This year in Italy we had the hottest summer since 1880. At least if you can trust weather and temperature recordings taken so back in the past. That’s why a lot of Italians say we simply got the hottest summer ever. It might not be entirely accurate, but it gives the idea of how badly we lived and survived this summer’s heat. Scientists call it Global Warming, we call it living hell. Luckily for me and my (pregnant) wife, we had the opportunity to fly from the Italian heat and enjoy the Swedish cold and dump summer for a whole week. You might remember that I had the opportunity to meet and shoot a few Swedish models a few months ago, while on a trip to Milan. Well, we kept in contact, and in July we decided to do something together again, this time in Sweden. I arranged a flight to Copenhagen (cheaper and easier to fly from Rome there than anywhere in actual Sweden), a car rental, and a long drive, and we got to visit places such as Kalmar, Oland, Lund, and Malmo.
We worked hard, really hard. In five days we made six different editorials, each one with a different mood and in a different location, all united by being shot solely with the Fuji X100T equipped with the teleconverter. From staples to woods, passing by creeks, abandoned houses, wild natures, old basements, and weird washer houses, I had the opportunity to work in incredibly beautiful and inspiring sceneries, while enjoying the cold Swedish breezes.
I am currently in the phase of submitting and publishing the photographs, but I reserved “That day at the creek” for FujiLove, and I hope you’ll enjoy it. The models are Kristine Gierow and Andrea Palmqvist Gillman, the location is around Hossmo (Sweden), and the clothes are all vintage.
This editorial started when Kikki, the red haired model which generously hosted me and my wife in Kalmar, while at the same time sharing her amazing wardrobe for the styling, showed me some pictures of the 13th century church in Hossmo (originally built in wood in 1100’s over the ruins of a pagan ritual area). The bricks, the colours, the austerity, it all recalled me of atmospheres such as in “the Piano Teacher”, and as quick as that I was hooked on the place. I spent quite some time day-dreaming about the place and the two girls I wanted to shoot in it, until I set my mind. I wanted to tell the story of two students of a church-school, which one day decided to skive off school and go into a wood. I wanted to have some kind of unspoken tension between the two girls. Immagine how happy I was when Kikki told me that there even was some kind of a secret creek just behind the church!
We then went through the wardrobe. Kikki’s one is huge, and exceeds the physical boundaries of the actual wardrobe, to find place in piles of boxes, under the bed, and sometimes on the floor. Going through it is a titanic, and yet highly rewarding, experience. We found early 20th century vintage skirts, shirts, under-gowns, and shoes. To these we added vintage books to be tied as props.
To refresh my visual imagination about school girls in the beginning of the 20th century, I spent part of the morning watching scenes from “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, an Australian movie I’ve always loved for his photography and the unspoken tension between the beautiful, young girls. Watching the movie gave me some ideas about hairstyles, make-up, and poses. Then we were finally ready to go out shooting, we grabbed some lunch, we packed the car, and left for Hossmo.
I usually shoot through a story following its temporal flow. I start with what I think is the beginning, and try to end with what I want to be the closing image. I do this because I let the place, the light, and the events slightly change the course of the story, and impact on the mood. So we started in front of the church with the two models approaching each other, then I moved closer to them to see how they interacted, and finally moved to the creek, where they found a nice spot, and eventually undressed to bath in the river.
The whole story developed within three-four hours. I only used the X100T with the teleconverter for the whole session. I find that shooting with just the 50mm forces me to really work on the compositions, and renders elegant scenes, rich with details. Plus, the whole system is pretty small and lightweight, it never gets in the middle of the action, while at the same time proving fast and accurate use. The EVF is always a great benefit, especially in tricky light scenes such as in the woods.
So, there I was. Far, far away from the hottest Italian summer ever, enjoying the peace of an ancient church and the mystic atmosphere of a secret creek, while working with two Swedish beauties on a personally conceived, styled, and shot editorial. The X100T, the teleconverter, and two batteries where all the equipment I had need for the job, the rest was just all around me.