It sure was a long time coming. Almost a year, in fact. Adelaide photographer Don Brice contacted me to assist him in a side project. A series of portraits of men and women structured into an androgynous fashion; men sporting a touch of makeup, women pared back to minimalism. Skip to March this year and Don and I are organising our first shoot. In that year conversation turned to themes oft brushed aside as ‘done to death’; vintage. But it was different. Don spoke so passionately and knowledgably of the 1940’s Hollywood era, it was the lighting, the composition of the photograph, the poses the models struck that he seemed to have studied fervently. And when time came to recreate portraits of an era bygone, Don pulled out all stops.
Rarely given the opportunity to painstakingly set up this amazing polaroid camera this was Don’s big chance. And my word the images this thing produced were gorgeous! Our beautiful model Ksenia was asked to carefully arrange her body into position for each image while Don prepared the lighting, the focus and other photographic related aspects I might never fully understand.
It’s no wonder the film for these cameras is so expensive and so difficult to source.
This image was one of the last taken after I decided to amp up Ksenia’s inner eye socket contour in order to add more shadow and drama to the portrayal.
We agreed that while the polaroid gave us severe nostalgia, a couple of off the cuff digital test shots taken while Ksenia was still in her leather jacket actually emerged as favourites for a whole other purpose.
Ksenia’s long naturally mousey blonde locks lent themselves wonderfully to the era, so a simple curl and pin to each side of the head created an effective bob while Ksenia’s classic features were perfection for contouring the inner eye creating more depth and emotion. The ‘Clara’s Bow’ lip shape inspired me to draw a wide bow across the top lip. Following Ksenia’s natural lip shade just wouldn’t do!
Key products used included MAC’s Handwritten through the inner eye socket, Napoleon Perdis’ Onyx Factor liner drawn and buffed into the outer eye corners and MAC’s Dare You lipstick mixed with Nightmoth lip liner seemed a strange combination but ended up mixing to a solid maroon reminiscent of the 1940s and translated in the black and white portraits wonderfully.
Model | Ksenia Karataeva
Photography | Don Brice Photography