This is a behind the scenes of my first entry into my portrait project that I proposed a few weeks ago. For those who aren’t familiar with it, I basically want to shoot interesting, raw images of my friends and family, and of your friends and family. No modelling experience, no makeup (unless you are a girl or the shot calls for it) and no bullsh!t. These are a few of the outtakes from the shoot last Friday night.
Jarrod messaged me on Facebook expressing his interest in being involved, and immediately, I pictured these shots in my head. I then spent a few weeks scouting locations, emailing back and forth and gearing Jarrod up for the shoot – though the latter part of that process was actually really easy. I’ve known Jarrod for a few years. He went to the same high school as me, but was a few years older, so I didn’t really know him that well. We used to cross paths while out and about, and shared the same circle of friends. I hadn’t kept in touch with Jarrod while I was overseas, but I would see what he’s up to on Facebook all the time – well, when I was getting my stalk on. So it came as a nice surprise to me when I got a message from Jarrod, partly because we hadn’t been in touch recently, but mostly because it meant that he reads my blog. He is definitely in my target demographic too. He is a young, social, trendy, expressive and quite a creative person. He is uniquely styled and very likable. I knew I could shoot Jarrod, and get amazing results.
As part of the Behind the Scenes, I’d like to discuss the planning of the shots, and my thought process throughout the shoot. I scouted the location for the shot that I had described to Jarrod twice – once at night around the intended time of shoot, and once during the day. I took photos both times, and emailed the Brisbane City Council for a permit. I wouldn’t normally bother, but I know that security guards and police get a little edgy when crowds gather – especially in the Valley, and the last thing I wanted was to be moved along just as I’m about to get the shot I had in mind. It was actually really easy to get approval, and it cost me $0.00. That’s my kind of price! I emailed Jarrod a few photoshopped Google-Maps images with where both he and I would be during the shots, to give him an idea of what I was after, and what he’d be up against. It didn’t take much directing or effort for Jarrod to fall into the shot. He has a real edgy, urban look – the shot was really built around him.
Believe it or not, but Jarrod is actually working his way up the banking world. He told us a funny story of when he turned up to a work function with his hair done ready to go out, and a short-sleeved shirt on – everybody at work had to double take and lost their marbles when they put two and two together.
While shooting Jarrod, I asked him why he wanted to be involved, and why he shot me that message a few weeks ago. Jarrod was honest. He said he loves creativity. He loves finding music, images and illustrations that are engaging, authentic and fresh and if he can get involved, why not? He jumped at the chance to get a few cool photos too – who wouldn’t!? You’ll notice the sleeve of illustrations on Jarrod’s left arm – it was custom sourced and illustrated to be one continuous piece, and it looks awesome. My favourite tat is definitely the Fear and Loathing tat on his right forearm though – wicked.
The theme of the shoot spawned from a few images I had in my head – memories of partying with Jarrod and our mates. The idea behind the shoot was to show how grungy and chaotic the Valley is, and how this environment can be an unlikely refuge or home. A lot of people you see out and about work jobs like Jarrod, where you are forced to hide part of who you are from 9-to-5. It feels good to get out amongst like-minded people and let your hair out, quite literally. I wanted to portray the comfort that people like Jarrod have in the party scene, how at-ease they are in an environment that others’ might see as anarchy. The funny side of the images, for those who know him, is that he isn’t in the party scene anywhere near as much as he used to be. None of us are, really. I built the shot on memories, and while we are no longer prominent, there will always be younger revelers taking our places.
Thanks Jarrod for being so easy to work with and so enthusiastic. I had a great time shooting, and your images are on their way. For those who want technical details, the shots were all done with the Westcott Apollo 28″ softbox with an Alien Bee 1600 inside. If I needed to light up a background, it was done with a SB600 and grid. I had a SB900 on my camera to help focus in the completely dark ally. The exposure for the trails and zoom photo was approx 3 seconds – I wanted a touch of blur on Jarrod, but nothing blurry where flash hit him. Feel free to ask any questions below, and I hope you all like them. More to come…