Domestic violence is a huge problem in society today. I won’t go over the statistics, but needless to say, there is way too much of it going on. Some of my closest friends have been victims of domestic violence, and it’s something that they have never, and will never forget or move on from.
This image, and the extra images that I have released in this blog are specifically raising awareness for violence against women, as today, the 25th of November, is White Ribbon Day.
Originally, this image was just going to be about a relationship falling apart, but about 2 weeks before the photo shoot, my sister Bianca mentioned to me that White Ribbon Day was coming up, and I decided to change the concept around a fair bit to instead raise awareness for this very important cause.
After I found the models for this photo shoot, which believe me, was a very hectic process, I then went on a search for a hair/makeup artist who would join me in creating this little series of images. Thankfully Zoe Wilde from Zoe Wilde Artistry Salon put her hand up, and she bought along a friend of hers, Jarrad Hodgkin to do the special effects makeup.
The Beginning Of The Day
On the day of the shoot, we all met up at my house for hair and makeup. Brittany and Aden, the models, and their mothers Fiona and Laura, got to my house first. I didn’t realise that I hadn’t done a dress fitting with Brittany when we had our pre-shoot meeting, so we quickly tried on a couple of dresses that I have in my collection, and ended up deciding on the white dress that you can see in the image.
Shortly after, Zoe and Jarrad arrived. After we were finished with the dress fitting, they got straight to work. They both did a fantastic job! Zoe did the hair and basic makeup, while Jarrad did the bruising that you can see all over Brittany’s face and arms in the images.
Zoe and Jarrad couldn’t stay for the photo shoot itself as they had other commitments, but after all the hair styling and makeup was finished, the rest of us headed about 20 minutes out of town to a farm that was the setting for our shot.
The farm belonged to a lovely couple, Pam and Lindsay Rapsey, who just so happened to be the parents of Fiona’s friend Amanda.
As soon as we got there, we went and introduced ourselves and we were told that we could use any part of their property that we needed. So we headed out to the field, met up with Aden’s Dad Richard, and set up at a location about 200 meters in.
We started off by setting up posing, lighting and framing for the main shot. The framing stayed pretty consistent during the process of capturing the main shot, but the posing changed a few times. I will go more into detail on the posing and lighting down in the technical part of the blog.
By the time we had got out to the farm, I wasn’t doing so well health wise, and I really struggled to get through this shoot. I almost passed out a couple of times. I also made a few mistakes that I have written about below as well.
Brittany and Aden were great at taking direction, especially considering that it was their first major photo shoot.
After creating the main image, I tried out different angles of that shoot and the next image that you can see below is the result of that.
We then began to create a couple more images. Only one of the extra shots turned out well, but I usually only aim for one or two shots out of each shoot, so that is alright.
The shoot ended up going for a little over an hour, and it was a very challenging, but fun shoot!
After we finished, we packed up and then headed our separate ways
The Technical Stuff
The lighting for the main image was mainly natural light, and the photo was taken just before sunset. We did have my Einstein strobe popping in a bit more light though, as the light from the sun had died down drastically.
I tried to make the lighting look as natural as I possibly could, and I think we managed to pull it off! Duanne, my assistant on this shoot, was a fantastic help! He suggested things that I didn’t think of that really helped the shoot go smoother than it might have.
The posing changed quite a bit from what I first envisioned. At first I was going to have Aden pulling the rope over his shoulder and facing the opposite way to Brittany, but in the end, the posing we used with Aden facing Brittany and pulling on the rope that way looked a lot better and had more impact.
Brittany’s posing didn’t change from my original idea. Her reaching out for help, trying to escape her abuser was the plan all along. The only thing I would change in this is the fact that I’ve got the dress flying, but not Brittany’s hair.
It could be hard to see, but the rope is also fraying and about to snap, just like the relationship of the characters in this story. One person who has seen this image already said to me :Why didn’t you use white ribbon instead of rope, as it is “White Ribbon Day”. I had thought about that, but as I said to this person “Red signifies love, and with that red rope fraying, it is signalling that the relationship is falling apart after all the abuse that she has endured”.
It makes sense to me at least!
The other image in this little series has the abuser trying to pull the victim away, while hiding their face so no one knows who they are or what they are truly like.
By this time, the light had almost completely gone, so this was almost all lit by my Einstein. I tried to capture the look of terror on Brittany’s face, and I hope that I have done that!
The editing is a little different to how I usually edit. I don’t actually have a computer of my own at the moment, so I’ve been using my Mum’s, sisters and Dad’s laptops to edit all of my images over the last few weeks, and that has added an extra challenge, as all of their their monitors produce colour very differently to each other. I’m just hoping that they have come up alright.
All in all, it was a fun day and a fun shoot. I made a few mistakes which I have learned from, and I think we also managed to create some interesting shots!
I really hope I can do photo shoots with Aden and Brittany again some day in the future!
I have decided to make a series of images raising awareness for all different forms of domestic violence, as not only are women subject to it, but men and kids are as well, and I think it’s important to raise as much awareness about it as possible, so we can hopefully at least shine a light and hopefully prevent someone from making the horrible choice to commit violence against another in their home.
Thank you to the following people for making this shoot possible, and being wonderful people in general:
Models: Aden Quinn and Brittany Holmes
Models Parent’s: Fionna Quinn, Richard Quinn and Laura Holmes
Hair And Makeup Artist: Zoe Wilde Artisty
Special Effects Makeup: Jarrad Hodgkin
Assistant: Duanne Anderson from Riksu Photography
Property Owners: Pam and Lindsay Rapsey, with thanks to Amanda Skrypczak for putting us in contact.
Behind The Scenes Video: Tony Grace from Digital Impact Productions (Video coming soon!)
My Mum: Michelle Grace