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The Elegance Network: Browsing Ariel: When you play the Game you win or you die!
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Ariel Anderssen
Ariel: When you play the Game you win or you die!

I'm not going to write a story for you, I think these pictures tell a thousand words all on their own. I love them, they're some of my favourites from the last couple of years. What I maybe will do is to tell you a little about how we shot them.

One of the great pleasures of our location trips to Spain in August is that we're virtually guaranteed stunning light at golden hour at the end of each day (unlike at home, where golden hour is often more like drag grey and drizzle hour). We always try to keep something special for the last set of the day as a result, and this time it was Ariel's awesome steampunk corset. But we didn't really have any steampunk costume or props to complement it- so I wondered about putting a white satin dress underneath it. We didn't know if it would work, but it totally did- and suddenly it all looked very Game of Thrones. So Ariel quickly redid her makeup and hair style (Ariel is fabulously creative with hair styling- and very quick, which is a real gift when you know you're racing the setting sun for Golden Hour).

The moonrise behind her was just the icing on the cake. All I had to do with the lighting was not cock it up. I couldn't do no lighting- it would have been far too contrasty, even with Golden Hour. I wanted to emphasise the warm tones of the setting sun, so I needed something which would hold a bit of neutrality in the shot, to contrast with the increasingly honeyed tone of the sun light itself. One of the reasons I like the Hasselblad so much is the leaf shutter lenses, which can flash sync at up to 1/800th of a second. This gives me a creative choice of how to balance the sky, the highlight and the shadows, all of which are really important elements in how these shots look. It's also a simple enough set-up for me to change the exposure on the fly as I moved around Ariel- the look when shooting her against the setting sun vs. shooting back with her in the sunlight and the moon behind have different requirements to get everything to really pop.

All of this takes almost as long to type as it did to shoot- at golden hour you can't muck around, the light is GOING and you need to know what you're doing. It was helped very much by Ariel tying her own legs while I set up, so I just had to "finish her off" :-) The main problem she had was that this year has been extremely dry in the south of Spain, and as a result the vegetation was totall parched... and it seemed like absolutely EVERY damn plant was spined, spiked, globular and spiky, long and thin and spiky, serrated, or otherwise prone to embed itself in you at less than no provocation. I stabbed myself in the head with a cactus bending down to adjust a light, and Ariel was frankly very brave taking her shoes off to model barefoot for me because the ground was covered in centimetre-sized balls of dried, razor-sharp balls of impaling ouch. I think I had to rescue her from them a couple of times as she moved and posed to add the extra drama and expressiveness to the photos which make her Restrained Elegance's best ever model.

We loved shooting the photos nonetheless, and watching them back on the laptop at dinner that night there were a lot of "oh wows!" from everyone. We hope you like them too!

If for some reason you haven't checked out Game of Thrones on DVD yet, do it! It's full of fantasy, melodrama, betrayal... but also an awful lot of sex, very beautifully shot. The cinematography alone is worth the price of entry.

85 pics 35.85 MB zip

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