Falling for Maxwell
Updated: Aug 23, 2020
Once upon a time... this Actor turned Model turned wannabe blogger tried to turn a phrase and write an opening line to change story telling forever. Something as grand as those clichés that begin romance novels and fairy tales, something epic and swoon worthy. But I could think of nothing other than the ultimate classic. Although in this case that might be 'just right' 👱🏻♀️🐻🐻🐻. After all, it's a classic for a reason.
So without further ado... (And in the voice of Morgan Freeman.)
Once upon a time, Jess met Maxwell, and he captured her in a way unlike anybody else before him. They worked together, they nattered away without pause, she climbed to the tallest rung of the tallest ladder, and later, he strolled home and hand developed their film in a dark room. But neither of them were in the dark for too long. The images found their way to Photoshop Lightroom and both Jess and Maxwell loved the results. And they shared those images with their friends who also loved them. Maxwell and Jess hoped to meet and work together again soon. It was the beginning of something wonderful. Some even say a blog was written about their tale, but who is to know if that's true? All we can know for sure is that they both lived happily ever after.
Okay so I'm not going to make the New York Times best sellers list, but I think I really encapsulated the spirit of the collaboration between myself and Maxwell Falls. As with most photographers I have worked with, we met via Instagram and initially began discussing ideas for a shoot in Birmingham city centre which would see me don a neon suit and stand on a roof top. But that didn't work out and instead we began looking towards a more romantic fashion aesthetic in a studio.
Max suggested RAW Studios in Halesowen, Birmingham, and after obsessing over their renovation pics throughout lock down, I couldn't have been happier to agree. RAW Studios are sponsored by Pixapro and they have three themed studios for hire; a white wall/natural light studio, a grunge area and a prop and furniture studio. They have multiple backdrops and props available, and a whole host of lighting options to be enjoyed. The team were really accommodating and knowledgeable, they were actively practicing social distancing and it felt both a safe and creative space. Quite a feat in the Corona Virus chaos of August of 2020.
Studio booked, we refined our desired outcome. Our inspiration for the shoot drew on pastel tones, soft lighting, and floral props. But even while planning and mood-boarding (if that isn't a dictionary legit phrase, let's just agree I have coined it okay? cool) I was excited to get into the studio space and make use of the gorgeous props and unique pieces of furniture I had seen on their Instagram feed. So my Pinterest board grew from a romantic, floral feast, into something a little more niche:
Planning done, outfits packed and smokey eye applied, I drove out to the studio with my trusty suitcase in tow and quickly found myself in the RAW studio dressing room taking FULL advantage of the gorgeous lighting. I convinced myself that every selfie I was taking was a Behind the Scenes shot, and therefore very useful. Though why I had to justify it as a BTS selfie, and not just accept it as the I-am-living-for-this-lighting-selfie that it was I'm still not sure. Selfies should be celebrated. If you are feeling yourself, celebrate it! Capture it! We're too often judged for the most minor of things, least of for being confident and feeling empowered, and I bet most of us would say our worst critic is our own inner voice. So when that voice has a friendly tone, embrace that kindness. Show yourself a little more love and be unapologetic about it.
And in the spirit of showing love; let me explain why this blog is entitled Falling for Maxwell. First of all, it's a brilliant play on our protagonist's name. Maxwell Falls. I mean I couldn't have made up a better name for a hero could I?
No. The answer is no. I'm not THAT good of a writer.
But on top of having a stellar name for a leading man, Maxwell is also just a great guy. Max burst into studio 2 after battling witches, dragons and evil enchantments... and by that I of course mean he fought his way to victory over the traffic and roadworks of the M5. It was an epic entrance, and as these stories always seem to unfold, the rest of the tale is pretty much without glitch! We worked really well together. Max has an untameable energy, he is truly as dynamic as his work. Jumping from thought to thought, switching from lens to lens - or even camera to camera - in the blink of an eye or shift of pose. It was masterful movement.
Max shot 'with a mixture of film & digital on Canon cameras, including a 25 year old film camera that was typically used by fashion photographers during the mid-late 90s. As well as the pro SLR cameras, there was also a cheap, automatic Halina point & shoot camera (like what your nan would have used on holiday at the caravan!), which was used for playing around to get those random, more classic, vintage feeling BTS photos in-between getting the main shots. - Maxwell Falls, 2020.
And it turns out that as Max was majestically working with all of those cameras, we had been following a similar wave length where the props and furniture were concerned. We shot through the ladder, on the ladder, in the tub, behind the tub, on the shelf above the tub... Apologies to the RAW Studio's staff reading this if that was a big insurance no no. I'm fine I promise! Nobody needs all 10 toes!
Now, enough about the casualties and back to my epic tale. While shooting, Max used a crystal ball to tell me my fortune... No not really, but he did us a crystal prism to create reflections and manipulate the light into odd patterns. At one point he reflected my feet right next to my face, thankfully that shot didn't make the cut. Unless you came here for that kind of thing, in which case I offer you the following as consolation: now it's not a fairy tale romance, but it's certainly a film Max and I discussed among others once the subject of feet came up;
It was a real head spinner (or twister) working with Maxwell Falls; his speed and generosity with creative ideas makes for a fast paced and fun experience. It was a new way of working for me, and an occasion I'd like to say I rose to. But I am sure you will decide that for yourself as we head into the final chapter of our tale where, we find a small selection of the final images, more of which will be uploaded later in the week.
The work we created are subtle and soft, they contain a tenderness that I don't think I showcase too often. So I'd like to thank Max for creating an environment and atmosphere within which that could be seen and captured. ~ It was all a dream come true. ~
For the tech inclined folks reading, the focal lengths typically used were 35, 40, 50mm & 80mm. The main film stock shot on was Kodak Professional Portra 400 used in the pro SLR, as well as Kodak ColorPlus 200 in the point & shoot camera. All the film was hand developed at home using C-41 Colour Negative Chemicals and scanned to digital files using a Fuji Frontier pro scanner. And finally, the equipment used was a Canon EOS 200dG DSLR, Canon EOS 50e 35mm SLR, Halina EasyVision MotorS, Kodak Professional Portra 400, Kodak ColorPlus 200, PrismLensFX Triangle, Prism PixaPro KINOII 600 Strobes.
Website: Maxwell Falls