclaimed with a grin and a few seconds later Perou was counting down and water started flying through the air in giant waves. Judy jumped up and with a squeal she grinned at the camera and threw her arms high above her head.
Later on, after the shoot had finished and Judy was all dried off, she sat down to tell me about school, her life in Mukuru and how things have changed since the bio centre was built.
“Before we used to drink dirty water and get really sick. We had no other water to drink and it gave us diarrhea and hurt our stomachs. It was really bad for us. Drinking clean water is really important because our bodies are made of water and need it to work properly. If you drink dirty water your body can’t work properly and you get sick.
We are so happy to have the bio-centre and the clean water. Since we have had this we haven’t been sick at all and we feel much better. Clean water is important and it tastes really good. When you drink it you feel refreshed and you aren’t thirsty anymore.”
Judy is just one of hundreds of children and countless families who are benefitting from Oxfam’s bio centres in Mukuru. The whole community came along to see us , they came to see our crazy photo shoot and say hello. Including the community chief. Everyone I spoke to asked me to thank the people who have made it possible for them to have a bio-centre. Well that’s all of you. So on behalf of the people I spent the day with in Rueben, Mukuru: THANKS for the amazing bio-centres!
Lighted with Move power pack, MobiLED head and broncolor umbrellas
Initially, I got the request from CEO Jan Erik Rivelsrud to create artwork for every room of his two new hotels. This would be 5 images related to Eagles, and 5 images related to «the Sea». When I met with Jan Erik afterwards, I felt that there was a lot of creative space to create something extraordinary, so I went home and put together a file of 35 pages, writing down every aspect of Jan Erik’s ideas, and drawing how I thought how I could contribute to this. This included motives for the floor carpet, elevator shaft, every room, lobby, restaurant, conference rooms, high speed video installation, motives for all the bed sheets, etc. The day after, I got the message back; «We want EVERYTHING you described.» From that point on, I have been working for over a year to create imagery relevant to my client’s usage, and to specify where the images should be displayed in those two hotels.
I have always been very strict on what kind of clients I accept, regarding the imagery they request. This is the only reason why I am so lucky to get hired by clients who know my philosophy, and adapt their needs regarding to what my product is all about. This is why Rica Hotels just gave me two themes to work with, and trusted me to do whatever I thought might fit to the purpose of the usage for their two brand new hotels.
Often, I get comments from fellow photographers telling me that I am so lucky to be able to do whatever I like. But do not misunderstand; this is a RESULT of me being stubborn, and creating a very small but specific product that I can call my own. In the beginning, this will be hard to fight for, but in the end, you will be respected for staying true to your passion and your desire of creating the best possible artwork. If you are pressured to go outside your comfort Zone, you’re doing something wrong.
In the end, it is YOU as a creative artist that sets the boundaries, you should be able to tell your clients that their vision is out of your reach; don’t be afraid to tell them that another photographer is better, and cheaper, to achieve their average goal. This is what I do all the time, and I get nothing but positive reactions to this. But at the same time, I tell them that if they want something as good as what I deliver; they need to be patient, and maybe stretch their budget a little bit.
Off course, I feel privileged to be able to work like this, but it is just a result of working towards a goal you want to achieve as an artist, and it enables you to work with what you like, and DO the best.
I like to maintain a personal relationship to my clients. As they might know it is not about the profit, but all about the result. I am as interested in the result being as good as possible as they are. This may result in that it may take a little bit longer to achieve that result, but it is respected, because my client knows it is for the best of everyone; both me, them and their clients perception of the product. For me it’s all about people being mesmerized by the images that represent the hotel, and I love to take a walk through the hotels and see people everywhere discussing the images without being aware of my presence; it’s just positive feedback, and remind me of the fact that I’m doing a good job.
As you might know, my work is all about reality, I do not use photoshop to create my imagery. Instead of using post production, I tend to manipulate the situation into something I can control into the tiniest detail. I do not manipulate an eagle into some kind of scenery, but I manipulate the animal so does it does exactly what I want.
