Not the most imaginative title, I know. Anyway…
A while ago my friend Hanna posted some images of Debbie Harry taken by Andy Warhol on Facebook. I hadn’t seen them before but instantly really loved them as a set of cool, simple portraits of a very iconic woman. There was also something about Debbie’s look in those photos which really reminded me of Hanna herself. That was my lightbulb moment! I suggested the idea of “recreating” the images with Hanna taking Debbie’s place. Unsurprisingly, Hanna was pretty keen on the idea and with that a new personal shoot was born!
The key to getting these shots right was the hair (a wig in this case) and the make up. These areas are not my forte, but fortunately I know someone very talented in that department: the amazing Emma Watts. I contacted Emma and she was really excited by the idea as well.
Emma set about sourcing a wig and all the necessary bits and pieces while I sorted out the location (thanks to The Castle for helping me out there!). Pretty soon everything was in place and we were good to go.
To give a realistic, 70’s/80’s feel I wanted to shoot these portraits on film using my Canon AE-1. I wasn’t able to get any film from the 80’s but the Fuji Superia 400 that I did use still gave me a nice, vintage feel to the images. I lit the shots using two Aputure Amaran AL-528W LED panels: The key light was on a boom above the camera pointing down (I’m not massively keen on the harsh on-camera-flash style shadows on Warhol’s originals and wanted something softer) and the other was pointed at the back wall…
As well as shooting a couple of rolls of film, I also shot a few frames with my Canon 5D-MkIII. I had the opportunity to, thanks to my good friend Ashley, use an Impossible Project Instant Lab and print some of these images to SX-70 Polaroid film essentially using my iPhone as an enlarger. Below is a selection of my favourites:
With the Debbie Harry shots, the plan was to create something with a very retro feel but while we were all together, Emma and I wanted to try something more towards the other end of the spectrum. We have a beautiful print by Marion Bolognesi hanging in our kitchen and it was this that inspired me for the next shoot. Basically, we wanted to turn Hannah into a human paint canvas! The idea was to go for a more high end, fashion shoot look with the colours on Hanna’s face being vivid and saturated while everything else around was very muted. Emma went to work again turning Hanna’s face into an explosion of colour (while I filmed it all – more about that in a minute) and this is what we produced:
I’m really happy with how both set ups came out and it was great to work with both Hanna and Emma again. Cheers guys; you’re the best!
Because I’m not one for sitting around and like nothing more than making life “more challenging” for myself shall we say, I decided to shoot my own behind the scenes video here (mainly of the make up processes for the two set ups) – so if you want to see more of how it went down, check out the video below: