Natalia Evelyn Bencicova

Pollution

To create the "Pollution" project we joined forces with my good friend and collaborator Marek Wurfl. I know Marek from the beginning of my career (what is in fact not such a long time ago) and he can really have the credit for teaching me most of what I know about photography and lighting indeed. We call him “Master of light” because he works with lighting in a painterly manner, using it as a creative tool paying attention to smallest details as well as overall mood. He is the one who persuaded me that the technical aspect of photography, which seemed to me so scary and complicated before, can be used in my own advantage and it is definitely worth to dedicate my time to gain the knowledge about how to approach accessible tools in the best way.

To create the "Pollution" project we joined forces with my good friend and collaborator Marek Wurfl. I know Marek from the beginning of my career (what is in fact not such a long time ago) and he can really have the credit for teaching me most of what I know about photography and lighting indeed. We call him “Master of light” because he works with lighting in a painterly manner, using it as a creative tool paying attention to smallest details as well as overall mood. He is the one who persuaded me that the technical aspect of photography, which seemed to me so scary and complicated before, can be used in my own advantage and it is definitely worth to dedicate my time to gain the knowledge about how to approach accessible tools in the best way.

The task was to shoot the look-book of young Slovak designer Bianka Sipecova. Of course we wanted to use this as an opportunity to do something nice and creative together. Marek is not afraid to work with several light sources and more complicated set-ups.
I perceive our collaborations as a masterclass. Watching him work really challenges me and by asking questions and being part of preparation process I always learn much more than by pure theory. My memory is working in this way, that I remember the  look of the set both from photographers (mine) and models perspective. I don't only observe particular situation but rather try to understand general rules how the light is functioning and how I can control it.

 
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We chose a huge space as a location which used to be a studio of former communist-era sculptor Jan Kulich. The space was under reconstruction, with workers in the back rooms painting walls and doing the last touch-ups (I even managed to take quick picture of one of them inspired by his “casual styling”:)). There was a lot of dust and dirt in the air but that was exactly what we liked about the room. To even enhance it we've brought the haze machine with us, which created a murky, dreamlike atmosphere.

Bianka’s collection is inspired by the working class. To fit with this concept we kept the background as it was, dirty and full of equipment from the reconstruction. When our model Nat, who herself wears kind of uniforms influenced by now so fashionable Vetements, put on the styling it looked so authentic on her that we knew photos are going to be good even before first shot. Lighting was a chapter itself. We wanted to keep mysterious atmosphere of air full of dust and smoke but still reach detail in the clothes and models face.

 
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We lit the space and the model with two Siros 800 S lights, using two Octaboxes. First one from the side as keylight, creating contrast on the model, in an otherwise very low contrast scene. The other one was on the cameras left, acting as a fill light on the model and also lighting the studio space.

I like happy accidents, and we had one as a result of having the entire space being filled with dispersed particles of artificial fog and zero previous experience with haze machines :)
The light was being reflected from the foggy air and completely messing up our exposure,
and also focusing became impossible.
Luckily after a while, when the air cleared a little, we found the sweet spot,
where the right amount of fog was acting as a huge 3D diffuser and creating beautiful light.
It was fitting perfectly to the concept of the collection, which was based on protective clothes for workers. We created our own polluted space inside of this improvised “studio”.

 
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The biggest issue at the end was to chose the final pictures. That is my favourite kind of problem:) Bianka was very happy as well as everyone else who participated. We hope that you enjoyed the reading and the results and Im getting ready for the next project :)

 

Credits

Photography, art-direction: Evelyn Bencicova, Marek Wurfl
Fashion: Brapeeyou by Bianka Sipecova
Model: Natalia Sykorova
Assistance: Marco Balaz
BTS Photos: Lousy Auber

 
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