Yesterday I was at the office neglecting some of my daily duties when the wife popped in after taking our baby girl for her regular health check up. She smiled and asked tenderly,
"Do you want to do the shoot today?"
Being the happy grump that I am I replied...
"Argh," with a slight tone of honey I love you. "I thought we were putting it off for another day?"
At that point, I looked up and saw her looking oh-too-glamorous and being a sucker for a pretty face, I agreed to her request.
Let me back up for a moment. Earlier in the week I had reluctantly committed to shooting the art for the Dominion Derby Girls' next bout poster. My wife convinced me after several gentle talks that we could pull it off with her as the model, me as the shooter and our house as the backdrop--what could go wrong?
That said, my only true reservation was that I didn't think our kitchen was vintage enough to complement the idea "Speed Stick," an All Star jammer + designer for the DDG, had suggested. The last thing I wanted was to end up with a photo that looked like some photo-geek hack was trying to make something out of nothing and failed epically--that would be dreadful.
Anyway, once I got over myself, I moved forward and then forgot about it, until yesterday that is. I knew Speed Stick needed art and fast so Jasmine and I made it happen.
After a road trip to Rhode Island for a bout with Providence Roller Derby last weekend, Speed Stick and Jasmine had plenty of time to brainstorm the concept and plan. This actually lent itself to the success of the shoot. (I can't emphasize enough the importance of planning and defining a clear concept and how it benefits the outcome and efficiency of a shoot. Art Directors, photo editors, etc, take note.)
During their conversation Speed Stick expressed that she wanted to pursue a vintage theme, something Fifties-ish. From there, they found an old VW Beetle ad and were inspired by a line in the copy of the ad: "Women are soft and gentle, but they hit things." That line carried over into the final bout poster.
When Jasmine told me more about the general concept, I suggested we have her holding a big rolling pin. Thankfully, my mom has a collection of, well everything, so Jasmine ran over and picked through mama's goods. Low and behold, the perfect utensil for our shoot. A big ol' rollin pin with a red handle.
Now that we had most of what we needed, besides a budget to work with, I got my gear together. Jasmine staged our kitchen, threw on an old dress she's had since high school, cleaned the floors, put the dog out and set our kids up with things to keep them occupied for as long as possible. Thankfully, she's a vintage enthusiast so she scoured our house, picking up various pieces for background props.
For reference and inspiration we looked at advertisements in a LIFE magazine from 1953. We also liked an old tin RC ad, and I spent some time studying the poses, body language and lighting of a vintage catalog an old friend of mine had given me.
We shot for about 20 minutes and edited as we worked. Jasmine found a few frames that she felt fit her vision and that would coincide with Speed Stick's design and initial idea.
Before sending the final file Jasmine and I tweaked the image in Photoshop to give it a slightly painterly presence. We wanted the viewer to look at the photo closely and question whether or not it was a photograph or a painting, much like the hand painted black and white ads from the Fifties. The effect is fairly subtle.
Once everything was said and done we sent the art off to Speed Stick. I also shot a little sneak peak of the photo and posted it on Instgram and Facebook to see what kind of response I'd get. (I was still a little hesitant as to whether or not we pulled off the shoot.) The numbers were positive, phew!
This morning we received the design for the DDG's poster. I think it works! Thanks to my lovely wife Jasmine and DDG's Speed Stick for getting me involved in the project. All shot + designed in less than 24 hours.