Advanced Studio Practice 2A: Ideas for individual shots

See my research folder for the origins of the phrases and their meanings explained.

“As sly as a Fox”

Meaning to be cunning and get their way by using an underhand method, being sneaky.

My aim is to shoot this using face paints and clothing, location and lighting. I will use the face paint as the indicator in the photograph as to what animal I am shooting. I want to use bold colours as a symbol of the genre I am experimenting with e.g fashion/editorial. I want to style the hair in a way that gives the notion and indicator of ears (but in more of a stylised way). If the model is willing I would like to possible paint/spray the hair orange however I understand this may not wash out so is still just a thought. I will research fox face paint online and ways in which to paint the face. I think the expression on the face of  the model will be key for this shoot because ‘sly’ can be portrayed especially through dramatic lighting and the eyes being slightly squinted and over cast with the light creating harsh shadows. I am to achieve this lighting using some portable Elinchrom lighting I was so kindly given. I want pretty much bare bulb (probably using the regular head fitting to add a little focus to the light) to create this harsh shadow effect. I will position the light slightly above the model, shining down on her. Also the pose of the model will indicate the phrase I am wanting to express, for example turn slightly away and only showing one eye, or head tilted slightly down and looking up, over the shoulder etc. I am wanting to try a few head shots with dramatic flash light at first but then try some in my back garden as a location because from my knowledge and experience with foxes, they tend to move through the back gardens of houses and make their way through very swiftly. I have a bush in my back garden I think would be good for this shoot. I would like the model to be on all fours creeping out from the bush and slightly emerging from behind it. For clothing I want to not completely dress the model as a fox (because I want the main indicator to be the face) however I have some clothing that represents the colourings of a fox that I will use. I have a friend who has done modelling in the past and looks slightly like a fox (in the most respectable way possible) because of the shape of the face, eyes and nose etc, I think she would be a great candidate and I will contact her.

“Like a Deer caught in the Headlights”

Meaning to be in such a sudden state of surprise or fear to be completely unable to move, to freeze in shock.

I aim to literally photograph a person, dressed as a Deer, caught in some car headlights. I will be wanting to shoot just using the lighting from the car headlights to light the scene, and aim to shoot in a semi-rural area e.g a dirt track/road and the woods. I want to shoot at night to get the proper effect of the lighting and when Deer are crossing the roads (when they may have an instinct that it is safe because the night is quiet). I aim to position the camera on the car bonnet to get the image almost from the drivers perspective. I want the model to be positioned facing the side however turning their head towards the lights, and to look at the camera with a wide eyed and shocked/terrified expression. I aim to use a female model who has big eyes and long eye lashes to capture the expression and appearance of a Deer. I will use face paints to create the look of a Deer and some ears I will make, copying an image of a Deer and looking at tutorials online. I will make them using felt and maybe some card to make them sturdy so they don’t flop. I want to shoot a female Deer so I don’t want antlers on the model. Although some females do grow antlers if they have a hormone in-balance, but not a lot of them do. I have a few female models in mind for this shoot.

“Like an Elephant in the room”

Meaning an awkward and large topic that everyone in the room is aware of but no one is pointing out and everyone acts as if it’s not there, even though it is so obvious to each person individually (and that is why an Elephant – a huge and obvious animal) was used to create this phrase.

