Is it a flag? Is it a tent? No—it’s a towel! Vancouver-based photographer Evaan Kheraj just finished a shoot with NUVO Magazine, and he turned towels into something pretty awesome. We asked Evaan to tell us more about his time with these terrific towels.
First off, how did you get involved with this project?
I work regularly with NUVO Magazine. The art director, Mark Reynolds, has many amazing ideas in his mind vault and we have been working for several years together putting these ideas on paper. This assignment started like all the others, with an email that read “Hey Evaan, are you available to shoot?”
I enjoy taking the ordinary and making it weird, that’s my style. Mark is always trying to push the envelope of normal and that’s my specialty. So whenever I get an email from him, my reply is always yes.
The towels look so still, and some take such interesting shape. How did you accomplish this?
A lot of patience and letting magic happen. We knew the towels were going to be a fickle object to work with. They flop, they slide, they crease, they fall, they fall, and did I mention they fall? The foundation of the shoot was to create interesting abstractions with the towels and, as much as possible, let the organic nature of the towels help shape the images. We used a series of poles to act as obstacles for the towels to interact with. We had some general shapes we wanted to try but a lot of the images were borne out of a process of playing around with the towels—after all, shouldn’t work be fun? Once we had a shape we liked, we then started to tweak and take images from varied angles. Using various weighted clips, we were able to get the towels to straighten out or hold a curve. Using odd angles with the camera we were able to distort perspective and bring the towels to life. I am lucky to get to work on these sorts of projects where the entire team gets involved in the creative process.
What was involved in the planning/preproduction for the shoot?
The planning was fairly straight-forward. Get towels, get series of rods, and figure out a lighting style. Mark had a series of lighting references; I then assembled the appropriate gear. The reason I like these projects is because of the actual freedom on set to explore. My best work is produced this way. You can plan, sketch, look at tear sheets until you are blue in the face. If you let work evolve on set and adapt to the changing nature of creativity, you will get amazing results.
Did you face any challenges with this shoot?
If the walls had ears and eyes they would have heard the curses at the Tommy Hilfiger towel and seen the numerous times it fell to the ground. While it looks perfectly still in the photo, it most certainly contributed to a few premature grey hairs. But challenges on set are merely opportunities for amazeballs moments. We eventually got the shot we were after and of course it just happens to be the image to lead the story.
What was your favorite part of this project?
Every time we perfected each towel look it was like solving a complicated puzzle. It felt really good to look at that finished piece and know we created something that resonated with each of us on set—that’s real team work from tip to tail.
To view more of Evaan’s work, visit evaan.ca!