This piece called Descent was just completed March 2016. I’m happy that it has been very well received and many have asked me to give insight into how the image was created. I’ll get to that later, but first, there’s a more important story to tell.
Our journey began over a year ago when our beautiful pole acrobat, Umka, expressed interest in capturing some images of her work. I knew it would be easy to capture nice clean images, but I envisioned something more dynamic, more impactful. Below is the first attempt:
Not bad. Good first attempt. Had some impact potential, but a little chaotic. Also, parts of the model were transparent (you can see through her). In general, the image lacked refinement. We can do better.
A few months later, the team went back to the drawing board and gave it a second try:
Eeeehh. Despite having an exhausting 3-hour session, we all felt that we still didn’t quite achieve photographic bliss. There were still some technical issues with transparency, but most importantly, the excitement was gone. The image was static, showed limited movement, lacked interest (outside of the beautiful woman), and was just kinda boring. We can do better.
Third time’s a charm!! We took a critical look at what was good and bad about our previous attempts. We changed the photographic technique from a pure stroboscopic setup to a mixed lighting setup (combination of flash and steady-on lights). Wardrobe was changed, splashes of color added, smoke was conjured (how else can you describe the making of smoke), and Umka fine-tuned her pole movements. Voila! It all came together…finally.
The important take away is to start a project with a clear vision of what you’re trying to achieve. Next, be committed to that vision. This is most important if you are leading a group, because being able to paint a clear picture for the team keeps everyone focused and marching towards a common goal. Yes, there will be disagreements, debates, obstacles, and alterations but the end result will be so satisfying for all.
Many thanks to our model Umka and assistant Jazz for their hard work and dedication.
Here’s a behind the scenes video of the final photo session.