Saturday, January 7, 2012

Material Pleasures Photo Shoot #2

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In November Material Pleasures, a recycled designer clothing retailer, asked me to be photographer for their Vogue directory photo shoot. In December we had the second shoot, this time for Material Pleasures’ winter range. The team was again Chloe, makeup, Tahlia, styling, Kathleen, model, and myself as photographer.

This shoot was somewhat challenging. We were limited to the wardrobe we brought, as the location was quite a way from the shop, and had to ‘make it work’ Tim Gunn styles when we didn’t have the pieces that we desperately needed for some shots. Wanting to do the shoot at sun down, I asked everyone to turn up at 4pm. But it turns out I completely underestimated the length of Canberra summer days. The sun only started setting at about 7pm, so there were a sad lot of photos taken before then that were just completely washed out. Also, as this was my first time shooting outer, I found that no matter how many angles I tried, in an attempt to show off the clothes, the photos all turned out looking similar (sic. boring). This was probably because with outer, the model’s figure was almost always obscured. The result is that there were fewer photos from this shoot than the last. But luckily, of the photos that worked, Rebecca loved them.

My favourite is this shot of Kathleen against the sunlight in this amazing cape. The whole look reminds me of country clubs and pony rides.



These photos were taken at the National Library.

I’m kind of amazed at what models do. I pose for my own photos in a hundred ways and maybe one or two shots look half decent enough to post on my blog. But Kathleen seemed to know exactly what to do to make each photo look great, and also interesting. It feels great as a photographer when creating beautiful pictures seems so effortless, like you’re on a roll (contrasting with how rotten it feels when every photo is a flop). This again reminds me how important a good team is to the whole operation. While I just turn up and snap a few shots, the styling was a time investment, with Tahlia undoubtedly spending many hours starring down racks of clothing to pull together the perfect looks. I also don’t envy Chloe’s role, having to this time, create a look that was both dramatic and harmonious with the eclectic collection of pieces we worked with that day.

Some behind the scenes snaps:


Tahlia made us all some delicious chocolate…balls! She’s so talented.


I had a meeting with Rebecca yesterday, about the direction of this project. Rebecca explained to me the vision of her brand. Material Pleasures is not just another second hand clothing retailer. For one, she buys only fine designer clothes that are in as new condition. But importantly, Rebecca looks for unique and offbeat designs with a great deal of detail and texture that the bulk of her customers are looking for. Because of her discerning eye, she has held on to a loyal customer base in Canberra for many years. Now she is hoping to expand into a new demographic of younger women, and she was quick to recognize that social media is key to achieving this.

I was very sad to hear the Tahlia has resigned from Material Pleasures and will no longer be participating in the shoots. While Rebecca asked me whether I would like to take on the styling role, I had to be honest and tell her that it’s unlikely I would have the time. Hopefully she’ll find someone who can step into Tahlia’s platform espadrilles.

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