Kevin Mason’s work involves a lot of Go-Sees and Model Tests, mainly with new faces, or up and coming models. He spent a long time working in the commercial fashion industry, for corporate shoots and with Art Directors and large teams. This left him with a longing to find some authenticity in the work he personally produced; a way to rebel against the contouring world of Kardashian clones on his Instagram feed.
Jules Wiegmann – Viva Models
“I wanted to reduce the size of a team, and really limit hair and make-up, and chase some idea of authenticity, authenticity always comes with some kind of intent, I don’t think it can exist without it. On pretty much all of my shoots it’s the Polaroid ‘outtakes’ that the whole team love. That probably says something about my digital photography but anyways, it got me thinking as to why. Why does everyone love a Polaroid and what do I want to do with that information? I have led myself down some blind alleyways, but eventually clear ideas emerged. I think it came about from a picture I just couldn’t shake off, from Stephen Shore and then combined with this. There’s something about the directness, the lack of context, eschewing visual conventions that is still so transfixing about American Surfaces. The reason instant film works so well for me, is that I can scan super hi-res and adjust colour balance but apart from that there is nothing to else to do in post production. It either works or it doesn’t, it isn’t re-touched, which goes hand in hand with the no-makeup, trying to make something that I feel is authentic photo representation of the girl right in front of me.
Lucy – Storm Models
Flash shows the minute differences and the detail, so you can take the same picture again and again and yet each time a new person is revealed.
Modeling is tough and I have a huge admiration for girls that take time out of their day, go and do a GoSee or a Test, don’t get paid, have to turn up at a strangers house, and give so much in the process. Just to hopefully get one or two shots to add to their book, or some more time in front of camera. It’s a fairly one sided exchange, and I guess I want the models to convey a sense of ‘what are you staring?’ When the backlash of ‘no make-up’ on social media happened with the #iwokeuplikethis I was shocked how girls were still totally made up, but just pretending not to be. I think people were starting to forget what a natural face actually looked like. I know I certainly was. I remember a shoot, one in particular, about a year ago, when the model turned up who I had cast, and her face was raw as she hadn’t gone into make-up yet – I felt disappointed in how she looked. And it shocked me, that I felt like that. That I had somehow rejected this notion of what people really look like. In the meantime I have tried to remove all elements of re-touching from my work – even in my beauty work now – and I have started working with a great make-up artist in Berlin, Victoria Reuter. We don’t apply any product to the girls face; zero concealer, foundation, cover-up etc.
Josephine – Iconic Berlin
I knew I loved the SX-70 and the film was always getting better/quicker/more true, so I bought a MINT flash bar. I love flash, I love harsh flash. I also like that up close, the flash bar is blindingly bright. This discovery really opened up the medium to me again. I tried to start making some photos that maybe only I would like, and using harsh flash mainly, and shooting a bit too close. So before this, I was taking shots that were classically beautiful, but they were essentially a bit lost, soft, creamy, kind of romantic and undefined. I definitely fell into a trap of wanting to make beautiful pictures of beautiful people. I think it came from a kind of fear of not wanting someone to dislike the image I took of them. In a GoSee in particular it can kill the session if the model picks up and is disappointed by the photo, but also, it came from wanting people to like my photos and that’s just a very direct, and limiting route one approach. So I stopped doing GoSees, and during this time, I had also become kind of fixated by the work of Bruce Gilden, especially ‘Faces’. It raised so many questions for me, about boundaries, about what people will reveal, about what a photographer will mercilessly show to the public and what is revealed purely in the image. Now I shoot 4-6 shots of a girl and I know if the camera functions well, I’ll have exactly what I need. I like not looking, just flip them face down, let them develop and not think about it. It’s just this raw beauty, and nothing else.”
Header Image: Inga – WeAreModels
Featured Image: Mary – Izaio Models