Ghost Stories - Part 3

And so, we have gotten to the last part os this series. So the last shoot rolled around and this was a big one. I had previously arranged for me and Agnes to borrow some clothes from Stadsteatern (The City Theatre) to borrow some clothes from their amazing wardrobe. My contact there, Håkan Westesson, was kind enough to let me in and borrow some clothes, on the premise that we held the shoot at the theatre, which I couldn't say no to! So we met up with Helene Otterbäck, who is responsible for the vast wardrobe in there and we got to pick whatever we wanted. I owe them big time and I'm super grateful that they let me in there to make my vision come true!

For this shoot I wanted to do something really big, something I'm not really comfortable with. Me and Agnes had this idea from the beginning that we wanted to incorporate dancers into the shot who was dancing around the "main model", or the main character if you will. This idea later morphed into dolls with white masks. So she managed to get a hold of 12 amazing people from her class at Balettakademien. This part made me nervous, because I've never arranged a shoot as big as this before. But for me this is what this project was about, to challenge myself to do something grand! And I just have to say wow... This experience completely blew me away!

We got there an hour before everyone else and started laying out the clothes that we borrowed from both Balettakademien and Stadsteatern, then we set up some lighting and prepped the camera and som angles. The we started work on my main model Lovisa, which took about an hour. Eventually all the extras started pouring in and it was so great to see them getting dressed and making the characters come to life. They looked so amazing in their clothes and everything. I was just circling the room, smiling at what I had managed to put together, taking some process shots along the way. And speaking of process shots, I'd like to share quite a few so here are a whole bunch to feast your eyes upon before I reveal the final result.

The buzz in that room was simply amazing. Before we started the shoot for real I had to line everyone up for a shot to portray how beautiful they all were! I had the biggest smile on my face!

So then we got to work. We tried a few different approaches to how we wanted the shot to be. But I landed in something a bit more darker and sinister than I had originally planned. But that to me was just a good thing. I've worked with Lovisa before so I just let her do her thing based on how I'd described her character beforehand. She did an amazing job as always. Agnes also did such a fantastic job on this shoot, prepping 14 models in just about 2 hours and I am super grateful! All the hard work payed off and I think we managed to create something unique and beautiful. I learned so much from this experience and it's something that I'm going to continue to do. Arrange bigger shoots. Because working with people is such a rewarding experience, and that to me was the best part about all of this.

I later spent a great deal on retouching these images. I estimate that I spent around 25 hours per set for two images. So I'm pretty glad I didn't end up doing five shoots, which I originally planned. So here are the final results, and I have to say, these are my favourites of the three.

All rights reserved © Rickard Olausson Photography 2015.

All rights reserved © Rickard Olausson Photography 2015.

I can't thank everyone involved nearly enough.. I'm so grateful for all the support and for believing in my ideas, for all the help I've gotten along the way and I'm humbled by how much people were willing to engage in my project. It was amazing and I have grown so much as a photographer from this. But this isn't the last from this series, I'm still planning a few more to accompany these three sets. But for now I'll take a well deserved break from this little universe that I've created. Who knows, maybe it can grow into something more?

Huge thanks to the following people who were involved in this shoot:

Agnes Duvander & Balettakademien - Makeup Artist/Styling/Hair/Clothes

Håkan Westesson & Helene Otterbäck at Stadsteatern Göteborg - www.stadsteatern.goteborg.se

Lovisa Ekblad - Model

Adam Svensson, Anna Arvidsson, Matilda Magnewall, Linnea Malmström, Linda Olofsson, Izabell Makiela, Hanna Boquist, Connie Johansson, Sarah Stenberg, Frida Edholm, Vanessa Campodonico & Per-Erik Eriksson - "Dolls"/Model Extras

Simon Johansson - Assistant

Ove Bengtson at Hasselblad - www.hasselblad.com

My teachers Kalle Sanner & Klara Källström - www.fotoskolangbg.se

Götaplatsens Foto for the prints - www.gotaplatsensfoto.se

 

I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year. I'm sure the new year will bring amazing things!

