Fred Raillard and Farid Mokart, a.k.a Fred & Farid left Goodby Silverstein and Partners last week after having created the Pony Feet and Pony Family and the current Pony "Knock out" campaign... But what you haven't seen yet are the images that even Pony didn't dare to run. Simon Wakelin was briefed and shot some crazy warped images for Fred & Farid that we are pleased to show you here today. Read more to see Simons images.
db: How did Fred and Farid brief you on this shoot?
Simon: They showed me some rough sketches over dinner as they liked my photography. I chose what I wanted to shoot ideas-wise. Then I got to work. This was a spec job so I funded the whole shoot, casting, finding make up artist, studio space, permits etc…I produced this job with the help of a friend producer Amber Ventris. We basically kept Fred & Farid updated and let them know the shoot days. They flew down to LA for the studio shoot. They were really excited by what we put together.
db: When we chatted earlier you said that there was No photoshopping involved. Who was the talented makeup artist?
Simon: Make up artist was Claudia Humburg. Yes, all in camera. She definitely worked her magic and I’ll be using her again if more projects come my way. She worked on one day for football head, basketball head and referee. Day two we had Victoria Triggs Jackson who had less dramatic work to do on KKK and naked athlete (the pitbull didn’t need anything)
db: What kind of film and light did you use?
Simon: Used Professional Fuji NPC, a 160 asa film rated at 100 (to collect more information on the neg). I find the flesh tones on this film to be outstanding so definitely had this in mind in pre pro. All was shot medium format on Contax equipment.
Fuji NPC is a high contrast film that was used in conjunction with chiarascuro-type lighting in the studio so it gave me dynamic skin tones in high key lighting. Strong contrasts of light and shadow was used to enhance the dramatic effects of the make up.
I wanted to create “Baroque” images in the studio to further heighten the extreme nature of the subject matter dreamed up by Fred & Farid and to also further isolate the strange ‘look’ created in make up. Realism was very, very important otherwise it would have lost its impact. Think Goya, Caravaggio, Jacques Louis david as lighting inspirations – I was attempting to shape infinite space in darkness and capture an intense ‘spirituality’- paramount to make the images believable. Hopefully I managed this. I want the audience to see these are individuals with their own personalities! But there is humor present. I think so.
This was a two day studio shoot, with the third day devoted to the burning man image. Funnily enough, this was in Beverley Hills, a 90210 location (loved that!) you can see the local Mercedes dealership in the background infact. First I purchased a mannequin and shaped it into sitting position, then clothed it.
Basically I had to pull a permit & have half a dozen firemen on hand as I shot film. I shot both Fuji Provia and Sensia (100 asa and 50 asa respectively) in medium format and 35mm, both cameras slung around my neck, firing off around 7 or 8 rolls of film as the mannequin burned. Time was of the essence! I could only afford one mannequin to burn.
Sensia film looked really good! Mannequin burned well, It felt very photojournalistic; a flashback to Vietnam buddhist monks performing self immolation. Shoes were burned beyond recognition 5 minutes after the photo you see. A lot of heat. A lot of smoke. A lot of fun.
I was inspired by Fred & Farid, their ideas, their belief in me, their support. I threw my heart and soul in to this job and only hope they one day can be published or be seen for me to get further work that challenges my mind and photographic eye. Thank you for letting people see my work.
db: No, Thank You for sharing! :)
Simon: (about this shot) Funny, during the shoot it was so creepy people had to leave the studio..now that's advertising!
Db: Over at Goodby everyone looked at the images and chose a few to show the client, the Football head here below was one of their favorites, Rich Silverstein really pushed for it. But alas, Pony wanted something different, so it was back to the drawing board for Fred & Farid, and the images here went straight into Simons portfolio. If you need a photographer who can master baroque light, burning mannequins and gory makeup and make it all look real in camera, you know who to call now, don't you?