At first I envisioned a model (male or female) dressed completely as an Elephant sat on a chair in the middle of an empty room looking straight at the camera (and this would be more of a literal, humorous representation of the phrase). However as I think on it would make more sense and be clearer to people who are not aware of this phrase and it’s meaning, to photograph a group of people talking, each with slightly ‘put on’ or ‘awkward’ expressions on their faces, with a model dressed as an Elephant sat between them all, sort of ‘separating’ them, being right in the middle of the action. I imagine the Elephants expression to be either blank, confused, upset or even ashamed/bashful. I would like to try both of these different set ups (literal vs metaphorical) and see which one, I and people viewing the photograph, is the most relateable. I want the lighting (for the more literal interpretation) to be natural day light coming through any windows the are in the empty room, and I would like to arrange this shoot on a sunny day, possibly in the afternoon when the sun is starting to get lower, and a ray of light shining just on the elephant would draw the eye to ‘the Elephant in the room’ and this type of lighting could make help the viewer to identify with the meaning of the phrase. At first I imagined a person sat in a vast, large empty room, however when thinking about the meaning, maybe a large Elephant squashed into a tiny cramped room would make more sense. I will buy an all-in-one grey pyjama suit or clothes for the model to wear, and but a headband with Elephant ears on and a strap on trunk and tusks. I will paint the rest of the face grey to match the outfit and hopefully the hair could be sprayed/painted grey too… Or I could purchase a plain grey hat for the model to wear. For the other metaphorical option set up I would use an in-door ‘social gathering place’ and use maybe a portable studio flash to light up the scene. In this scene I would want to express the meaning behind the phrase, also, by the other models who are talking, to make physical contact with the Elephant. For example, one model could grip on to the shoulder of the Elephant, one could appear to be pulling away from the Elephant and one could just be staring at the Elephant, etc.

“You’ve got a bee in your bonnet”

Meaning to be obsessed with an idea, to have thoughts about something going around and around in your mind. It is interesting because the reason I am shooting this project is to explore what we actually say, why we say things, do we even know what we are saying? Where do these phrases in our language even come from? – with this phrase, before I researched it’s origin and meaning I thought it meant to be annoyed about something and take offence to something really easily – like a baby would (explaining the ‘bonnet’ part of the phrase). HOWEVER – I was then talking with my friend about the idea for this shoot and she explained how she thought it meant a bee getting stuck in a car bonnet and getting more and more agitated, hot and bothered about something because the person felt trapped. Then when I looked it up it actually was referring to a bonnet in Victorian times (which was the standard head wear and the name for a hat that was worn in those times) and it means to not be able to get an idea out of your head (bonnet) and it whirling round and round with no way out. So this project I feel is helping me explore our language and the meaning of the things we say.

For this shoot I aim to shoot a head shot of the model. I want to paint their face, neck and shoulders with a bees markings and for them to wear a huge Victorian bonnet (if I can find one!) or a hat that is similar to a bonnet, and for them to look thoughtful. I am not fully sure how I will portray them being ‘thoughtful’ – however I think the power of the faces expressions can be a great indicator. I will try a few expressions – e.g – looking up to one side with a confused/serious look on their face, looking at the camera but past it (to look at their own reflection in the lens will appear as though they are spaced out and in thought). I am pondering on whether I should have ‘the bees’ antenna’s poking out of the top of the bonnet/hat. I would have to cut into the bonnet if so, or possibly find a knitted bonnet that would already have spaces in which the ‘antenna’s’ could fit through. This would represent the thoughts being inside but also influenced from the outside of the mind or ‘bonnet’. It would also represent the ‘bee’ trying to sense what is right to do by ‘feeling for’ the solution outside of their mind. I have two ideas for back drop and location for opposite reasons. I would want to try a studio set up with dramatic lighting – to represent the inside of the thoughts and mind and a ‘natural’ back drop to put a bee in it’s context of being in nature. I hope to experiment with both.

“Like a Wolf in Sheep’s clothing”

Meaning someone who is being fake – appearing kind and innocent but only to get their way, with a malicious intent underneath the ‘kind’, ‘nice’ exterior.

I aim to shoot this simply as the phrase goes – a model, dressed as a Wolf, but emerging from a Sheep outfit (onesie). For the Wolf to appear as if it is ‘pealing’ the skin off and ripping open the façade he has put on. I have a wolf hat with ears that the model will wear and I will use face paint to make up the models face like a Wolf. I want the models expression to be rather aggressive and malicious/scary, to show what is actually underneath the façade – and make a large comparison between the sweetness/cuteness of the sheep costume, and the reality underneath. I imagined this to be shot in a studio, with one big spotlight shining on the Wolf and casting a long dark shadow behind him. Either that or I would imagine the shot in a feild with some sheep in the distance to give it more of a literal interpretation – using natural daylight but also maybe a speed lite flash set up, on the Wolf’s face to add drama. I will be adding to my ideas along the way… TBC

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