They say great minds think alike and this is very evident in the synthesis of photographer, Darren Gwynn and art director, Chloe Andrea. It was their organic sense of production that led broncolor South Africa to team up with the power-duo, to set SA fashion in motion.
A love of fashion and the extreme, impressive pace of the broncolor power packs seemed like the perfect match in realising their vision to capture fluidity in fashion. Using garments that show cased these elements of movement, they turned to top internationally acclaimed South African designers such as Gavin Rajah and Malcolm KLuk, and the results: an ephemeral flow of natural body movement combined with the textures of clothing in motion captured in sculptured forms, movement and pace captured perfectly within the stillness of an image. The broncolor Scoro power pack, with its very short flash durations, was perfect tool to attain such motion with mesmerizing and unforgettable effect.
Interview with ANDREA•GWYNN
DG – Darren Gwynn
CA – Chloe Andrea
CONCEPT DG. The concept came to Chloe and I when we thought about the broncolor Scoro S. I explained to Chloe what this pack can do and we both started discussing fashion and what we could do with the speed of the pack. As we both have a deep love for garments and the way they move we wanted to capture that in stills, broncolor was the only option when it came to lighting.
LOGISTICS The logistics are always a rather large part of putting something like this together. As ANDREA GWYNN we do almost everything from Photograph, art direct, style to direct however to produce a product like this we enlisted the help of a dear friend of ours named Maxime Thaysen. Maxime is a girl of many tenants and producing comes rather naturally to her. Once we had her on board she took care of most of the logistic which was a huge help to us.
EXECUTION CA. From the beginning of every shoot, Darren and I always have a serene understanding of what we want, we do our homework. DG. So for this shoot we really studied the broncolor brand. We were both excited to be using this product and were very comfortable in the execution of the shoot as we knew we could rely on broncolor to achieve what we wanted.
USE OF BRONCOLOR CA + DA. From our original concept, speed was the main contributing factor and so the broncolor Scoro S immediately jumped to mind. With its extremely fast flash duration and recycle speed, the Scoro S effortlessly threw flash after flash at our subject freezing each garment as it moved graciously in the air.
DA. For the fashion film we used a combination of lights from the modelling light on a broncolor Pro Head to the broncolor Mini 400 HMI with its elegantly new designed Light pipe.CA. Being able to adjust the temperature and brightness of both the modelling light and flash on the broncolor packs really gave us the opportunity to achieve the initial feel and idea we had. It was a beautiful thing to watch as our vision unfolded in front of us into a tangible object.
POST PRODUCTION DA. Chloe and I are both extreme perfectionists and so post-production is done at an almost molecular level. We both sit together from processing the files to final product.
CA. All stills retouching and post production are done in house. For our fashion film we used an extremely talented, young editor named Meredith Aylward who was fantastic. DA. The editing process on a film such as this can sometimes become a case of broken telephone where the editor doesn’t quite see what the directors do however working with Meredith was the complete opposite as she executed each of our requests with ease and perfection.
GENERAL INFO DA + CA. We started ANDREA•GWYNN from a pure hunger and desire to create beautiful and elegant imagery. We pride ourselves on our ability and versatility as a young Stylist, Photographer, Director and Art Director Duo and look forward to creating strong brand communication and advertising for the world’s largest brands.
broncolor lights used:
3 Scoro S3200 RFS power packs
1 HMI Lightpipe (light tube)
1 HMI 400
1 Para 88 reflector
1 Para 133 reflector
o How did you become a photographer?
I first picked up an SLR camera when I was 17 and it was for a high school project. I loaded the film incorrectly and nothing came out of my first shoot but it didn’t matter, it was love at first sight. As soon as I graduated I moved from my native Stockholm, Sweden to Copenhagen, Denmark where I attended a one year photo school. I moved back to Stockholm a couple of years later I began assisting local photographers and worked in a darkroom as a printer for an architect photographer. In 2005 I made the big move across the world to Los Angeles. Here I started off going to school at the Santa Monica College. I then moved on to assisting for photographers like Miranda Penn Turin, Michael Haber, Craig Cameron Olsen and Cliff Watts while shooting my book with the local modeling agencies.
o Was there one or more life changing moments that helped you move to the next level and become the photographer that you are now? Perhaps a big break, a perfect mentor, a movie, a mystical moment?
Honestly, its all about working hard and marketing and believing in one self,nothing comes for free in this industry. For me there was never a big break, more small steps in the right direction towards my goals.
o How do you learn how to do what you do?
I have assisted for years and you often pick up new ideas from seeing what others are doing and getting inspired. I also stay tuned on the latest trends by reading fashion magazines and blogs. The internet is a goldmine of inspiration.
o Who are your photo heroes?
>I always love the work by Camilla Åkrans, she is truly an amazing photographer but I also get very inspired by Miranda, Cliff and some of the other photographers I worked with.
o What is the worst part about doing what you do?
