I tend to travel quite a bit on business, which often means spending nights on end sitting in a hotel on my own. For sure, things like FaceTime have helped me feel a lot closer to home, but more often than not, I wish there was something I could do to occupy my time and what better way than by having a shoot?
Unfortunately to date, I’ve never been able to arrange one. The logistics have always been a problem, most notably, where to actually shoot? Hotel rooms as a place to stay can vary from awful through to amazing, but even an amazing room to stay in, might not be the best room to shoot in. And without knowing in advance what the room would be like, it was just too risky to try and arrange a shoot. Finally though, on a recent trip to New York City, I decided to take that risk and work with Anna Catherine a New York based art model.
Keeping It Simple
A lot of the shoots I have participated in over the last 18 months or so have been team efforts, with a lot of people involved. Normally there are two photographers and often a third “photographic assistant”. I typically shoot with a make-up artist and more often than not also work with another model on the same day (some times two other models). So there’s a lot of hustle and bustle with anything between 4 to 7 people on set at any one time. This shoot was a lot simpler with just Anna Catherine and myself. I also had the bare minimum of equipment with me (one D3 and a 24-70mm lens; OK I also had a Fuji Instimax 210 but more about that later). So it was just me, a model, a window as the light source and a camera.. it doesn’t get much simpler.
Making It Feel Congruous
When shooting in hotel rooms, no matter how you frame the shots, there always seems to be the tell tale signs showing that you’re in a hotel. The matching desk lamps with bed side wall switches; the fire escape notice and rate card on the door; you can just always tell. As there was no way of getting away from this, rather than hide the fact we were in a hotel room, we took images that were congruous to the setting – so obviously the bed played a large part in the set.
It’s shoots like this where it pays to work with experienced models, that are both comfortable and confident during shoots. My shooting position went from standing right over Anna Catherine on the bed, to kneeling across her – anything to frame the shot; and there was just an implicit trust that meant we could both just focus on the shot. And I felt it really worked.
A Different Style
The shots are a very different style to my recent work, necessitated more by the location (hotel room) than by creative design – but I really like them and I have a feeling this is a direction I may take for my shoots in the short to medium term. Perhaps also, the one on one aspect brought a different mood and feel to the shots? Who knows?
Anyway, a big shout out to Anna Catherine for taking the risk on me as well, and for hanging around afterwards for a few beers, keeping me company whilst I waited on my honey to come home from shopping