Vancouver, BC-based photographer Jens Kristian Balle describes his style as “slightly dark and often conceptual, with a bit of quirkiness.” His latest personal project fits right in with that aesthetic. “Not Quite Right” depicts four male models in identical poses and outfits, with one different, peculiar accessory in each image. Jens’ lighthearted, conceptual approach to the series is what makes his work so unique and fun to look at.
The project started out as a single image, but about a year and a half after making that first shot, Jens got the idea to make it into a series. For him, personal work like this has always been a great tool to evolve his style and add to his portfolio.
Back in photography school when I was first starting out one of our teachers kept telling us that personal work is what gets you work, and he couldn’t have been more right. I often get picked for specific project because it relates to my personal work. Whenever you’re out meeting editors, art directors and buyers it’s also great to have some current projects to share with them ... personally, projects like this just satisfy me in a different way than assignment work. I get a lot of ideas and my notebook slowly piles up … so it’s great to get ideas cleared out.
Jens’ main challenge was the technical aspect of the project: he wanted the images to be very consistent, so he had to take extra steps to recreate the same setup as the first shot. He had switched camera systems after making the initial image, so he needed to make many adjustments to compensate for that. As far as preproduction goes, Jens was able to source the talent (all of whom did a great job) from an agency he works with on a regular basis, and take care of the props and wardrobe himself.
Jens has gotten a lot of positive feedback to the images. He has showed them off in a few meetings and used them in a print promotion, and he’s considering working on it more in the future. In the end, he came away with one unexpected lesson:
Red ties are tougher to find than you would expect when it’s not around Christmas time.
To see more of Jens’ work, visit jenskristianballe.com.