Self marketing, it is so hard to sell yourself as a photographer and I really believe that most photographers do or would benefit from having an agent do that work for them. Oh and rejection. It is hard not to take it personally since my photography feels so personal to me.
o What is the best part?
Taking pictures, it’s such a joy in my life, I love photography and the freelance lifestyle. I am way to restless to work a 9-5. What it lacks in stability it makes up for being such a big part of your life.
o What have you been shooting lately?
Last weekend weekend I did two shoots… two very different shoots, one is a heavily lit and poppy swim suit shot and the other was a harder lit moodier shoot where I wheat pasted images of the model behind the model and then shot her again.
o How did you figure out how to compose and light your images?
By analyzing other images that have lighting that inspires me and then trying it out. Also, when shooting models they always spend tons of time in hair and make up, that is the perfect time to fine tune and test out ideas!
o What tools did you use to do these shoots?
For shoot number one, I used the broncolor Para 220 and a head with a reflector for a little extra pop and for the second shoot I used the broncolor silver beauty dish along with a fill light with a reflector, I really love the contrast this gave.
o Why did you choose these tools?
The Para has been something I have been wanting to shoot with for a while. Most of the time, since I live in LA, I shoot natural light. There are endless locations here and the quality of light here from the sun is just breathtaking. So working with the Para was a natural choice, I feel it has a sun type of feel to it and with the sun in mind it was really fun.
o What features of the equipment that you use make it easier to do your job?
The fact that I could set up the Para so easily, without assistance is just amazing. So much photo equipment demands so much man power and is unnecessarily unergonomical. To consider how big the Para is and how smart and easy you can take it up or down really speaks for how thought through the product is.
o Did you use competing products in the past? What made you change?
Yes, that is another thing that makes assisting essential to any up and coming photographer. You get to test out all kinds of brands and equipment on someone else’s dime! I really feel that it is a step up in overall quality than most competitors. For someone like me, who often works outdoors as well as in, the way broncolor has designed their products for ease of use in either, that is something that truly impresses me. I really enjoy shooting with broncolor, the quality of light is truly beautiful!
Today, we’re interviewing Fred Blake, Business Partner and Manager of Foto care Rentals. Fred, having been in the photo industry for many years, has a particularly broad knowledge base incorporating both the shooting, manufacturing and retail sides of the photo industry. Fred has been with Foto Care for fifteen years.
First off, why would a photographer consider renting equipment?
For the professional, if they’re in need of a product they may not currently own, or perhaps a piece may be too expensive for them to purchase at that time; this is where we can help out. Other times, we may have a photographer that’s called to do a very particular type of job where they may only need specific equipment once.
For passionate amateurs, renting allows them to take various gear out for test-drives to see what works for them. While at the same time, it gives them access to a broader range of gear when special occasions like vacations, weddings, births or graduations come up.
Most of the time it’s more economical, technology moves faster than the time it takes some equipment to pay for itself (especially digital and hybrid video cameras)
How do I choose a good Rental Facility?
Honestly, price shouldn’t be the primary consideration. Most rental houses are in the same ballpark. For us, we pride ourselves on working with our customers based on their budget restrictions or working within the specific budget for the project at hand.
Proximity and accessibility should be factored in as well. There may be times where on site training on a product may be the best way to learn. Most importantly, a facility’s breadth and depth of its equipment is the leading reason as to where one should rent. Can a facility support what it rents? Can a facility suggest the best tools for the job? At Foto Care, this is what we pride ourselves on.
Talk to us about your staff’s knowledge:
Our staff has been with us an average of eight years, with some having been here for decades. The fact that we’re all passionate techies makes this not seem like work. We go out of our way to test drive every piece of equipment. It’s amazing how eager everyone is to get to know the hardware as soon as it comes in. Plus, part of our job is to be able to troubleshoot with our customers over the phone so we all need to understand the ins and out of each piece of gear we rent.
All of us have our particular areas of expertise but everyone seems to have jumped on the video bandwagon in a big way. We are becoming video hybrid experts. Things have been moving so fast that keeping up is critical. Video is just exploding. We’re adding microphones, special lighting and lenses that we’ve never had before based on demand and interest.
Talk to us more about the depth of equipment you offer?
Having the newest/latest equipment available for our customers is critical. And not just one or two either. Our depth of equipment and inventory (usually having 10 or more of something) is key. For example: We have more then 90 broncolor powerpacks; more than anyone in the country.
Foto Care has built a reputation on Outstanding Customer Service. How does that apply to Rentals?
It’s always been important, I remember one time Avedon Studios called from India with a problem: They were shooting the Dalai Lhama in 8 x 10 format with very limited time restrictions so every piece of film needed to be usable. With exposures all over the map, they needed to process the film by inspection so we ended up finding them night vision equipment to help them process their film.
