To continue with our Halloween themed blog posts, I decided to highlight the dark, creepy, and super fun project of our Milwaukee-based portrait photographer, David E. Jackson. Recently, David was approached by Shear Chaos Salon to shoot some unique portraits of their staff. They were looking to show off their quirky style and sense of humor through a circus themed photo shoot. David had just two questions for them: “Can it be dark and creepy? And, can it involve knives?”
After receiving two giant yeses, David was completely on board and immediately threw himself into the project,
We loved the idea from the onset and began to bounce conceptual ideas off each other. With over a month of research into old-school circus acts, set construction, logistical planning, pre-production, lighting tests and shooting, we finally made the shoot evolve into a reality. And a lot of really great people came together to make this whole thing happen…
David decided to put as much heart and soul into this assignment as he would any deeply personal project. He and his team put great effort into getting the lighting set ups, costumes, makes up and sets just right, ultimately spending over five weeks on the project. David believes that, “personal work is important to my growth as a photographer. And the shoot we did with Shear Chaos Salon is just that. Personal.”
David reflected on the shoot,
Although we’re well into the early stages of re-envisioning our direction and brand as a photography studio, we look to shoots such as these as not only personal growth but as a means to attain the interest of potential clients.
There are always a few things I could have done differently, both artistically and technically, but hindsight is always 20/20. Most importantly though, we were able to take our vision and make it a reality. We knew our clientele. We had a clear idea of how we wanted to handle the technical aspects. We were able to deliver strong final images that spoke to the identity of Shear Chaos—and we did so through a means of being honest to ourselves, staying true to who we are as creatives and never… EVER… taking ourselves too seriously.
David and his team also put together this fun behind the scenes video of the shoot, complete with appropriate Gogol Bordello music, Shear Chaos Salon Circus Shoot :: Behind The Scenes from David Jackson on Vimeo.
You can view David’s very detailed production notes here (along with lighting diagrams, equipment checklists and set design information).