Monday, 26 May 2014

Forget being creative - Your best job might be your last..

Most people I know when thinking about photography and being a photographer, at least in conversation with me; are big believers in the creative power of photography and the photographers power to create. That's certainly the story we get from the camera manufacturers advertising campaigns too, photography, unleash your creative powers with XXBrandCameras! When a group of photographers get together it won't all be talk about clients, chances are 'doing' creative photography will be a big part of what they will be talking about.

But if you plan on making a living from photography, especially in a creative field like fashion photography, then the 'creative' component is very likely going to take a back seat - now more than ever before. As that crazy Physicist said on TV way back whenever.. "Why is it so?". Well there are many reasons but here are a few, unless you are a such major player (no not even then) that your client is in awe, your client will quite likely expect you to..
look like them, 
talk like them, 
aspire like them,
be in awe of them (after all you are getting paid) and finally,
think like them.

Maybe not all of the above but most likely most of the above and most of that will not have anything to do with delivering your image brief. All this while knowing as reported in this years PhotoShelter report on photography - you only work with a client "on average three, (3) times"! When you consider some clients stay with photographers for years and many shoots you can see that even 3 bookings looks good to say the least.

Creative fashion photography in the studio - Sydney photographer Kent Johnson.

Which brings us to the picture of the jumping model. I booked this shoot via the internet while the client/designer was in China seeing to the completion of the samples for the new range. A new designer for an established fashion company, this was her first for this fashion companies label. The brief was to shoot look-book images - straight up-down shots, but we also wanted studio branding shots with action/movement; and from a 'bing search' in China; I was the best bet. I was booked for my creative style, and that is every photographers dream.

The designer hit the studio first thing in the morning, right off the plane - and with her team working on the fashion, I set up the studio with my assistant as the H&MU began, and after an hour or so we were working our magic, all day long. We worked together, ate together, smoked cigarettes together (as you do, but now I've stopped) and, I think this is one of the best shoots I have ever done. Great team, great clothing, great Hair and Make Up all resulting in a large series of strong, beautiful creative fashion shots; and the clients selection is still on the websites introduction to the label well over a year later.

Was the client happy? Well I certainly thought so and I did hear back indirectly that the company owners were super happy with the shots. Have I ever worked with the designer again? No. My studio partner says its because "I was too confident and too old", "They don't like it when you look like you know what you are doing"!

Well I delivered the brief, I put my full creative energy into the shots as I always do, that's WHY I became a photographer; I brought the shoot in on time and on budget, and I for one love these shots! What have I lean't from the experience. Not much I can use unless I can be 24 again - no thanks!

Basically photography 2014 is about your social network, your work, being nice, being professional, courteous and efficient. Which is what my repeat clients like about me, and they like my creative energy as well. But do be aware, if you don't fit some clients 'idea' of a photographer, no matter what 'creative' result you come up with; you may never be invited back again..

Kent Johnson
0433 796 863

Sunday, 25 May 2014

..I am very attracted by bad taste - its much more exciting than good taste..

So said Helmut Newton in an interview in 1981* and I really can't agree more. But you know what; I have been pushing good taste all my life, I have been a victim of my own good taste and, I have believed in 'taste' which I suppose is not quite the same as 'good taste' and I don't think it has done me any favours at all.

This picture of mine comes from a story called Rapture in Sydenham and its a reaction to my working with so-called good taste. Sydenham is an inner west Sydney suburb that 20 years ago really was the ass end of the world and had a reputation for junkies and crime, much like trendy or 'edgy' Darlinghurst at the time had too but Sydenham had no glamorous veneer and was more; much more down market. While I certainly don't condone or recommend drug use, that was certainly a part of the times, and a big part of me misses the hedonism of the mid to late 80s some of it drug related lots of it not. It was quite frightening sometimes but it was quite exciting too; it was not such a homogenised society as it seems to be today. So this story is about those times; the conflict of love when you're whole life has been a compromise - its not much fun - stay close - hold on to what you have got..

Good or bad taste in photography?  Rapture in Sydenham - Photographed by Kent Johnson.

Extended website version,

Original published on Street Fashion Sydney

Photographer, Kent Johnson
Hair & Make Up, Sabrina Scheuer
Stylist, Kent Johnson
Models, Cole & Myv @ Milk Models
Photography Assistant, Hugh Baulderstone 

* "I love vulgarity. I am very attracted by bad taste - it is a lot more exciting than that supposed good taste which is nothing more than a standardised way of looking at things." Helmut Newtown interview by Bernard Lamarch-Vadel 1981.

Hi Impact Radius

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Gothic Style Fashion and Seances with Designer Handbags.

Some of the first rolls of film I ever exposed were shot in cemeteries. Maybe a bit weird or  creepy I know.. but when you are growing up in Australia and you want something old exotic and different then a hundred years or so old cemetery is going to be one of your best bets for exotic and old!

In this case it was my client who came up with the idea of shooting at this very well known (and photographed) Sydney location as part of their campaign for their Gothic, Skull & Bones and Leather Tasselled designer bags. Time of day was important for the mood we wanted, we went for late afternoon and squeezed off half a dozen bag shots with our two experienced models; only changing the bags not the outfits of our Dark-Gothic Lace-Masked and Veiled beauties. I like to think its got a bit of that irreverent Helmut Newton style - something out of the ordinary!

Gothic Fashion Style and Seances with Designer Handbags - Model Rochelle Fox - Photographer Kent Johnson.

Model Rochelle Fox  
H&MU Emily Hayward

Kent Johnson
0433 796 863

Monday, 19 May 2014

Magic Happens - Digital Fashion Photography Collage, Studio + Location.

I think magic happens on my photo shoots all the time, in the studio, on location, that special communication, that special moment, that special picture; the magic does happen! But sometimes you need some special magic that does not happen in-camera, sometimes life and photography call for a little digital manipulation.This image is from a series of editorial images I created that used shots I already had as 'stock' images of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and married them with our models fashion shots made against a white background in the studio. Dark, mysterious and beautiful; everyone calls this my "Blade Runner" and "Manga" fashion picture and its easy to see why.
Digital composite fashion photograph - Model in lingerie standing on the Sydney Harbour Bridge at night. Photography and digital editing by Kent Johnson.
Can I do this for you too? You bet I can; in my photography universe Magic really does happen.

Digital composite fashion photography.
Photography and digital editing by Kent Johnson.
Model Sammy Raine.
Styling Rhiannon Bulley.
Hair & Make Up Lisa Sciberras.

Kent Johnson
0433 796 863

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Kyrien - Levi's Commuter Jacket - The Rocks Sydney.

I did this shot of Kyrien a week or so ago during his time in Australia. Kyrien who already has a Sony TVC to his credit, contacted me about shooting a new modelling portfolio for him when he arrived in Sydney from Mumbai India. This image with a great afro side part (very tricky) is shot in The Rocks Sydney. Lots more pictures to come from this amazing shoot.

Kyrien - Levi's Commuter Jacket - location male modelling portfolio shoot in The Rocks Sydney by Kent Johnson.

Photography, Styling & Art Direction - Kent Johnson
Grooming Maria Cynthia H&MU.