The shot: No words
When I arrived for this particular collaboration, Inkblotch told me he had a dream the night before of a woman in fog. Inkblotch and I tend to work pretty spontaneously. We don’t discuss much in concept ideas before a shoot, but in spite of that, we’ve always created amazing pieces together. He said he had never tried anything like what he wanted to that day, but he was very interested in trying to recreate his vision.
Under other circumstances, I might be concerned about such a last minute idea. However, whenever I collaborate, I put a lot of trust in my photographer’s talent, so I gave a shrug of my shoulders, smiled, and said, “Sure.” I knew something awesome would come of it.
The shot (from a model’s perspective)
This image consists of Inkblotch’s camera, a leafblower, a piece of fabric, and a fog machine. I threw the fabric up into the air, and Inkblotch aimed the leafblower at me. Our hope was that the strong wind would push the fabric and hold it against my figure. He’d quickly snap a couple shots off when the fabric caught on my body, but then it would blow off into a corner, leaving me to go running after it.
The first couple of times, I managed fine. But this shoot was in the middle of summer in Los Angeles in a large garage studio, so it had to be over a hundred degrees in there. I was sweating bullets and had to take numerous pauses to chug down water. Funny enough, all the sweat eventually helped stick the fabric to me, and we had just enough time to snag that one magical moment where that shot came together.
When it comes to shooting under rough conditions, it can be hard for a model to keep her head together and maintain her composure. Imagine – you’re sweating, you’re panting, your head feels a little dizzy. It’s very easy to let the exhaustion show on your face.
As a model, though, you pull it together. You take a moment to drink your water or catch your breath and tell yourself, “I can do this.” You start to feel better, and you tell your photographer you feel all right (and you truly do). You step up with newfound determination.
And then it happens. The image crystallizes, and you can feel it as it does. You nearly break character in your excitement as everything comes together and you feel that fussy fabric finally stick to your figure. It’s perfect, you think. This is perfect!
The image is, to me, impeccable.
When you look at the shot now, there’s no evidence of just how worn out Inkblotch and I were from the heat during that shoot. The result is calm, collected, and absolutely beautiful. I think it goes to show that if a team is determined enough and communicates clearly, they can overcome any obstacles that present themselves during a shoot.
To this day, this shot is one of my favorite images. I’m so proud of myself as a model for being able to keep it together and keep trying even when the concept felt so difficult to execute. More so, I’m thankful that an amazing photographer like Inkblotch collaborated with me and that we were both willing to embrace spontaneity enough to let a concept like this happen.
Inkblotch and I have worked like this more than once now, and every time we get something good. Sometimes, choosing what seems like a crazy concept and being determined enough to go with it can create some wonderful works of art.