Tag Archives: water sets

Water Sets…small and large.

“WATER SETS, LARGE AND SMALL”
(You can click any image below to see a larger version)

I thought I’d pass along a little of how I arrive at deciding to build certain sets. I’m a firm believer that if you think it(and it’s reasonable), anything is possible. The building blocks of this are material cost, space, time, and man(or woman) power. If you have all four, you can create anything your heart desires. Sometimes we have the space and time, people to create, but money becomes an issue. This should never stop creation, it should spur invention… This first set is born of a collaboration between myself and Jersey(stylist/set designer). Jersey and I have always worked well together in creative collaborations. We were given 2 six page spreads and told we had to have certain items in the shoot, but we could shoot it however we liked. I had wanted to do a water/nature shoot for a while, so we sat down and figured out the “how” of it. We had all of the required elements: Space(my studio), $$(relatively inexpensive), time and manpower were at hand as well. So the river/lake edge set was born.
This Project was built in a waterproof 4’x4′ enclosure that I made out of plywood and 2″x4″s. 1/2 of an old aerobed made the waterproofing for this one. It was sacrificed for the good of the project. 🙂Being on 28th St. between 7th and 8th avenue in Manhattan is a HUGE benefit to shooting Still Life. The Flower District is only one street over between 6th and 7th. If there’s a rock, tree, stump, or exotic flower that I need, it’s in one of the shops down the street. We went shopping for 4 different kinds of rocks/shale and a variety of vegetation that would give our set the look of a beautiful water paradise. We shot this over 2 VERY long days. Going from set to set took a while to break down and build up, but we both enjoy the building/creative process, so it was more fun that work. Especially when we saw the results of the work, we were very pleased. This was the one and only “dry” set shot. The look of the Sun in the background, for those interested in technical details were 2 bare bulb Profoto heads firing at full power on their own packs. I used this a few times during the shoot to simulate daylight shining through the vegetation. There were some outtakes and things we tried, but ultimately got left on the cutting room floor. I had this idea that dry ice would make for a bog-like place(think Empire Strikes Back with Yoda). Unfortunately, the dry ice just didn’t work in well with the other sets to make the story Gel together. Trust me…I’ll find a use for the dry ice yet. 🙂 Sooo…it got cut. But dry ice IS fun. 🙂

That’s me having fun with the dry ice. Very Yoda in Empire Strikes Back, No? Jersey working on jewelry placement.

The final result…with raindrops added by spashing from the sides and a high shutter speed to capture the “stop action”.

So I was thinking about what we accomplished with a 4’x4′ water set in studio… What if I could create a larger set with more water? Could I do a fashion shoot with men or women? The answer is an unequivocal YES. 🙂

For the next set…

Zink Magazine was doing their first Men’s Issue scheduled for publication in April of 2009(shot in Dec 2008). I thought this was the PERFECT time to try out my “human” water set theory. The product set above got me to thinking that it was possible to do this larger set in studio. It was December and really cold, so doing anything outside on the roof was completely out of the question. In Studio was the only way…I went to the hardware store and bought enough 2″x6″ boards to creat a 12’x12′ enclosure. I made sure that they had enough screws in them during construction that they would not break under the pressure of about 400 gallons of water that would eventually be in the enclosure. Then Costco comes into play with the 2 – 20’x20′ waterproof tarps that I used to waterproof the enclosure. I really had NO idea prior to doing this shoot whether the tarps would be completely waterproof. The box said water resistant. wow…this could be REALLY BAD. I was fairly sure that it was, but only found out after the fact that it worked perfectly…lol. No worries…everything was fine. 🙂 I have to say that Jonathan, our model, was a trooper throughout the whole thing. Even with keeping the studio very warm in the air, it’s impossible to make 400 gallons of water warm. The first 30 or so was hot, and then it was just a losing battle. So Jonathan had to get brave the cold every outfit. It didn’t help that everyone was spashing cold water on him to give the shot movement. Other artists on set:
Kim Baker: Grooming
Roy Fire: Wardrobe Stylist
Vincent: Splasher, Art Direction.

Back to the set for a minute…here’s a shot of the set once I put up the background for the left photo(above). We could get most of the clothes wet, but there were some that we couldn’t, thus, I shot it within the set below. So that was the Zink shoot… The last water set is Very Small. I was shooting Diamond earbud covers for the classic white IPOD headphones. These were made out of pink diamonds and retailed for around $50,000. What celebrity wouldn’t want them?? 😉 This was shot in a little bowl, maybe 1/2 inch of water. I used some wax to keep them upright(standard for jewelry shoots). To get the movement of the water, I used a fan blowing softly. That’s all for now….

I have some more projects in the works that I’ll share when completed. You can see more of my work at: www.jamesweberstudio.com

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