One of the best parts of photography, speaking from my own experience, is all the amazing creative people I have had the opportunity to collaborate with and all the great places I’ve been able to experience. In this video, Mike Gray really pushes the envelope by creating fashion images under harsh sunlight on a helipad.
This shoot is very much the stuff of fantasy. A great model, great location, and in this instance, a bag full of some great film! Gray expertly combines the visual elements present to create images that are at once nostalgic, yet modern. The symbolism harkens to a Kennedy-esque figure; of course, in this case, I mean Jackie. What is special here, is the limited signifiers used to do just that: the scarf, the sunglasses, the newspaper, and the allusion of a helicopter.
Even the simplest shoots take a team. Photography, especially fashion photography, is a collaborative practice. Hannah Glasby brings total charm and class to her role; however, it is the interaction between her and photographer Mike Gray, as well as the make-up and styling, that bring the shoot to life.
What makes photography different from most art forms is the need to create from a place of reality. Unlike with painting or writing, you can’t just photograph whatever you want or whatever you are feeling. Instead, real-world objects are co-opted to stand for and mean something which they may not have meant outside of the context of that image. This is a great story-telling skill to hone to improve the visual narratives which may exist in your own photography.
This video is an important lesson in creating stories. Because of photography’s limitation of existing within the real world; it’s important to study the visual markers of other art forms: in this case, journalism, and history. But it can be anything, including art and language and poetry. Ideas and inspiration exist all around us; for photographers, it’s really about taking the smallest spark and making it into something other than what is merely there.