This portrait was taken backstage during fashion week in Madrid Spain. Based in Paris at that time, I was commissioned by Marie Claire Magazine to make a portraiture series, featuring some of the creative talent behind Madrid’s Fashion Week. One of my favorite Spanish designers is Agatha Ruiz de la Prada. She uses color in a way that no one else can, or should I say, in a way that few would dare. I love her originality and so when my editor told me she would be one of the subjects, I was elated.
We were surprised when Agatha Ruiz De La Prada showed up with her whole design team and said, “Ok, we’re ready!” We had planned on shooting the designer alone, now there were 13 brightly colored bodies in front of us, each one in a hurry to make the pictures so they could get back to work preparing for their show. We had already scouted a place to shoot, had dialed in the lighting, but clearly there wasn’t enough room there for the 12 extra people. Think fast. My assistant and I moved our lighting setup to an open space behind one of the stages and quickly dialed in the new lighting ratios. It wasn’t what I had planned, but the wall was neutral so the bright colors would pop against it. When we tested the light, it was spot on. We were ready to shoot.
I called everyone into the frame. Agatha took the position in front, her design team fanning out on each side. The problem was, Agatha was stressed because she was still busy prepping for her show, and stress, like chicken pox, is highly contagious. As a result, her whole team looked nervous. This wasn’t the energy I wanted for the shot. What to do?
Ok, time to change it up. I quickly started moving people around…changing their positions…shuffling them…turning them…then placing them someplace else….all in an effort to literally break up the tension. I made sure to move everyone back into their original position by the end, then quickly ran back behind the tripod-mounted camera. I smiled, put my finger on the button, and said, “It’s much better now!” At which point someone said, “But it’s the same as before!!” With that, we all started to laugh, and I snapped this great moment.
When all else fails, act silly!!!
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