Torn between tradition and rebellion, there's a constant clash within me as an artist. I gaze at most beauty campaigns these days and feel an undertow of ennui. It's like the heart and soul of the photographer – that raw, untamed artistry – has taken a backseat. The campaigns now seem sterile, bereft of the experimental boldness that defined the '90s. Perhaps the intention is to thrust the product into the limelight, a strategic move no doubt, but I am of the conviction that the human mind is ensnared by the tendrils of vivid artistry.
This internal strife leads me down paths untraveled, often making my shots a gamble - a wild card. But as Wayne Gretzky once said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." So, I'd rather take the risk, weave a narrative, and steer clear of the monotony of white or grey backdrops. After all, my roots are entwined with photojournalism.
My partner in creative crime, Charlie Riddle, a makeup maestro with a clientele featuring the cream of the crop of Cannes, joined forces with me on this wild ride. Together, we adopted the moniker "Team Fabulous" – a testament to the synergy of our creativity. When Stila approached us to conjure imagery for their new product, "Hot Pursuit", my adrenaline-junkie, former military self lit up like a Christmas tree.
Fast cars, blistering motion, and a dash of golden hour – a perfect cocktail for the tomboy in me. The mood board we crafted reeked of the electrifying spirit of the "Need for Speed" games, particularly the vibrant Californian landscapes bathed in the glow of a setting sun.
The battleground was my Tribeca studio, armed with Elinchrom's ELC lighting system. A smorgasbord of gels, their hues picked from the palette of our mood board via Adobe Color, painted our set with an array of colors. My weapon of choice was a Nikkor 105 macro lens, married to my Nikon Z7, tethered to Capture One on my computer.
Through the eye of my macro lens, a prism danced, bringing a touch of magic to each shot. All the special effects you see here were born in-camera, captured true to their essence on the sensor. The only embellishments added in post-production were some deft skin retouching, courtesy of the incredible Alex Growd.
This was a project that thrived on audacity – a no-holds-barred celebration of artistry, a homage to the vibrant hues of life, and a nod to the relentless pace of the hot pursuit we are all part of. Whether I hit the mark or missed it in the eyes of the world, only time will tell. But one thing is certain, the spirit of the '90s, that bold urge to experiment and push boundaries, was very much alive in every frame.
Model: Ksenia маlуuкova

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