'I was hoping for some snow on the ground and with my good karma, we got the snow I wanted.'
Tom Nakielski, Lights On Studio
Most regular readers of FH are aware that seasonal changes play a big part in the shoots and themes I choose to feature. As a lover of art and photography, I am tuned into to the visual changes that ebb and flow throughout the year. In addition to my passion (obsession) for holiday themed imagery, I love finding images that reflect what I am experiencing and seeing around me. Vibrant colors in spring, the heat, deep blues and green in summer, the orange and reds in Autumn. Although rain has temporarily vanquished the blanket of white I have experienced since late December, the snow will undoubtedly be back very soon.
Although my passion for winter, and my love of snow has been at times been challenging to maintain, I still get excited at the first snow, and continue to anticipate the onset of winter. Growing up and living in an area known for it's harsh winters, I see myself as bit of an expert on snow, especially in photographs, and can usually spot a winter background and fake snow right away. I even did piece a few years ago about the use of fake snow, especially in movies and on TV. (Faking It)
I don't mind fake snow in art, I understand it's necessity, especially considering location, and the struggles of shooting which such a wet, cold and unpredictable prop. This is especially true when a naked model is involved. It can be more than just challenging, but also downright dangerous, especially with the dangerous temperatures so many have experienced over the last few weeks. That being said, many photographers and models brave the cold, and risk the elements to head out into the snow to obtain that perfect winter background for their shot.
When Lights On Studio's Tom Nakielski sent on his work with model Michael Moody, I initially assumed I was enjoying winter themed images shot in Tom's studio. I had previously featured several of Tom's winter themed studio shoots including Après-Ski from January 2016. Turns out I was only half right about Tom's recent work with Michael. Although there are certainly some studio shots included here, the main shoot occurred with Tom, and a barely dressed Michael, braving the cold outside in a snow covered cemetery this past December.
Tom and Michael first got together on December 21st. They shot in Tom's Michigan studio in addition to some work in a warehouse. When it was time to quit, Tom noticed they hadn't had a chance to shoot Michael in his military-style overcoat, and Tom had some ideas for the coat that he really wanted to creatively incorporate in a shoot. Although he lives in Chicago, Michael said he be back in town for the holidays, so they arranged a time to shoot again. This time, Tom wanted to move out of the studio, and hopefully, into the snow.
' I only had an hours time to work with Michael on the second shoot so I had the studio background set up and the lights in place so we began the shoot in the studio. When he arrived we cut to the chase and got right to work. No chit-chat. We both had a mission to accomplish as much as possible in an hours time. With a few light adjustments we were on our way. During the session, I wanted to get something that wasn't just a standard shot. I told Michael that it was freezing out, the wind was blowing in his face. He was in a battle with the forces of nature. His grimace conveys the bitterness of the snow pelting his face. Michael's acting skills were a great asset to getting the expression in this shot!'
'Next, it was time to experience that cold for real. I had scoped out the cemetery and thought it would be perfect for a session. I was hoping for some snow on the ground and with my good karma, we got the snow I wanted. We headed out to the cemetery and once again we went straight to work. Michael immediately was working with the environment and showing me some poses. He was patient as I set up a speed light to enhance the images. Did I mention how cold it was? It was cold, but he never complained. I did enough complaining about the cold to compensate for the two of us. Amazingly we managed to get both some studio shots and the location shots at the cemetery in an hours time. Most of my session take 3 - 5 hours.'
Michael combined his rugged sexy look along with his acting and theatre background to battle the elements, both inside as well as outside while shooting in the cemetery. Although Michael didn't complain about the cold, you'll notice that his long johns stayed wisely and firmly on while working outside. I understand why Tom was motivated to schedule a second shoot as the military coat looks great on Michael and is perfect for the wintery theme in Tom's blizzard inspired shoot.