Exciting brand, exciting concept and awesome shooting.
I met the owner of Equil through my exhibition, Femalography, back in 2007. He basically wanted to make a new ad campaign, sustaining its existing theme: “Equilibrium”, which means balance. The old ads showed two naked dancers in a balanced configuration. The owner told me, “Make it more dynamic. Make it more dynamite.” A simple, clear order.
It however took us more than a year to have the concept finally executed. After designing the movement etc, the real challenge was to find the models: one man, one woman, both willing to be naked, got to be really good dancers and must look good together. My team and I searched hard. Hard enough to make us called our contacts all over the world. To make it short, we got them in a small city in Holland, called Tilburg. I introduce you, Maarten and Fleur.
We flew them to my studio in Jakarta in mid 2008 and shot for a couple of days. I could not say it was an easy session. Fleur was injured on the first day, couldn’t even lift her arm. Luckily we have the magical Chinese massage in town. Synchronizing the movement was also painful, as we wanted to do it as perfect as possible to avoid digital imaging as much as possible. We sometimes used trampoline and sling, only if necessary.
You might wonder, how does it feel to watch nudity in a photo shoot? Is it like what you guys (and probably girls) see on blue movies? What would cross our mind seeing a woman’s most private part hanging 50 cm in front of your nose? Or a man’s? Well, let me tell you honestly. If you are serious in photography, you would not feel a thing. I mean it. Nudity is never a big deal in fine arts. We have seen naked models since grade 2 in university, especially in our drawing classes.
When I photographed my first nude session back in 1996, I was alone with the naked model. I thought I would have been aroused a bit, but I (unfortunately and fortunately) wasn’t. Unfortunately I said, as it scared me. I thought I wasn’t normal (unless you’re a gay, you would feel the same). Being with a beautiful naked model in a dark studio should have given a sensation, at least. But anyway, it didn’t. Shit, I thought. I got to be freakin’ ‘incapable’ or something. Fortunately, I later knew that I was just fine (don’t ask me how I knew). And fortunately also, as I never get distracted of anything sexual in any photo shoots, I find it effortless to concentrate and shoot properly.
For anyone who has different experience than mine, please remember this: Don’t. Please don’t mess our photography world and give it a bad name. It will ruin your career too, as models do talk. I believe you can’t do a good job either. You will definitely make the models feel uncomfortable, spare your make up artist and assistants.
Anyway, I had to wait for almost a year until I saw one version of the print ad showing on a magazine. 2 weeks to conceptualize, 2 days to shoot and a total 2 years in waiting, but it’s surely worth it. Enjoy and cheers (a healthy mineral water, of course!!).