On the day of the shoot with Norse projects, I went to meet Kristine Wold, the stylist for the shoot, at her flat in Norrebro, Copenhagen. I had done a bit of location scouting a couple days before, and thanks to a few tips she had given me when we first met, I’d found some interesting spots dotted around her neighbourhood. The area was beautiful – streets lined with beautiful old apartments and peaceful little shops and cafes. At one end it became a little more ‘urban’, with graffiti on the walls and some tattooed fellas who seemed to be having a ‘debate’. I’d just sat down in a pretty café to write an email when no more than 5 minutes later a police van turned up, siren blaring. See more… Five armed men jumped out and rushed into the park opposite. When I asked the waitress what was going on, she told me it was normal. There was a gang of drug dealers who used that area as it was easy for them to scatter if the police arrived. Laughing, she told me that Norrebro is sometimes humorously referred to as NorreBronx. No one in the café appeared at all put out, and sat sipping lattes and watching the spectacle unfold with seeming amusement.
As I entered the courtyard of Kristine’s apartment building, I found Vitus, our model for the day, relaxing on a park bench. We greeted and started to chat. He tells me that his Mum used to model for Scoop Models, the same agency he is with. Diana, the head booker at Scoop, had spotted her in the street. When I asked him if he’d got into modelling through his mother, he laughs. It turned out that the same woman who had spotted his mother had stopped him while he was walking home (nursing a“huge” hangover, he admitted) to ask him if he wanted to model. They had only realised the connection later.
A few minutes later, Kristine came down, cup of tea in hand, and we moved up to her apartment to gather the clothes and load them on to her cycle wagon, or Christiania bike as it is called in Copenhagen.
We travelled to an ancient graveyard for our first shot. It was surrounded by brick walls, and inside it was vast, with large areas of grass and beautiful old trees. I don’t normally use parks as a location, but while scouting I had found a clearing under the trees that really caught my eye.
For the shoot, Kristine dressed Vitus in the bubble wool suit with a navy blue sweater underneath, then dressed it down further with trainers and a cap.
After the park, we headed back towards Kristine’s flat to shoot by some striking apartments. Here, she put Vitus in a thick roll neck sweater and jeans with an Elka waterproof jacket, a new line by Norse that come in blue, yellow and maroon, in either a short or long version. Kristine picked the long style in maroon to complement the look.
The next shot was in the same location, but Vitus wore a white poplin shirt with a Armor-Lux style long sleeved t-shirt over the top.
I wanted to use the location were I’d witnessed the police raid before, just to make the most of what the NorreBronx had to offer! I have a few different shots from this area but my favourite was an ‘in between shot’ of Vitus checking his phone whilst sat on Kristine’s Christiania bike. I liked how the outfit ended up as a kind of Copenhagen/Manchester fusion; rolled up chinos, a classic Copenhagen look, with a green military shirt which was reminiscent of the jackets Manchester lads and ladettes have been rocking since Liam Gallagher first brandished his middle finger in the 90’s.
Finally, we walked over to Kristine’s local second hand bookshop to get the last shot of the day. Norse have a matching set of pants, shirt and jacket in a thick navy blue cotton. The jacket also comes in camo, which Kristine partnered with the rest of the outifit.
Geeky lighting info:
For this shoot I used my Profoto Acute B 600 battery pack and head with built in Profoto remote, firing into a parabolic Paul C. Buff ‘softsilver’ medium size umbrella with the white diffusion cover on. This light is very similar to a Photek softlighter or an octabox. The Profoto pack has been my workhorse for the trip, and I love it. The new iLife battery is light and it is such a consistent and capable light source.
I usually shoot with the sun to the side and slightly behind the model, and place the light on the same side. I pull it round a little so that the fill creeps around further than the natural light normally would, so the sun provides a rim, but the light provides fill. Done right, it still looks natural because the light is coming from the same direction, and there is still a shadowed side which creates more interest in the frame but is filled in a little so as not to be too dark. Because the light source is so large, you can get the fill to ‘wrap around’ the model. Where you position it will determine how strong the wrap around is. It is a bit of a balancing act, as too far over, and the fill starts to look fake, but not far enough and the shadows are too deep and model becomes a silhouette. This was mid day when we shot this so the sun was quite high. When that is the case, I like to make sure the light is quite high too, so the shadows fall in the right place. I don’t go as high as the sun because again, I’m looking to lessen the shadows – it’s a balance here too.