Her – Personal Project

Inspiration

For this project, I wanted to create portraits that resembled the paintings of Masters of painting. The idea was to highlight the beauty of women not specifically highlighting their curves, skin or what they are wearing (even though all of this is equally important when making these photographs) but to create a story and highlight their beauty by their personality & expression.

The mood board for this photoshoot contained a lot of paintings and other photographs that were inspired from paintings. The expressions majorly were not supposed to be shy, smiling or more natural, but rather more blunt, blank and story telling.

Story

The story conceptualised by me and written by Nimra was about a woman growing up till she finds solace in herself. It is about the phases she goes through while growing up. Trying to find satisfaction & happiness in various ways, ultimately failing.

Preparation

Lighting

As this was inspired by paintings, I wanted to keep the light as a once light setup to give a more organic and painting feel.

For this I chose the Elinchrom BRX/FRX 400 and 135 Rotalux Octa soft box because this in my experience gives the most even and beautiful wrapping light which I wanted for this project.

I wanted to choose 175 which is even more wrapping, soft and even, but I had to consider the location which could not accommodate a huge softbox as the 175.

Canvas Painted Backdrop

As I wanted these to be painting like portraits, the first thing I wanted to prepare was a painted canvas backdrop. As I felt this would majorly add to the final look of the photos. Something like Oliphant Backdrops. But of course I live in India I can’t afford getting one shipped from Oliphant. So with the help of a friend Mirana, I was able to make this backdrop. Grateful to her for painting this amazing looking backdrop.

We used acrylic paints for this and started with a base of neutral grey which after base coat looked like this.

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We wanted to give it more of a texture for which we used a sponge and darker and lighter shades which were almost white and black. The result was as follows.

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this looked gorgeous on its own. But we were not sure whether this would look good in the final pictures because of how textured and busy it was. A test shot with am mobile made us sure that we would need to subtle this down

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for this project, we wanted the focus to be more on the subject and not the background. the idea of the background was only to add up to the idea of painting. and hence after Marina blended it more, it turned out to be so much more beautiful and serene as follows

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Test Shot

It is very important to have a mood board to get the complete team, to have an almost perfect idea of what exactly I want to achieve. And for them to agree on collaboration, they must be sure about this idea.

Its easier said than done. Especially if I have nothing of this sort to show in my portfolio, there is always a question whether I’d be able to achieve what I am showing. So a test shot greatly helps. As this shows exactly what you can do and what would the final photo mostly look like. So for this I shot myself.

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Flowers

I wanted flowers to be a major connecting link between all these portraits. So I had to carefully choose the flowers so as not to clash with each other in terms of colour and texture. A friend Aditi helped me with this. Thank you Aditi!

Makeup

In Hyderabad is extremely tough to find makeup artists who do work apart from bridal makeup. And even more so when trying to get them to collaborate. Luckily I came across this wonderful makeup artist who not only did a splendid job but also happened to become a good friend! Thank you so much Afsha

Hair

Hairstylist is as important as all the other team members for the look. We worked with Trinath for this

Outfit & Styling

I couldn’t think of anyone better than Archana Rao. Ive always admired her work and her aesthetics fall so well with my style of photography. So this was honestly a no brainer.

Model

It is absolutely important to find faces according to the project. Since it was a more painting oriented shoot, I wanted the model to look not just gorgeous but painterly in poses where she isn’t smiling and when she keeps a more blank and blunt face. After stalking Instagram for many months! I was able to find Dolly. Again this wonderful model became a good friend.

Putting it together

Since I had a test shot of myself, it greatly helped in giving confidence to all the team members involved as to what I can achieve. The toughest part was to fix a date. We managed to do this with a WhatsApp Group.

Behind The Scenes

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Final Shoot Results

A woman grew as if from a seedling in possession of every prerequisite for its cultivation, yet unaware of the force its roots could withstand, unaware of its own gift; Her resilience as if disguised as compelling innocence.
A woman grew as if from a seedling in possession of every prerequisite for its cultivation, yet unaware of the force its roots could withstand, unaware of its own gift; Her resilience as if disguised as compelling innocence.
Ploughing through soiled oblivion, she sprouted and surfaced, exposing herself to earthly, and predominantly societal traditions, norms, and values -that shaped her, made her, moulded her, and on occasions broke her.
Ploughing through soiled oblivion, she sprouted and surfaced, exposing herself to earthly, and predominantly societal traditions, norms, and values -that shaped her, made her, moulded her, and on occasions broke her.
An amalgamation of events gave way to germination and gradually led her to the evolution of fascicles of emotions: from exhilaration to melancholy, compassion to impassiveness, shyness to firmness, and from love to repugnance.
An amalgamation of events gave way to germination and gradually led her to the evolution of fascicles of emotions: from exhilaration to melancholy, compassion to impassiveness, shyness to firmness, and from love to repugnance.
With time, she found herself on a boulevard to progression in search of nutrients that imparted happiness, so she could bud flowers of joy. Encountering a torrent of failures, however, she experienced an unexplainable state of turmoil; She turned to light and ached for relief.
With time, she found herself on a boulevard to progression in search of nutrients that imparted happiness, so she could bud flowers of joy. Encountering a torrent of failures, however, she experienced an unexplainable state of turmoil; She turned to light and ached for relief.
Summers of light-shed introspection and regeneration later, she finally knew relief; for she had finally arrived to the fertile ground of realisation that the nutrients of happiness were deep-rooted within her from the very time of her nativity; in the morning tear, the precious dew drop that she mistook for sheer absurdity. She henceforth thrived and she bloomed; and boy did she bloom extraordinarily.
Summers of light-shed introspection and regeneration later, she finally knew relief; for she had finally arrived to the fertile ground of realisation that the nutrients of happiness were deep-rooted within her from the very time of her nativity; in the morning tear, the precious dew drop that she mistook for sheer absurdity. She henceforth thrived and she bloomed; and boy did she bloom extraordinarily.
Summer turned to spring, and the growth of a beautiful woman --a woman once unenlightened, a woman once unaware of the origin of happiness, once unaware of the power her roots withheld-- eventually reached its strongest, tree-tall apex of progression for she now had attained fulfilled wisdom. Wisdom that taught her how to bloom; wisdom that taught her that if she incessantly looked for happiness elsewhere, it would never hold its roots where she was ...as she bloomed.
Summer turned to spring, and the growth of a beautiful woman –a woman once unenlightened, a woman once unaware of the origin of happiness, once unaware of the power her roots withheld– eventually reached its strongest, tree-tall apex of progression for she now had attained fulfilled wisdom. Wisdom that taught her how to bloom; wisdom that taught her that if she incessantly looked for happiness elsewhere, it would never hold its roots where she was …as she bloomed.

Credits

Model : Dolly
Makeup : Afsha Rangila
Outfits : Archana Rao
Hair : Trinath
Story Writeup : Nimra

Other Credits

Custom Painted Backdrop : Marina