Travelling to Shanghai again I’m first reminded how differently the light falls as soon as we step off the plane and onto the tarmac. There isn’t that New Zealand clarity to the air and the light seems as though it fights to push through a denser atmosphere, a diffuser. The sun goes quickly at the end of the day and is big and red behind the skyscrapers.
The collections, designed by emerging NZ designers show diversity and innovation, while the models and various locations form an incredible foundation for making interesting photographs. That said, eight fashion shoots, each shot at a different location to reflect their aesthetic is an ambitious undertaking. There is no chance for a rekkie, no preconceived idea of what a place might be like (except what pops up in a Google Image Search).
For the most part, the scale of each shoot feels larger and faster that something shot in New Zealand because of the crowds. Shooting in People’s Square and the Bund there are about 50 people surrounding us at a time pushing cameras in our faces. In Redtown Sculpture Park we discover that everything is allowed except a gold reflector. In Dong Jia Du we get eaten by bugs. I’m not a huge gear person and like to take the minimum- one camera, two lenses, minimal lighting with either a combination of natural light and reflectors or a battery pack with two portable lights.
Every now and then there’s that ‘oh my god’ moment where the light feels flat and the choice of setting is overwhelming, there’s an audience and an expectation and you’re asking yourself ‘how can I make this work?’ But over time I’ve come to embrace feeling out of my depth, because finding a solution and way to make photographs happen is creatively and technically challenging and really, I wouldn’t wish it any other way.
When the shoots wrap up, it’s time to select and edit a range of images at the IFA Paris school so that these can be shown during the show at Shanghai Fashion Week two days later.
Falling into bed each night with the curtains open to watch the glittering lights spread out like a blanket I think about how much I love cities and people and how exciting it is to make photos in these places.
Below are some selected images from the photo shoots with designers (top to bottom): Georgia Ferguson, Jessica Gleeson, Alice McKay, Tobi Scott, Lauren Arthur, Hannah Heslop, Leish Simpson, Sonya Heney. Shoot Assistant: Anna van Gorp Models: IFA Paris/SUES. Locations: Redtown Sculpture Park, People’s Square (Nanjing Rd), Dong Jia Du, Wai Bai Du Bridge, The Land of Rivers and Lakes, The Bund, M50.
More images from last year’s adventure to Shanghai fashion Week here and on the website..