The only image you can say is manipulated in the series for Ornen is the one of the eagle that soars above the city of Bergen. The image of Bergen itself is carefully calculated as you can read on my website, but the image of the eagle is a separate image shot in Holland.
The fact that I do tell you whether an image is manipulated or not is something that should keep you assured that when I DO NOT tell you about any manipulation; IT IS SIMPLY NOT MANIPULATED.
As of today, I still have a very close relationship to the hotel crew, and I’m still working on some projects to give their hotel the best possible radiance. My main goal, regardless of the goal of my client, is always to add a certain value to the product of my client by adding my specific product.
In other words; I don’t get a good feeling of receiving a huge payment to my bank account. I get the best feeling in the world by receiving promising and respectful words from my clients and their customers because of the product I enabled them to observe in a hotel that is already beautiful in itself.
A creative collaboration is never about getting what YOU want. It is all about creating something together with several creative souls to serve a purpose that is within your clients vision. But you as a photographer should never lose your passion out of sight. Because when you do, it turns into something that your client won’t appreciate as much as you’d like them to either.
The gear I use, even if it is some of the most expensive gear in the world, is not relevant to me other than being there exactly at the moment I need it to be there.
I always say that you can buy as expensive or cheap gear as you want, it will always be the creative soul behind it that will make the difference. As an example: If I’d buy a Stradivarius violin, I’d still just be playing bad music. It’s just that when you own the best equipment in the world, you don’t have any excuse anymore to why the results turn out just «good enough», but instead I feel that I only have myself to blame when an image turns out just «good enough».
Off course, because of my «High-Speed» signature, I am relying on strobes that are able to freeze the moment, and broncolor is the only brand that can deliver the quality that I desire. A t0.1 flash duration of under 1/7500 of a second is the least I can accept to create imagery of moments that go by way too fast for the human eye to register, and as we all know, the investment of a set of broncolor is just a testimonial of their passion towards enabling artists like me and you to pursue our «personal legends». It is simply a necessary evil to achieve the goals you have always dreamt of.
The most important thing of all: never loose your passion out of sight. It is that passion that should drive you towards images that will amaze the world.
About Thomas Morel Born in 1988 – Born and raised in Den Bosch, Holland – Moved to Norway in 2004 – Lives in Feios, Norway – Office and studio in Bergen, Norway – Professional photographer since 2009 – Clients all over the world – In a relationship with Frida Berdal
Life is motion. We breathe, we grow, we run, and we explode with energy and emotion. Thomas Morel images capture the kinetic and frenetic energy that define life.
While still young, Thomas’s images reflect a level of technical mastery and vision that usually comes with years of experience.
Thomas Morel is a Dutchmen who now lives in the beautiful fjord-landscapes of Norway. When he moved to Norway in 2004, it were exactly those fjords which inspired him to start taking pictures. As a former gymnast, his eye fell quickly on freezing the moment that goes by too rapidly for the human eye to see.
As an 18 year old boy, Thomas started his company, and invested everything he could in a Hasselblad camera and a Broncolor strobe system. From this point on, all the technical equipment was in place, and Thomas could start exploring the world of frozen time.
A little daydream which we brought in “Leaves of Absence” to life as a short film and 5-8 additional Editorial pictures. I had this great Haussman-Style apartment in Paris. Together with my art director Nonda Coutsicos, we developed some ideas and formed a playful and dreamy Story. When a saw IMG Model Robin Holzken for the first time, I was sure, she would be a Victoria’s Secret model soon.
LIGHT The challenge of the production was the tight schedule, as we needed to make the film and 5-8 beautiful stills at the same time. Therefore the best solution to save time was to shoot exclusively with HMI’s. They dont kill the available light from outside but they are still strong enough for your Needs and the big advantage, you don’t need to make two set-ups with flashes and HMI’s.
The 800 HMI’s from broncolor were perfect cause we were able to use the same light shapers as for the flashlights. The Para 88, the Para 133 and the Beauty Dish were our main lights for all the shots. Even when we had no more sun in the evening we put a big Para 133 through the windows to beat the Fading daylight. The easy and quick mounting system of those lights were very helpful for this run and gun of filming and photoshooting. Due to the great team around me, everything worked out perfectly. The big challenge was the part with the birds. We spent so much time in catching them and bring them safe back to the bird cage.