Cheers / Rickard

 

Links to parts 1 & 2 - Part 1 - Part 2

Ghost Stories - Part 2

So after the last shoot I was feeling pretty confident. It felt nice to have one down and that everything was falling into place. I did all three shoots in less than a week, so it was full steam ahead!

For this shoot I knew I wanted to be outdoors. I had this forest type shot in mind of a girl in a dress walking around with a candelabra looking for something and I wanted it to be really moody. Preferably a grey, foggy day. But I had a realisation once again that I might not be able to get what I was going for in such a short amount of time. So I decided to order some smoke bombs, which I had never used before but had always wanted to try, just in case I wouldn't have any luck with fog, which I didn't. But more on that later.

I first needed to find a suitable location. I talked to quite a few people about where I could bring my vision to life. I had a couple of reference images (again from Pinterest) that I was really inspired by. But since I'm not so familiar with the environment here in Gothenburg just yet I don't actually know about that many good spots. I though long and hard about going to Botaniska Trädgården (The Botanical Gardens) here in the city, but I ultimately decided against it since it would probably involve a lot of walking to get to a proper location there, where I could use the smoke bombs. Also we probably would have to do the makeup and styling on the model on a different location first, which would complicate things since we had a pretty tight schedule that day. Then a classmate of mine, Ellen (who also was my trusty assistant for this shoot) suggested we go have a look at Ramberget, which is a lookout point over Gothenburg and also basically right next to our school. We went there and it didn't take long before I found the perfect spot. Here are a few location scouting shots:

I felt right away that this was the perfect spot to set up my shoot. I settled for this crevice in a slope that would serve as a great backdrop and also would contain the smoke from the smoke bombs and keep it there.

Now that the location was set I was again feeling pretty confident. I found a model, Ragnhild, I got into contact with a few weeks prior and she was really keen to contribute. I hadn't met her before so I was feeling a bit nervous about that. But I really think I found the perfect person to portray. She was already into old dresses and gloomy stuff so I knew it'd be a perfect fit! Since me and Agnes already picked clothes the week before I didn't have to worry about that either. We found some beautiful dresses that we were gonna try.

So then it was time again for another intense day of setting up and everything. The weather was unfortunately really good(!).. So I'm glad I bought the smoke bombs! We got started pretty early since I still wanted to catch some of the light outside and not work in total darkness. I met up with the model, Ragnhild, and off we went to the studio in our school to do the styling and makeup. Agnes had also produced a beautiful wig for this shoot so I was pretty excited about that as well. First she went to work with the makeup and then we moved along to trying on some dresses. And then finally we attached the wig. Process images to follow:

So after a good two hours of makeup and trying on clothes etc. we were finally done and I was feeling really excited! I was once again blown away with the results of Agnes work. So I gathered all my gear and then we headed out to the location. Once we got there we tested some light and I ended up using just the one light. A portable Profoto flash again with a beauty dish (because why not?) and a diffusor to spread the light some more. It was dead cold outside (beginning of december and all) and Ragnhild was a real trooper and didn't complain at all. The wind was just right so the smoke carried down beautifully down the slope. It was perfect! Everything went super smooth except for some focus problems with the Hasselblad. I felt like we had the shot I wanted so I once again rigged for some closeup portraits which also turned out great. Then it was onto the retouching bit, which went smooth enough. They still took some time to edit but I'm happy with how they turned out, so enough rambling, here are the results!

All rights reserved © Rickard Olausson Photography 2015.

Again I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed making them. It was an intense process but I'm happy with the results!

Huge thanks to the following people who were involved in this shoot:

Agnes Duvander & Balettakademien - Makeup Artist/Styling/Wig/Clothes

Ragnhild Olvonsköldhe - Model

Ellen Hamlet - Assistant

Ove Bengtson at Hasselblad - www.hasselblad.com

My teachers Kalle Sanner & Klara Källström - www.fotoskolangbg.se

Götaplatsens Foto for the prints - www.gotaplatsensfoto.se

Stay tuned for part 3!

/Rickard

Link to part 3 - Part 3