These days, some of our newer customers will call to discuss various lighting scenarios they are considering and ask for our recommendations. Helping problem solve with them is one of the highlights of our day. In fact, often we’ll set up lights here at our facility to show them a particular setup. Fortunately, our facility is quite large and allows us to show a variety of setups to our customers. The time investment for us is important because this is their job at stake, and we see ourselves as a trusted partner in their business. And this doesn’t just apply to the working professional. We want all of our customers to be comfortable with the gear they rent from us. That’s why they keep coming back.
What can a customer do to ensure they get the best results?
1. Call orders in advance:
Most errors are made when under pressure. If this is unavoidable, check your equipment before you leave. Ten minuets at the counter can save you two hours in set.
2. Ask questions:
We’re not just handing out a box with no support. We expect our customers to ask us questions. In fact, we encourage it. We’d rather help answer all your questions when you’re placing an order or when you pick it up as opposed to when you are out on location or back in your studio. And b all means, keep asking questions until you are comfortable and satisfied. In photography there is more than one way to achieve most goals.
What do you recommend for customers consistently ordering over the phone?
If you start an order over the phone, get the name of the rental technician. This way, if you call to follow up with questions, there is continuity by dealing with the same person. We also except orders via email. Really, its whatever works best for you as a customer.
When picking up an order, what should customers know and do?
Go through your equipment. Look at it. We try to pack orders as accurately as possible but there can be misunderstandings. Sometimes funny ones: Someone the other day asked for a “Gary Coleman” C-Stand. Huh? Hadn’t heard that one before. What they wanted was a short 20” C-stand versus a 40” stand. With all the slang in our industry, it’s easy to misunderstand what folks are sometimes looking for.
What are some of the things to keep an eye out for?
Clean, maintained equipment, especially clean sensors. It’s a matter of pride with us. You can tell a lot about a rental facility by how clean and well maintained their inventory is.
Anything else people need to know?
All rental houses in NYC require deposits, valid identification, and, in some cases, proof of insurance. It’s a very good idea for photographers to have insurance. This not only protects the photographer but the rental department can take a reduced security deposit for the value of the deductible.
Is there anything else you want customers to know?
Foto Care constantly offers seminars and lectures for continuing education of our customers so check our website and sign-up for the Foto Care Newsletter which comes out twice month. And get out and shoot.
The concept of the Omahyra Mota shoot is based on Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”. The story has been shoot in New York for the cover of the Norwegian magazine “Vixen” including 4 spreads. The editorial focuses on an article about Dominican Republic supermodel Omahyra Mota.
Mota has modeled for designers such as Alexander McQueen, Fendi, Heatherette and Jean Paul Gaultier. Also, she was flown in especially by Gwen Stefani for L.A.M.B.’s show during New York’s Fashion Week and had acting roles in X-Men and the Jay-Z video “Change Clothes” together with Naomi Campbell. She is known for modeling both men’s and women’s clothing. Mota was voted one of People magazine’s 50 most beautiful people in 2001. She walked the Victoria’s Secret runway in the same year and worked with photographers such as Ellen Von Unwerth and Terry Richardson.
The Metamorphosis is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It is often cited as one of the seminal works of short fiction of the 20th century. Elias Canetti described it as “one of the few great and perfect works of the poetic imagination written during this century”. The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed into a vermin.
Elias Wessel story opens with a picture of a crumbled foil he actually used to create distortions which appear in several pictures of the editorial. A visual translation for a facet eye vision of a vermin. Barely to notice but reflections of himself can be found in there. A hint that this could be the perspective of the metamorphosed Omahyra. What’s not to see is that there’s also a deep personal statement in this photograph dealing with the loss of his father-like friend. Nothing more is mentioned about this connotation so far but interesting about this could be the parallels to Kafka since it is very popular interpreting “The Metamorphosis” as an expression of Kafka’s father complex.
The actual cover shows Omahyra barely dressed in a shoulder cage designed by Heather Huey. It appears Omahyra is growing out of her own birdcage. The distortions of her legs create a feeling that something unnatural is happening. The effect was created by shooting partially into mirror foil. Beside visualizing some kind of metamorphosis with this, it also gives the 80’s look of the picture a future twist since the effect reminds of digital postproduction filters.
The photographs use distortions and vermin elements as main element. The insect tatoos on Omahyra’s arms, butterfly and hornet pike like headpieces, hoofed and snake leather Louboutin shoes and a top which decor reminds of fly eyes… and in between a pure reflection of Omahyra appearing as a free huge winged bird flying into the open sky.
Talent Omahyra Mota
Photographer Elias Wessel
Vixen Magazine Editors Marianne Jemtegard, Anetter L’Orange
Stylist Storm Pedersen
Hair Yoichi Tomizawa
Make Up for Illamasqua Cosmetics Viktorija Bowers
Photo Assistant Silas Brown
Styling Assistant Adrian Diaz
Hair Assistant Taigo
Making Of Christopher Riemann
Interviewer Kjiersti Flaa
Location Tribeca Skyline Studios
VISUAL ARTIST / PHOTOGRAPHER