A big thank-you to: DOP: Guillaume Adrey @ KINOU Paris / Model: Robin Holzken @ IMG Paris / AC: Bernard Jaillet / Art Direction: Nonda Coutsicos / Styling: Melanie Perego & Marie Revelut / Set Design: Sylvain Cabouat @ FILOMENO Paris / Make Up: Monica Bibou @ B4-Agency Paris / Hair: Christos Vourlis / Colorist: Emiliano Serantoni
IMG Models is the international leader in model management and talent discovery, widely recognized for its diverse client roster. The agency’s offices are located in five world capitals: New York, Paris, London, Milan, and Sydney.
Paris based director Damien Krisl discovered his love for motion pictures as he realized that producing moving imagery gave him the opportunity to breathe life into his dreams. His skills in making fashion and advertising films are the result of his passion for filming, editing and composing. His art enables him to create beautiful new worlds and dimensions that originally only exist in his mind. Damien has a unique way of bringing fashion and film together.
Toby Burrows is a commercial and fine art photographer based in Sydney. Like his personality, his commercial work embodies a palpable energy and vitality. This edge and vibrancy translates well into his commercial works. His personal work shares the same instinctive control of light and movement yet carries an often surreal and serene aesthetic.
He creates both commercial and art photography equally, and he embraces the challenges that commercial work present himself. He finds the discipline that exists in the realm of advertising photography is a skill useful to the production of fine art photography. The perimeters of a commercial brief still allow for collaborative creativity – it’s just when shooting exhibition projects he has complete creative freedom.
Following several successful years managing London’s largest photographic complex Holborn Studios (where he worked along side David Bailey), Toby returned to Sydney to establish an enviable commercial client list: Telstra, Vivid, Woolworths and ANZ Bank are just some of his clients. His work has also seen him collect many accolades: receiving the World Press Award and New York Festival Gold, whilst being a finalist in numerous Cannes Lion Awards and One Show Awards.
His ‘Fallen’ series received international attention from NY Arts Magazine and Dazed and Confused, and was published on both Kayne West’s and Justin Timberlake’s blogs – both impressive leaders in today’s pop culture.
Toby’s sequel series entitled ‘Soliloquy’ is equally as ethereal and beautiful as ‘Fallen’. Comprising of a series of Ophelia women immersed in misty waters, the images are inspired by Pre-raphelite paintings. ‘Soliloquy’ is a contemporary series, interpreting a classical theme. The work references the theatrical drama of Shakespeare’s Ophelia and the soft lines of Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Toby added a natural pigment to the water to give the images a diffused, surreal quality. This diffusion also gave the images clarity as the figures come to the waters surface.
Despite the surreal elements, for both the ‘Fallen’ and ‘Soliloquy’ series, it was a conscious decision by Toby to shoot ‘in camera’ and avoid extensive post-production.
“This was a definite challenge. We shot in 3500 litre tanks of water, but needed the water to be heated for the talent. So we ended up using elements that are used for heating enormous vats of soup! The girls also all needed nose and earplugs that would allow them to lie on the bottom of the tanks.”
Toby often uses the feature on the broncolor Scoro allowiing him to dial down the power to 0.1. If he is mixing daylight or shooting with the aperture wide open it allows for a very natural feel when balancing light.
“For ‘Soliloquy’, we required a substantial output of power from the unit whilst retaining a good flash duration to freeze motion. The Scoro performed very well. I lit the set with 3 x beauty dishes placed close to the water at a 45 degree angle to minimize reflection on the waters surface. 2 x beauty dishes were ‘key’ lights and one was diffused as a ‘fill’ light.”
Toby said he enjoys constantly challenging himself to produce original, innovative images. He wants to keep building on past experiences and most importantly, enjoy the journey.
“I am very thankful to have chosen Photography as my passion. It’s never far from my thoughts. This career allows me to be creative whilst working each day with interesting and talented people that are constantly inspiring me to produce better work.”