Etude No. 3: Hanna in Studio
In 2016, I invited Canadian Art Nude Model Hanna for a few days to Prague for a joint collaboration on several projects. Hanna and I previously worked together in Berlin about a year ago, shooting the highly acclaimed tutorial series “Mastering B&W Nudes Today”. So I basically knew how Hanna “ticks”, how she acts in front of my lens, and what a wonderfully calm personality she has.
Collab: Model Posing Education
This time, the scheduled core production was the livestream project LIVE 2 – The World Of Posing, a concept dissecting the differences between glamour posing and art nude postures. The show starred two different models: Playmate Coxy Dominika, leading the glam inspired segments, and Hanna, performing the artistic sets.
LIVE 2 was all about crafting exemplary but unique posing aspects. Especially when it comes to artistic postures, one has a whole lot of different strategies and concepts to choose from, even in a plain photo studio: statuesque/sculptural poses, figurative interpretations, freeflow segments, and more.
Freeflow: Testing Emotions
Based on the former project, I could assess how Hanna handles the interpretation of performing directions given, namely in a highly precise manner with her very own creative spin. So I was confident that once we would decide about some concept(s), there would not occur any uncertainties or misinterpretations in the execution of what I was looking for. Yet the actual trouble was that – regarding the artistic segments – I myself had no clue what I was looking for and in which direction I wanted the approach to be leading. So I had to make ad hoc decisions about how to grab the bull by the horns and here is what I have come up with:
Two days before the actual global broadcast I invited Hanna over to the studio, asking her to perform several passes of a flow posing interpretation for me, always acting based on the same musical piece; the one that is used in the video above.
My strategical setup was simple yet ambitious in finding goals:
- Letting Hanna run emotionally free within the “crash barriers” of a classical piano music piece that intentionally created a certain mood by default.
- Repeating the exercise several times, capturing every single round on video.
- Jumping in with my camera for the last 2 rounds and snapping along. This was not about getting the perfect conceptual framing or the “right” pose, no. It was all about feeling the emotions that were created and expressed, about tracking down inspiration. Kind of a “creative exploration along the idea of motion creates emotion”.
- In conclusion: For both of us, it was about following our intuition, freely expressing emotions, trusting our senses, and then finding the mutual love, meaning the joint cornerstones which we used to concoct the final, precise, educational concepts for the live show.
Trust Your Heart!
This might sound like a simplified motherhood statement or a clichéd phrase from a Hallmark RomCom: Trust your heart (first)! Or at least your guts/intuition (in case you want to leave your heart out of it).
Don’t do that on a set when broadcasting to a few hundred people worldwide, of course. At that point you need to be 100% certain about what you are doing and your team needs to know what you are going for in order to be able to contribute their creative pieces of work. The same goes for any shoot where just you and the model are in place: you need to know what you are doing.
But…: In the phase of your creative exploration, you have to listen to your heart/intuition and follow your guts’ advice – despite of all difficulties that might arise.
By doing so, it is possible to create beautiful work-in-progress series like the one produced with Hanna back in 2016. Your heart is able to create your very own, unique statement. Listen to it. Always.
– Behind The Scenes –
– Simple Lighting Design & Gear Settings –
- Key Light: Softbox 80x120cm / 2.6x4′
- Fill-In/Side: Stripbox 40x180cm / 1.3x6′
- Ratio Key<>Fill: 4:1
- Focal length used: 50-85mm
- Aperture: f/8
- Shutter Speed: 1/80
- ISO: 200