Whats the best way to bust out of a summer rut? Get an absolute stranger to dm you on insta and then before you know it you could be doing a photoshoot together.
While I’d been enjoying the quiet of my Summer after quite an eventful (stressful) few months in the run up to my HND course finishing, I wont lie in saying that apart from taking a few holiday snaps I’d missed the feeling of having my camera in my hands. So receiving a message from one Matt Reznek, a photographer from Vancouver, Canada (boldrezolution.com) - check him out, he’s super talented and creative I guess, like whatever - was exactly what I needed. We had been following each other on instagram for a while and he basically messaged me saying he was stopping over in Glasgow for a couple of days and was wondering if we’d like to shoot something together. Now the old Euan would have been all like “absolutely not, I have this guy fooled into thinking I’m quite good, I can’t let him see how I work and how I am and expose him to that amateur awfulness” but the New Euan was all like “aw yass, legitimate excuse to test drive my Canadian accent and maybe we’ll become best pals and he’ll take me back with him”. Honestly I just thought it would be a great new experience and so I was more than happy to help him out, but mostly it was to test drive my Canadian accent.
Now in his mind he was guessing I’d show him around and maybe take a few snaps of the “lovely” Glaswegian sites but before I’d even got back to him I was contacting a model and make up artist ahaha. Luckily for me he’d already had a concept in mind in the same respects of his most recent shoot during a stop over in Iceland so I think he was really into it. I know if I ever wanted to do a shoot in a place I’d never been before I’d want people to go the extra mile for me and make it a valuable memory for me - which I hope I did for him (I mean probably not, he still had to bear our weather after all)
I’d met up with Matt and his Sister, with whom he was visiting with, for a drink the day before the shoot just so it wasn’t super awkward the day of the shoot where nobody really knew each other. It ended up being a really great night getting to know them and their lives, something you don’t get to do very often meeting new people. I even found out we share a mutual love for cinema and theatre. Of course its me though and the evening couldn’t have been complete with me insulting their intelligence by assuming they didn’t understand what I thought was typical British terms like “dodgy” and “scran”. Plus it probably didn’t help that all I knew about Canada was that Justin Bieber came from there and they have Moose and Beavers aha, surprised they didn’t leave the bar. However once we got passed that it was also interesting to learn that Matt was self taught in photography and how our experiences differed given that I was studying it (a topic for another blog post)
Moving on to the day of the actual shoot, I’d acquired the amazing Model/Make-Up team of Mikala and Rhianonne to help on the shoot. Now Matt had planned the location for the shoot to take place at the Necropolis cemetery, now I had shot there before and assumed this wouldn’t be an issue, but as soon as we’d set up in the first spot we were approached almost immediately by two council officers asking us to show our permission slip - which of course we didn’t have. Now at first we tried to have a mature open conversation about the reasons behind why we couldn’t shoot there but they were not interested in listening to us and so we left before things just got messy (full story on this matter in part ii of this blog post).
After leaving the Necropolis we quickly made the decision to relocate the shoot to Kelvingrove Park. I could tell Matt was slightly taken a back by what happened as I don’t believe he’s experienced being “chucked out” of anywhere before due to a shoot and so when he told me he slightly felt off his game, I wasn’t surprise and couldn’t really blame him - had I organised a shoot with people in a place I didn’t really know, I’d be worried too - but it wasn’t like anyones time was being majorly wasted or we were losing money so we just resolved the situation as quickly as possible. So we arrived at the Park and continued the shoot without a hitch, I was very aware it was really Matts shoot, as he would not have the opportunity to shoot here again and was his original vision so I came in after he got his stuff done for a few quick shots. During the shoot however I came to the realisation that this was the first time I was co-shooting on a session, same model, same location and same basic concept - so it was very interesting how we both worked with the model and utilised our surroundings and location to our stylistic advantage.
Below are a sample of my final images,
and here are some of Matt's,
After I worked my images I was very happy, but it was unusual seeing Matts and realising just how major the differences were - while mine were quite bold dynamic, vibrant colours and focused a lot on creating shapes - something you would expect more in an editorial. His images had a beautiful airy feel to them, I got much more of a story in his images with desaturated elements and minimal posing. There was something haunting and celestial about the scene in comparison to mine - I loved that. This once again proves that success in an image is more than just having a “good eye” or “nice equipment” but also having the ability to want to carry a style/concept through from the mood boards to the shooting, all the way through to the final edit. I often wonder what my style identity is and while I still think that this is still in development it was interesting to see how my bold, colourful style came through even though I thought me and Matt were on a similar wavelengths.
All in all what I take away from the experience was that I got to share an experience and help out a really nice, creative guy. I’d spent a whole year learning how to say yes to more opportunities and new ventures so it was nice to see I hadn’t lost that during my summer break. I’d learned a lot of different things from my experience of meeting Matt and I hope this leads to more collaborative shoots in the future.