The "Phoenix Gauntlets" Project

“The Phoenix Gauntlets”

A collaboration with Lumecluster

I realised I never followed up on my earlier blog and shared the awesome results that came out of this dreamproject come true: I’m in still in awe I was able to work with Lumecluster, who I have been following for like a decennia by now and her amazing craftmanship. When she reached out to me for shooting these I was in 7th armor heaven and it took almost two years for it to come to actual realisation; but that’s just part of working with artists. One cannot rush perfection.

For this I need to give a huge thank you to my amazing team of models, designers and Eline who was the one-woman-army behind most of these amazing hair and make-up transformations. This was such an awesome project to work and to be able to do it with some of my favorite people in this world is one of those dreams come true.

When we where discussing concepts and ideas, I knew Lumecluster wanted more “traditional” shots, mergen reality with fantasy. Literally making armor wearable. But as usual, things escalated again and I ended up working on a wide range of other themes (mostly that knight-inspired-stuff because that’s what I do I guess …). I reached out to Church Of Sanctus to borrow from her “Celestial Objects” collection as well as Royal Black Couture her “Dark Knight” design to ask if I could borrow from these awesome ladies for the styling. The rest is from my studio’s wardrobe mostly.

There is a big chance I will be working on a second take on the concept, now I’m writing this blog a few months after completion and my personal style has evolved. So who knows what’s going to come soon …

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Credits & Full Project

Model - Luce Del Sole, Make-up & Hair - Eline Deblauwe , Corset - Royal Black Couture

Model - Chloë Lablanche, Make-up & Hair - Eline Deblauwe , Suit - Church Of Sanctus , Collar - Raspberry Mazohyst

Model - My Fragility, Make-up & Hair - Eline Deblauwe , Wings - Sirenpearls

Model - Lady Louiza, Make-up & Hair - Eline Deblauwe , Dress - Church Of Sanctus

Model - Ardine , Make-up & Hair - Eline Deblauwe , Dress - Church Of Sanctus

Model - Inez IV, Make-up & Hair - Eline Deblauwe , Dress - Church Of Sanctus
Second look: headpiece Ivy Designs, Kimono - Firebird Fusion

Model & Makeup -Shienra, Halo - Hysteria Machine , Dress & Armor - Mytholon


I also took the opportunity to try out some of these product themes images with my dear My Fragility (light set) and Luce Del Sole (dark set). I wanted to showcase the iridescence and simple gorgeous details and craftmanship of this epic set she made.

The Dirty Playground

The Dirty Playground

About trying to shoot in the rain and ending up playing in pools

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I’ve been wanting to shoot in the rain again for ages - but it’s just something I never got around too despite the belgian weather being ever changing and mostly pretty grey. So we had this great idea eventually to track the rain for two days, plan out everything to be out on set at 6am as it was raining like crazy the days before … Only to end up with some drops and nothing else. So far our idea. And not only that: we found the road being under construction so we couldn’t get to our location as well - which was this very industrial, abandoned looking place on the road.

Just when we wanted to turn around and find a different route, I saw this empty looking industrial terrain with this giant pool and bunches of trash and dirt. And somehow, it clicked in my brain. We decided to shoot right there and then in the water. We didn’t get the rain we hoped for but we sure had some water to play with. Improvise, adapt, overcome. That’s the fun part about being able to create without pressure or expectations from clients.

This entire set was pretty much for out of my comfort zone, both aesthetic and location - but also as I was very unfamiliar with the modifier I was using: the broncolor p45 with a grid (on a siros 800 l). But that was and still is my intention these days: stagnation is a creativity killer and won’t make you grow as artist. I realised that if I wanted to get better at my craft, I need to do everything that I usually don’t do. And I ended up having the time of my life honestly with it! I really love the results and it may not be something I do a lot as my heart lies with studio still - this shoot has inspired an upcoming GenNEXT blog I am DYING to share - all thanks because I tried out that p45 modifier.


Credits

Model - Chloë
Styling - Me & Chloë
Assistance - Sofie from Cosblossoms
Photography & retouch - Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan’s Art

Gear used

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50mm 1.4
broncolor Siros 800l
Modifier: P45 with a honeycomb grid

Retouching

Raw post-processing was done in Capture One Pro
Final color toning, clean-up and alterations where done in Photoshop

Royal Black Couture X Tinotenda

There are collabs. And there are these “universes aligned for the greater good” moments. This entire shoot was more of the second actually! After following / admiring the amazing Tinotenda for a long time, I finally had the opportunity to work with her a few weeks back, together with my favorite corset designer out there “Royal Black Couture”. Actually it’s thanks to this lovely and talented lady that this came to life so I got to give her a massive thank you for her endless support and bringing us together for this amazing project.

We (Royal Black & I) both felt very much drawn to expanding our portfolios for a long time now and how we represent our work with more representation and diversity within our models (or the lack off) - something we talked about that in the summer of 2018. And while we haven’t done everything we had in mind just yet, I must say this was some serious way to start with our plans and I hope this is only just the beginning. I’m incredibly grateful to be able to work towards this with such talented people who have the same feelings and I am so stoked to share the full set with you all right now! Because it’s a lot. Mostly because I had about 0% work on each shot because of Tino is an amazing model, the lights just “clicked” that day immediately and there is the craftmanship that Royal Black delivers so … my job was pretty damn easy that day.

We shot two beautiful designs that day, one red-on-red; enhancing her skin color and hair. The other is shot on a dark grey backdrop with gels for a more muted yet contrasted vibe with some colorgels to bring in that touch of color I absolutely love in my work. We wanted some editorial vibes to break down the fantasy aspect without losing our aesthetics as team.

