Following my Picasso Baby moment earlier this week, a lot of you have been querying the reasons, the motivations, the complications and more than anything, the apparent idiocy of working alone – that is, shooting, styling and modeling in one hit comme ça. Indeed, most of my friends in the photography and styling trades declare me batsh*t crazy. You can’t possibly be doing your best work when you have that much on your mind, the say. Having a digital assistant will change your life, they say.
And that may be so. This time next year, it is entirely possible that I’ll be working with a few more hands on deck. Certainly, for this shoot, we were on a four hour time limit, I was a little too ambitious with the number of frames and looks I wanted to shoot, and having Sophie there was enormously helpful on a timing and logistics front. But, at the end of the day, your work is a reflection of your brand and your person. Your name is attached to something that is going out in a public domain, and you need to be proud of it. Working with people you respect and complement is essential, as is an overarching vision of exactly how you want your project to look. Leave some room to move, sure, but with those baselines in place, it’s hard to go wrong unless it was never going to work in the first place.
Or if it rains. Or something.
All of the above applied for this editorial story shot one steamy day in Auburn for ELLE magazine and Swarovski. Self-timer with yourself is one moderately awkward, but manageable, thing. Self-shooting with two other models was as much a first as this whole editorial experience. Thank god for Liv and Yifan‘s habit of nailing it. I honestly believe, though, that I would not have been as happy with the final product, had I not been overseeing the camera and styling work from start to finish. Not on a matter of skill – far from it. There are hundreds of more experienced, more exceptional photographers and stylists than I. Rather, it always surprises me how human interpretation can twist a vision in the eyes of another equally capable person, and how truly difficult it is to communicate what you’re visualising in a short space of time, without a creepy bonding process, most likely involving interpretive dance.
Or ‘referencing’ somebody else’s work. That’s a debate for another time.
Here, we have the heart of the matter. You can never be too good to steam clothes. You can never be too important to tape shoes. Don’t underestimate how much you can take on. Don’t put yourself in a position of complete reliance on others. Your results are only as solid as your process is streamlined. And the sweat and tears you put in (no blood please). Never forget that.
Jewellery by SWAROVSKI: MARGARET WEARS Stardust Bracelets and Double Bracelets, Birth Ear Cuff, Crystalline Watch, Baron Bracelet, Octea Classica Watch, Swarovski by Shorouk Watch, Pebble Ring. LIV WEARS New Octea Sport Watch, Stardust Bracelets and Double Bracelets, Bouquet Double Ring, Baron Pierced Earrings. YIFAN WEARS Brunette Cuff, Stardust Bracelets and Double Bracelets, Spiral Mini Ring, Voile Ring, Citra Sphere Chrono Watch.
5: LIV WEARS Camilla and Marc Blackbird Top, Dion Lee Draped Pleat Skirt. MARGARET WEARS Lanvin Gathered Sleeveless Blouse, Solace London Daruma Trousers. YIFAN WEARS Dion Lee Sleeve Release Shirt, Baja East Gathered Front Midi Skirt.