If you are going to have a dream, dream big! This has always been my approach - rightly or wrongly - and with this venture it was no different.
I had a dream - to build a community, to work alongside photographers, models, makeup artists, hairstylists and clothing suppliers on a big production, and this was a chance to do just that. Now believe me when I say that this was still a scaled-down version of my ideal which would have involved full designed sets, rotations of clothing and models, studio lighting on hand, smoke machines, milk shakes, the list goes on - but all that comes at a cost and this project was not about money. I almost made it happen without spending a penny too, with everyone giving up their time, products and skills for free*. That was no simple feat considering it was my first group photo venture - I have only been in Brighton for 3 months, know few people and am relatively unknown myself. Now don't get me wrong, I have organised many things before. In fact, that constituted most of my previous work in Spain but there the participants were captive and willing.
*The agreement is the models, stores, hairstylists and makeup artists have access to all the images shot by all the photographers to use as they wish for commercial promotions etc - fair trade ;)
We arrived bright and early to set up the dressing room and hair & makeup studio for the models. The models started to drift in, then the makeup artists and hair stylists, closely followed by the girls' clothing stylist (I had picked up the men's clothes the night before and brought them with me.) I was finally starting to see the pieces fit together and eagerly anticipated seeing it in full swing. I was mindful that the photographers were awaiting my arrival on the seafront so I headed off, leaving the girls in capable hands to get ready. I greeted the photographers and gave them the outline of the event - everyone was up for it and dying to see the models all made up, as was I. I had a good idea about how this project was to run and I'm pleased to say it went better than expected. We had a group of photographers, a team of hair stylists, a gaggle of models, a wardrobe of clothes, a riot of mods, lighting supplied by Mother Nature and a damn good time.
The models looked fantastic, not just because they were models but due to the hair, makeup and clothing which really made all the difference. As I dashed about ensuring everyone knew what they were doing and why, I realised I was missing my opportunity to shoot too. I had actually set up a whole storyboard for each genre but because I never really got into my groove, my attention being split in many different directions, I didn't manage to get many of my planned images, just grabbed shots here and there. It was a bit of a shame as I had had a whole Film Noir story planned.
Now I know some people may not believe it but I did relinquish some control - not much but a little. So I'm not a total control freak, right!? I would like to thank Emma, Linda and Ash for their assistance on the day and in advance. I would like to thank Stephen for checking I had all his questions answered before he had asked them.
The model releases, although a necessary evil, turned out not to be the nightmare I had imagined, as we could get them signed in the final minutes of shooting at each station. I have seen some amazing images and met some great folks from this venture, there just wasn't enough time to chill and chat with them all. Now that the images are being uploaded it's great to see the things I missed - different approaches to shots, different processing styles and the wealth of skills involved by each person.
One shot I was longing to get was a Quadrophenia style scooter drive-by. Unfortunately 3 scooters do not a rally make! Even though there was a large number of scooters there, they just didn't leave or arrive en masse.
So the big question is, would I do it again? Of course I would! I learnt a lot and understand the flow better now, though maybe, just maybe, I will make it smaller next time ;)
Amidst all the fun and enjoyment of the day there was also some fundraising going on for the Teenage Cancer Trust. If you missed this then please drop by the website and show your support.
Special thanks go out to the vendors:
Katherine @ STARFISH VINTAGE CLOTHING
Ryan @ DIRTY HARRY
Neil @ MODERN WORLD GALLERY
Simon @ IMMEDIATE
Ben @ TO BE WORN AGAIN
Audrey @ KATE & AUD
Hair @ THE BLUE ROOM, SEAFORD
Make up @ ELLOISE INDIA WILLETT, NATALIE LUPTON, SOPHIA FUCHS
Supporting thanks also go to:
Emma @ WRITE ME A MURDER
Linda @ LINDA JOHNSTONE PHOTOGRAPHY
Ash @ BRITISH ARMY
Huge shout out to the MODELS:
Ruth Charnock / Seda Ilter / Christine Lechner Dostal / Clair Morrow / Jemma Measor / Danielle Watton / Charlye Cooper / Bethan Moyse / Sarah Nix / Ben Elliott / Cristiano Langella / Andrew Maclean / Chris Terrell / Ryan Wreyford
And of course, to all the talented photographers who were involved. We did indeed rock Brighton! To see for yourself click the video below.