So as you can see, the jumpers are disembodied and animated. The concept of the shoot was ‘Catch Me If You Can’ and told a story of a jumper on the run. (I just had an out of body experience rereading that sentence. What is my job if typing a sentence like that seems completely banal?!) We started withthe idea of a ‘fashion victim’ and that’s where myself and the stylist, my friend and colleague Jayne Bibby, ended up. The mood board (created in a pub in Bloomsbury) had lots of references to The Invisible Man - which really made me laugh - particularly this image.
We were commissioned to shoot a still life editorial, which isn’t my comfort zone as I almost always work with models. I’m not so interested in flat lays, my work is all about telling stories, so I wanted to really bring the jumpers to life to create a surreal, dynamic editorial.
We investigated different options for animating and manipulating the jumpers, all the while knowing that a fair amount of post production would be required in Photoshop to make the images look truly surreal. We considered dressing the jumpers on mannequins until Jayne had a conversation with a visual merchandiser and we realised that we would have more flexibility to create a range of poses and movement with invisible string, which can be bought in any haberdashery store, who knew?
Disclaimer: invisible string is a nightmare to work with. At least, it was for those of us who are inexperienced with this tempestuous yarn. We (read 'I') kept forgetting where we had taped the string and because you can't see it, ended up walking into and thereby dismantling, the arrangement that had taken half an hour or more to string up. And on the occasions that I did remember to watch out for the string, but needed to move it, I ended up contorting my body like Vincent Cassel in this scene in Ocean's 12 (no one on set got that reference but I really made myself laugh). Bear in mind I was 5 months pregnant at the time.
There was a rail in the studio so for most of the shots we hung the jumper up with a hanger and used the string to manipulate the jumper into the different scenarios, such as 'The Arrest' etc.