Model Portfolio: Kelly #NSFW

The fire exit near the Penthouse Studio has always been a challenging spot to shoot in because of the light's harshness most of the day. But it was this window around 2PM that gave the best position for a partially back-lit setting. It was just a matter of placing a reflector at Kelly's right flank. 

I'm sure if the neighbors looked up... 

Either the bear feels lucky or sexually harassed. He looks quite suffocated with affection. Hehehe. Again, more back-lit with reflector setup going on. 

I used to ignore this red wall, until a fellow photographer exploited that area and got amazing harsh-light fashion shots. Thanks Gus for the tip!

It takes a certain kind of model to pull off a shot with a ring flash, and Kelly did an amazing job. 

These are the kinds of models who have the right proportions, who don't need to be well-endowed to look sexy. Plus she has the abs to boot too. Simple beauty setups using one brolly and a reflector does the job on her.

Production Credits:
Make-up: Jet Babas
Styling: Hannah Kim (MIA)
Model: Kelly Harris Bernal


Creativity Exercises #1: The Best Day Ever

Personal Note: Creative training with Raffy is like going through an eye of a needle. I would consider the dude my sparring partner in brainstorming for most of the concepts, cosplay or what not.

Before I forget most of them, I'm thinking of writing them down here in DA. Some of you who might be curious enough, could try it and see if it does produce results in flexing your creative juices. This particular one, I learned from a former boss of mine in an ad agency where I used to work.

  1. Create a 30-minute interval timeline of your typical day in the life, any day of the week. This is from the time you wake-up, until you get to bed.
  2. In each interval, write a short description of what you were supposed to be doing. Be concise. It doesn't have to describe much detail, as long as there is a particular action being described. You don't have to fill up all the timeslots if there is nothing really happening.
  3. Now, there are two ways of going about this: Old-school (3A) or Digital (3B)
  • 3A) Get a stockpile of magazines, newspapers, old photos, etc... Find an image that best suits the description and situation you made on each timeslot. Cut it up (if you can) and place it right beside the description and timeslot.
  • 3B) Use the net and find images through Google, Getty, etc... Using MS Word, InDesign, etc... layout the images alongside the timeslot and description you made.
Ignore the descriptions you made, and juxtapose the images and the timeslots. 

What you have in front of you is a basic structure for a storyboard: images laid out against a particular timeline.

What's crucial here now is analyzing the images you chose. Is it a far shot? Is it a close up? Is there anybody else in the shot? Subliminally, how you crop your images and composed them is a sneak peak at your creative muscle flexing itself. It can appear simple, but it is there.

The heart and soul of a TVC (TV Commercial) comes from a storyboard produced by an art director. The point of the exercise is that it teaches us to structure our way of imagining things against time, and considerations against time which are, position of the sun, what clothes are worn throughout the day, people's expression, etc... which could also translate in how we pick the shots. Why a close-up in the morning? Do you look at yourself in the mirror first thing you wake up? Why a picture of a cereal? Etc...

It makes us conscious of our subliminal creative choices. By doing so, we start to control the visuals we present in our heads and organize them in a more formalized manner. It is bound to a particular element; in this case it's time. Creativity is something spontaneous, but by presenting handicaps and scenarios makes us learn things out of the box. Imagination is tied on to a leash of reality. This is especially crucial if you're interested in Advertising, since you're paid to think creatively.

Of course, this exercise isn't a magical pill that once you do, you're automatically more creative than before. This is something you'd have to faithfully practice at least on a regular basis, until you brain starts to take it on as second nature.

In photography, this works best for fashion editorials and situationals since both have the element of time or at least a sequence of events presented. Eventually, you'd learn to drop the timeline and just rely on the images on a sequential basis as your pegs for the shoot. With even more practice, you could forego the entire paper altogether and mentally picture the sequences.

There is also a version suited for people in the advertising industry.

This above-said version of the exercise looks into just one (1) particular day, so we could say it's a vertical linear timeline from morning until evening. Let's go horizontal for a change and take that snapshot of yourself let's say every 7:00am, but 7:00am from Monday to Friday. Time is now locked at 7:00am, so what are we looking for here? Spatial (not special mind you) elements. Answer the following questions as precise as you can:
  1. What are the items you see around you within that timeslot?
  2. Of those items you listed, which ones have a brand?
  3. Of the ones with a brand, select one and describe your emotional / mental state when using that product.
The last question is the clincher. Since it's the one that attaches an experience with a brand, and not just some random item. This is another basis for creating a storyboard: a TVC that appeals to you emotion. Hence you see emotions as one of the primary come-on tools in advertising. It's not so much about the products' features and competence, but the supposed "good" experience you get out of using them.


