01. Charlotte from Paris with her fabulous command of English was our model for the Lovegrove Nudes session in Phnom Penh.
Our locations for these sessions were the Mansion House and the old Police Station building, both now in a dilapidated condition but rich in texture. The Mansion house is full of bullet holes and the police station is home to a colony of fruit bats plus a few rats. Linda Bell and her team from Essential Explorations secured both locations for us to shoot in with negotiations that lasted days. It was worth it. Here are 33 of my pictures of Charlotte. NSFW after the jump or below the fold.
02. We started on the first floor of the Mansion House with some flowing movement and natural lighting from the open balcony.
03. Creating and capturing a sequence of pictures with rapport was one of the exercises I set the delegates. A dynamic element is often lacking in my portraits so I used the Cambodia sessions to readdress that.
My camera kit in Cambodia for portraits comprised a Fuji X-T1 with 14mm, 23mm, 35mm, and 56mm prime lenses. My wife Julie used the Fuji X-E2 with the 10-24mm, 18-55mm and 55-200mm zooms most of the time but we shared the long and wide zooms when shooting landscapes. The X-Pro1 was used by my daughter Francesca and me from time to time as we tended to swap cameras occasionally. The 60mm lens is still my favourite prime so it got plenty of use too. On the left are my ND and polarising filters in stacking caps. The Speedlight is a Cactus RF60 and the trigger is a Cactus V6. The bag is a Think Tank Retrospective 7. We also had a Think Tank Retrospective 30 camera bag with us in Cambodia. [The Fuji X-Pro1 has had a custom wrap fitted as part of a product testing programme for Fujifilm UK. They now offer a pimping service for customers cameras]
04. The sun came and went so I chose Charlotte’s position carefully in these former corridors of power. It was a warm 37 degrees so we had plenty of bottles of water and cans of drinks on ice to hand.
05. I was shooting at 90 degrees or greater to the light for a lot of my images without eye contact. It’s part of my lighting strategy. ISO 800, 23mm lens at f/2 for 1/125th second
06. The floors needed a bit of a clean before Charlotte could sit on them.
I edited these pictures on our tour bus between Phnom Penh and Kep. It was not an ideal workspace and the green curtains didn’t help either. I used my ageing Macbook Pro and just popped the raw files through Lightroom. They have not been into Photoshop. There is quite a bit of tonal variation in this set, a few images are overworked and a few images are a bit flat. That will need sorting before I re-export and make prints of any of the photographs.
07. I decided to keep the bullet hole in the shot to the right of Charlotte. It would be easy to remove in Lightroom 5 now that the clone and healing tools work so well. The shot on the left was exposed at 1/2000th second with the 56mm lens at f/2 using ISO 200.
08. Sheen and highlights. I usually leave my light sources out of the shot but I like the tatty window so I fired off a frame with that in too. The shot on the right has delightful cheek and chin highlights that bring Charlotte’s face to life. 56mm lens, ISO 400, 1/250th second at f/2.8
09. I love these textures. You might recognise the tutu skirt. It came from Ebay and has travelled with me around the world. One long term project of mine is a book called tutu, you never know it might get printed one day.
10. Hair can be used as a soft barrier to create either a mysterious or alluring look. On the right the hair across Charlotte’s face adds to her playfulness.
11. ISO 1600, 1/125th at f/2.8 using the 14mm lens top and 23mm lens bottom.
12. I directed an asymmetrical pose for Charlotte to put a strong diagonal in her shoulders and that super curve in her waist. Tip toes completes the look. It had just started raining when I took this shot. 20 minutes later the rain had stopped and the streets below us were steaming.
13. With the light – 90 degrees to the light – and into the light.
14. There’s usually scope for some fun with a tutu skirt. ISO 3200, 23mm lens at f/1.4 and 1/125th second.
I’ll be back in Cambodia for one more tour in 2015. If you have a spirit of adventure and want to shoot a mix of travel, landscape, street and portrait photography then email Blaise my PA or Linda at Essential Explorations. There’s talk of photography adventures in Bali and Cuba too.