1. Narrative video and photoshoot: Explanation

In my first photoshoot I wanted to show the inception of my fundamental idea for my project and the source of the inspiration I draw from flowers as a topic of my work. The narrative photoshoot I made attempts to show the centrality of flowers in my family’s history. The video itself illustrates how flowers connect three generations of my family. As the art director of this photoshoot I chose the place (my grandfather’s home), the models (family members) and decided the narrative I wished to capture (life-cycle, time-lapse, flowers-as-memories). I take this photoshoot to be an integral part of my project and vital for the development of the conceptual side of my work. Beginning with the place of the photoshoot, my grandfather’s home is intimately connected to the memory of my grandfather and specifically his love for flowers. In addition, I specifically chose to work with my family members rather than professionals as models for this particular photoshoot because – while more challenging from a photographer’s point of view – as an art director I wanted my narrative to convey an authentic, rather than artificial, show of emotions. In the process of organising the photoshoot I became increasingly aware that the narrative of my grandfather and his love for flowers was indeed the narrative experienced by my models when photographed.

As a photographer I wanted to bring this family connection to the forefront of my photoshoot. The basisof my narrative are two old photograph of my grandparents next to flowers (1 in garden and 1 next to a vase with flowers). One of the steps I took in my role as photographer was to reconstruct the familial memories these old photographs conjured in the photographs that I took. I asked my models (my parents and my sister and her partner) to pose in a way that would express both the sentiment of the photographs as well as personal memories of my grandparents.

As a stylist I took great care to emphasise the linkages between the old/contemporary photographs. Like my photographic choices, my stylistic approach was intended to create a memory bridge – I wanted my models also to represent alternate versions of my grandparents and their timeline and all these were connected by the presence of flowers in the photoshoot space.

While this photoshoot is meant to illustrate a narrative which is predominantly personal, all the organisational processes involved to carry it through were drawn by my experience of how the fashion industry works (for instance I collaborated with 2 womenswear designers, 1 accessories designer, 1 menswear boutique, 2 flower shops and 2 makeup artists). I understand this photoshoot to be the cornerstone of any subsequent photoshoot I have done or plan doing precisely because it enables a clear view of the potency of flowers to express themes like life-cycle, time-lapse, emotions. As such, this photoshoot is the conceptual lynchpin for my photoshoots that have a more explicit fashion function and purpose.

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