When Prevention magazine’s Helen Cannavale called me up with an assignment to illustrate a story about the effects of sleep deprivation on the workforce, I immediately knew we were going to have a bit of fun on the shoot.
Based on the journalist’s findings, Helen and I bounced ideas around about what it means to be half asleep at work. We figured the model should be wearing a night gown and slippers to make it obvious that she should still be in bed. Then we came up with three work situations that can be caused by being overly tired. The first being a good nap on your desk, the second being a portrait of a cold, which tired people are more prone to, and the third showing clumsiness and irritability. Yeah, good times.
We scouted the workspaces at Prevention’s midtown office and found a corner with a few (mostly) empty rooms that worked out very nicely. We could set up there and be out off everybody’s way for the duration of the shoot. Then Helen worked her magic. First she booked the beautiful red haired Jana Schoep (Ford Models), who totally fit the color palette, did some nice acting and was a great sport on top of it. Then she got Jane Choi to do hair & make-up. Jane is a true artist and has worked with some great photographers and film makers. She did makeup on Bill Clinton and Christopher Walken for Martin Schoeller, for instance. Great Stuff. She can do nice and subtle and she can do nice and over the top. Here she turned our healthy, happy, well-rested model into a cold-suffering insomniac on the verge. After Jane was done with the makeup I kept wanting to apologize to our model for still needing her around for a few hours.
Maria-Stefania (Halley Resources) was the stylist and she put together a good outfit that worked well within that red, purple and blue color combo of a cold sufferer’s face.
We shot with a Mamiya RZ and a tethered Phase One back. We used Profoto Acutes to light the backgrounds and as fill lights and a ringflash as the main light because I wanted to get that “deer-in-the-headlights”-feel. The ringflash produced also some red eyes in the model, an effect that we didn’t expect (this was only my second shoot with it) but that we happily accepted. No, wait, wait: That we didn’t lose any sleep over. HA!