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Hope you enjoy these pieces! If you’re a designer looking for images like this, get in touch with me and I will happily work out your own story for your brand and designs!


Credits

Model & Makeup - Tinotenda
Couture Ensembles - Royal Black Couture
Photography & Post-Processing: Studio Sheridan’s Art / Laura Sheridan

Edited in Capture One Pro & Adobe Photoshop
Lights by broncolor

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50 Shades Of Summer

50 Shades Of Summer

A “sunglasses lookbook” inspired photoshoot

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*** This project is shot for the broncolor GenNEXT blog ***

I’ve been wanting to shoot a lookbook with sunglasses for a while – I always had some lowkey obsession with interesting looking sunglasses and I’ve been collecting them for the past ten years now. Since I’ve lately been feeling inspired by approaching my work in different themes and directions, I  wanted to dedicate this blog to one of those. Using artificial light on location is one of those and because it has become so incredibly easy to do with the Siros 800 – I’ve been taking any opportunity so far to practice in any light opportunity out there. With this shoot happening at noon – with what is considered one of those “worst natural light” conditions (or it used to be for me at least). Another motivation and inspiration behind this shoot is trying new themes – as I usually shoot  a lot of fantasy inspired work - and I had been collecting a lot of interesting styling in various second hand stores over the past year or two just for that purpose alone.

I asked my model, Saida, if she was down switching the concept of the shoot the evening before and go outside for it instead – which she happily agreed too and we met up in Antwerp city itself. My initial idea was to use a lot of interesting angles, capture the buildings in the backdrop and really give it an urban vibe. But when we went to the first location -  I saw there was a ferris wheel which served as an even better backdrop. After shooting the first set there, in the full sun – we decided to go to another location about 50 meters further as the weather was getting too warm for us to handle. Which ended up being even better than my first idea and we inspired on the spot on how to work it all out, resulting in the remaining results

For all of these I only used a single light, a siros 800 with a 60x100cm softbox , which is what allows me to work in almost any light situation – be it in the full sun like with the ferris wheel or as either a fill in light for the softer sets. Or even to create strong, dramatic light. It’s versatility is incredible awesome and allowed me to create a range of images that are pretty awesome, despite it being just a two-woman team on set where I had to take all creative direction on me. I did forgot my weights for the tripod so we had to slightly improvise to ensure my tripod wouldn’t trip.

Everything is shot in HS (high speed) as I prefer working with a wider aperture, with all of those being shot with a 50mm and an aperture from 1.4 to 1.8 , resulting in a beautiful bokeh in the background.


Shot on a 5D mark II with a 50mm 1.4
Lights used is by a broncolor 800 with a 60x100 cm softbox

Edited in Capture One Pro & Adobe Photoshop

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- Please click images to enlarge -

Some behind the scenes, including “Edward The Duck” we was hanging out with his ladyfriend “Eufrasie” (not pictured) with us for a while.

How it was lit: Fervor - Artifical & Natural Light

How it was lit: Fervor

My first time using artificial light on location

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done this shoot, but I’m so happy I can finally talk about it: my very first time using artificial light outside. When I became a broncolor GenNEXT ambassador, I quickly knew I wanted to have the possibility to work outside as well – as I felt that was something I rarely did anymore. Mostly because I felt uninspired and I love how I’m able to use artificial light to create certain moods and feelings – but it was something out of my reach. This entire set was shot with a Siros 800 with just one modifier (a Softlight Reflector with diffuser) and being able to just pack it up and go is pretty mindblowing. Everything is battery charged and I made it through the entire session with just two, with the second still going strong and steady.

For this specific shoot I had some of my favorite people on set: Eline Deblauwe who was taking care of hair and make-up, my gorgeous muses Luce Del Sole & Van Spooky Pants, with dresses by Church Of Sanctus – a London base independent vegan brand – and amazing jewelry by Finnish designer Eero Hintsanen.

For this one I only took one modifier with me – as I had this idea to create very deep and contrast like images with the urban location we had in Antwerp: which was the Siros 800 and the Softlight Reflector with a diffuser. I did my first try with Spooky and it took me a bunch of attempts to figure out the “how” as the first images looked like the (what I don’t like) typical look I see very often with artificial light outside.

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It all came together the moment I positioned my model against the beautiful, strong evening light we had on that fall day and I used the light to fill in my model rather than to use it as a main light. And that was basically the magic I was looking for. The first try (with Spooky) resulted in some heavy chromatic aberration (which I’ve been able to work away), for the second shoot I positioned my model in a more overcast setting and used the shadowplay of the building we where shooting under for a different kind of look.

I positioned my light mostly on the left, angled up at a 45 degrees downwards while the rest of the image was mostly lit by the evening light. It resulted in a deep, contrast like set of images without losing any details and an absolute minimum for editing. Most I had to do was color conversion and adjustments to contrast and light – with just a few minor distraction removals.

And on that note: The Siros 800 is an absolute beast - the HS (High-Speed) was able to balance out the beautiful evening light and merge both light sources together. It is definitely visible it’s not only using natural light, but it doesn’t has this overpowering feel to it like in my first tests and that was the look I was going for.

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I shot a second set near the water, which was a bit more tricky as I had more natural light and the sun was setting, but again I was able with some minor adjustments to get it all done and ready to shoot with a similar set-up as before. As before, in post-processing I barely had to do any editing as everything just flawlessy came together on set.

I will be going outside again shortly to try more of this, this time with colored gels and/or more modifiers but that will be for another blog. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed!

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