Geekology 2.0: Analysis of Archetypes

Author's Note: Hindsight is always 20/20. There's always something you'd end up skipping when you write things the first time around. So if you happen to purchase the 2nd book and been patient enough to read the text, you could all this an append to the Archetypes section.

Just a quick refresher from the book, an archetype is defined as the basis from which all character design comes from. They are either created by a single person or group of people, then introduced into the public as fact. 

My first example from the book would be The Joker, and how his archetype is broken down to the visual elements you see. Any other clown not wearing the same clothes, or make-up simply isn't akin to The Joker. Much the same way as how we know what makes Batman, well... Batman -- by recalling the visual elements that reminds us of the overall archetype. 

Characters are created through a variety of ways as vast as one's imagination can offer. This oversimplified list is by no means an attempt to classify the only ways to come up with characters to a few methods. I suggest viewing this as something like a skeleton road map to understand how our imagination can come up with all sorts of creations especially to building archetypes. Something where we could get some points to jump off from to get the thought process started. 

More often than not, as original as some characters may sound, at the heart of their creation, they would always be inspired by some other outside source. 

References and Amalgams
  • Historical Reference
    These are archetypes created from historical context -- either from actual people or a mixture of several. One solid example would be Kenshin Himura (Samurai X or Rorouni Kenshin). The events in the anime was based from Japanese history to begin with, but Kenshin's in particular was from this actual samurai, Kawakami Gensai who was known for his legendary swordsmanship skills during the late Edo period.
  • Romanticized ReferenceUnlike historical sources, these characters are built upon the foundations of older mythology and literature. Superman was partly inspired from biblical and mythological characters such as Samson and Hercules as Siegel and Shuster later on explained in interviews.

    These are the characters whose archetype design is based on more established "templates". The referencing can be a direct relationship, or an amalgam of other sources. Eventually as other characters are created, the established ones become the references. Bizarro is anchored to Superman and without the latter to establish the archetype, the character in question (Bizarro) doesn't gain much foothold.
  • Generic Reference
    These are characters born from a generalized set of parameters not akin to any particular person. We derive a persona from nameless traits describing a particular set or subset in society. In a sense, the character created from this method can either be a championed or stereotyped version.

    The Japanese school girl or the sailor fuku wardrobe in particular has spawned numerous characters based on its generic archetype design. You could see them from 90s arcade games (e.g. Rival Schools), movies (Gogo Yubari), the zombie anime (High School of the Dead) to classics such as Neon Genesis Evangelion.
The amount of referencing varies between character to character, and doesn't have any strict requirement to follow. Furthermore, the discernment of a character's source inspirations are at the discretion of the creator. "The Bride" in Kill Bill as portrayed by Uma Thurman is a homage to Bruce Lee, but the iconic tracksuit was just as far as the "The Bride" character references from him. 

Character and Aliases
We also have established characters such as Superman and Batman eventually having gained secondary names and references:
  • The Caped Crusader
  • The Dark Knight
  • Man of Steel
It's like having another layer of fiction encapsulating an already established one. This only happens when certain characters gain a level of popularity and cements their existence in pop culture. 


Model Portfolio: Andrea Torres

The last time I worked with Andrea was for a TV magazine show back in the day when she was 14-15 I think. Fast-forward and I get this gorgeous woman in front of the lens. How time flies and I just dated myself there. 

Working with an actress brings an extra dimension to these kinds of shoots. They can imbibe a character and connect with the viewer almost effortlessly. Andrea has this natural sexiness with her, and all she needs to do is just stare at you with seeming intent. Next thing you know, you're just caught up in her gaze and your jaw drops.

I wanted to do some "natural" lit shots for the first set, but sunlight was beyond my grasp that time of day. So I had to fake it by placing softboxes and grids in along doorways and corners where the light would be streaking in if the sun was out.  

The weather was bi-polar. So from rain one minute, it was hella hot the next. I couldn't complain though since we're getting more than enough light we needed. The next series were all lit with natural light. 

By the time this is up, we still have a few days left to cast your vote for FHM's 100 Sexiest. Let's push babe to No. 1.

Production Credits
Make-up: Effie Go
Hair: Kenjie Apostadero
Styling: Hannah Kim
Model: Andrea Torres

Special thanks to Mike Tuviera and Mike Uycoco of Triple A management.


Creativity Exercises #3: Missing Senses

People with their five (5) nominal senses functioning normally take them for granted. For this exercise, I imagined what if we put ourselves into the situation of people with disabilities? Let's start the exercise with a question:
How do you describe blue to a blind person?
This was actually one question that was asked in a class of creative writing when I was taking up my MA in UP Diliman (which I didn't get to graduate from). How you want to answer it, is really up to you. What's important is that you have to make a blind person experience the color blue.
(Of course, I will not leave you guys hanging just on that thread.)