It’s always a true pleasure and great opportunity to work with fashion designer and stylist Gunnar Deatherage. I’ve had the chance to work with him on many occasions now and we seem to constantly up our game. Fortunately, with Gunnar and NFocus Magazine, I have a space of creative freedom that I’ve pushed to the limits. This particular shoot was no exception.
When I think of July, I think warm weather, fireworks and that summer nostalgia. I really wanted to push my camera and step outside the box. I had been doing a lot of commercial work and I wanted to flex my creative muscles. I approached Gunnar with an idea; using a combination of sparklers and steel wool, I wanted to create portraits that “shined” through the pages.
It’s called light painting. With digital camera trickery and a bright light source, you can create out of this world stunning imagery. Many photographers have mastered light painting, but none have mastered it with fashion and portraiture. It’s called “painting” because when you click that shutter open the rest is up to your creativity to “paint” whatever you want for the image to display, as long as your tool creates a strong light source. In this case we chose sparklers and steel wool.
I’m constantly finding ways to set myself up for failure and this shoot could have certainly gone down hill quick. Inspiring from photographers like Aaron Nace and Brett Jarnigan, I took what I what I had learned and dove in head first, trial by fire. It was certainly one of the most challenging photoshoots I’ve ever taken on. You just don’t get instant results as most shoots. Light painting takes practice and time, with this style of photography the “3rd time MIGHT be a charm”. It’s all a gamble.
Being my worst critic, I can’t say I’m 100% confident in the work, I feel like I could fill a page on the imperfections, but at the end of the day, its art. It’s the imperfections that make the images stand out. Despite my own fuss, I’m proud of the creativity we put forth, it’s not everyday you push yourself and the entire team out of a comfort zone.