Inspirations: Fashion Safari

This is the first in what’s going to be a regular feature on my blog: anecdotes and notes on my inspirations for past shoots.
I’ve worked with Jason Loo before, so we’ve developed a mutual trust in each other’s abilities and skills — I know he can strike some awesome poses, he knows I can shoot some awesome photos, no big whoop — so I was tickled pink when he asked me to create a custom themed shoot.
He had just gotten back from American Idol auditions in San Francisco and had picked up a cool wooden elephant necklace. He wanted me to build a shoot around that little, wooden souvenir. Boy, what a challenge.
I started thinking about safaris, specifically African Safaris, the kind you read about as a child. Then, I started to think about how to stage a safari. First, I narrowed it down to some basic elements: attire, weapons and animal prey. I should mention here that one of my major inspirations is Michel Gondry (“The Science of Sleep”, “Be Kind Rewind”, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”). The man is a genius and the detail he puts into his sets and his props is astounding. He also uses cardboard a lot, which is a low-tech approach I highly admire.
So, the night before the shoot I sat and created these cardboard props to fill this fantasy world. The toughest challenge was the pith helmet (not shown here), getting it to look and read like a flat 2-dimensional object was a puzzle.
Add in some purple gloves and a snazzy outfit with lapels and you’ve got yourself one surreal safari.