by John Denton Published 01/02/2016
You just knew this year's Convention was going to be special. There was a buzz aroundthe industry, after all the talk of austerity and restricted budgets I think we were all readyto let our hair down and have a good week.Perhaps the restricted flow of customers hasalso unleashed time for creativity as the recordnumber of prints and panels would indicate.Either way it felt like my day had truly come asI stepped onto the train in Hull.
It felt more so when an hour later we were drinking free bubbly as model,Alice, had been selected as the 12,000,000th customer on Hull Trains (ohsurprise surprise they picked Alice ahead of JD!! Ed.) A great start to theday and even better when they wheeled out the PR Team and I was able tohave a natter with Neil Holmes about the nudes workshop he'd attendedthe previous year, small world this photography lark.
Walking into the Hilton always reminds me of coming home for Christmas.The family are all around you from the crazy young cousins you see once ayear to the oldies grumbling on the sofa and everyone in between. In thiscase we were greeted by Lee Broders bearing gifts, a pint for me and PinaColada for Alice, it set a tone for the week. A great trip out to Mughals CurryHouse with a group of friends and we were all set for our first challenge,Location Day.
Terrie Jones is the one who finds the locations for us to shoot in. She's foundme some fantastic places to date but this was the best ever. A lightship,converted to a photographic and living space, and moored on the edge ofthe Thames, opposite the O2 Arena. I always love the drive to the locations,seeing the so familiar landmarks pass by is always a thrill to a yokel fromthe North like me.
Arriving at the dock it was good to see familiar faces. Regular readers will recall the article by Abby Legge about her experiences in Portugal with us. Was good to see her booked in for this session too. The temperaturesbetween the two locations couldn't have been much different. Portugal was30 degrees plus, on this day the Thames itself, as well as the quay leadingto the boat were frozen. Fortunately all the delegates and Alice managedto navigate the treacherous sheet ice safely. Unfortunately I managed togo completely base over apex and banged down hard on the ice. Do youknow that moment you sit there wondering whether to laugh or cry? I do.Fortunately my choice was made by Alice who laughed like a drain andpulled me through the moment.
A quick explore of the boat to identify locations and we were ready to roll.We started simply, natural light on the dockside. Headshots are a greatway to get the client used to you and in this case the delegates used tothe model and myself. Unfortunately I'd sat Alice on a metal mooring post,forgetting how cold the metal was. She worked it like a trooper but onlyconfided when finished that her backside was almost frozen solid!
We let Alice warm up by stripping down to a lingerie set, but at least puttinga long coat and hat on her. The inspiration for this set came from EltonJohn's 80s hit 'Nikita' about a Russian border guard. I wanted to combinea beauty and powerful look from Alice with the semi-derelict buildingbehind. We used natural light, and then introduced detail back to the skyusing a single Elinchrom ELC Quadra from camera left.
Inside for another change of outfit and this time it was Abby supplyingthe look, a wedding gown. The sharp angular red structure of the boatleant itself to a flowing image and so we added an Ikea net curtain to thelook to give plenty of width and length to the 'veil'. Again we shot it usingnatural and Elinchrom flash light. The separate looks are quite strikinglydifferent. Even the miss-fire which resulted in a silhouette makes for a coolimage, especially with the aircraft on final approach to City Airport. It mayseem good timing but given they were crabbing in a cross wind every fiveminutes it felt more like we were being heckled by them.
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