Projects

Ankara Travelling Dress: How we shot it

Sisterhood of the Travelling Dress

The Travelling Dress. One dress infinite possibilities, proving how differently we all see the world.

The Travelling Dress

The Travelling dress project seemed to originate in the USA with a dress travelling to other countries and being photographed by tens and tens of photographers. Photographers have tulle dresses, colourful dresses, wedding dresses. I loved watching the different travelling dress projects we came across, but one thing was evident about so many of the other projects. They all seemed to be very Eurocentric. 

The Sisterhood

As a minority in the photography world, it is something that some people take for granted, being visible, being included, being part of the discussion, being heard, but for some of us our exclusion is the norm. It is not always a purposeful thing, but sometimes a “oh I never even thought about that” “ oh that didn’t even cross my mind” because its something that hasn’t effected the person viewing that project. But it is something that I see instantly.

This was also picked up by other users on some of the blogs about other Travelling Dress Projects.

Travelling Dress Project - Comments

Travelling Dress Project – Comments

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Travelling Dress Project Comments

So with this in mind, one member suggested we wanted to open up this discussion and shoot a travelling dress project that had not already been done. Photographers and models that seems to be largely missing from many of the other projects would therefore be part of the discussion. We had an Afro Centric garment commissioned by Thea Ayayi of House of Tendai and a group of UK Black Female Photographers  created a schedule to shoot the dress as we saw it.

Travelling Dress

We chose a vibrant bright red ankara print material. It was strong and bold, I wanted a model that matched this feel. So I searched for a bald headed dark skinned model. I visualised a Skunk Annansie, Alek Wek, Lupita N’yongo inspired  of model. I found this in Sheleema. 

Model Choice

New to modelling but an amazing model none the less. She had already done high fashion and a number of fashion magazines. As a professional creative I always pay other professional creatives … see my blog on working for FREE. As a photographer shooting various genres I have worked with models previously. Some great ones and some not so great ones. From Sheleema’s portfolio, I felt she could carry off what I wanted for the shoot; and she did. 

There was very little direction, only for minor tweaks.

I also commissioned Make Up artist Kemeko to do an editorial type look. 

Vogue Inspiration

We purposefully did not discuss each others ideas, or show each other our finished shoots until way after they were completed. Does this create more competition or fuel you to push yourself even more?

I purposefully wanted to test myself for this shoot. I initially hired a studio and was going to do my normal clean cut portrait photography style.

Fate then took me to fashion season collections on Vogue Magazine, I  came across Beyonces front page shoot for Vogue earlier that year, shot by Tyler Mitchell. This inspired me to strip this right back. Go back to nature, a much more deconstructed messy idea and just shoot with whatever I’m presented with on the day.

So I let nature and circumstance drive my vision.  I knew however I wanted an edgey editorial look, and something different to how I would normally shoot most of my work.

Shoot Plan

So with no real plan in place, except for channelling Beyonce, I vowed to adapt to whatever I was presented with, come rain or shine (or being in the UK sleet or snow also)! After all this is what creatives do … create. I also shoot for fashion designers such as Kolchagov Barba and wanted to create something I could imagine designers using in a magazine editorial.

On the day we were blessed with a beautiful sunny, bright, warm day. It was cloudy in parts and bright in parts, but still perfect. I chose to use the natural sunlight with additional outdoor flash, playing with sync speeds to create some other interesting shadows and looks.

The Environment

The environment was naturally green, this complimented the dress perfectly. I also put up a draped messy backdrop, I initially wanted a heavier cotton material backdrop, looked into buying one, but agin thought, let me work with what I have.

travelling dress, ankara travelling dress

Environment

Accessories

Making a big headpiece similar to Beyonces own was considered, but  ended up not having the time. The option to instead use oversized bouquet, which substituted. It meant that the red was sandwiched in between a sea of green, which aesthetically looked amazing.

Ten Favourite Lensi Photography Shots From the Ankara Travelling Dress Project

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Travelling Dress Project

 

Ankara Travelling Dress

The Ankara Travelling Dress

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Life

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Travelling Dress on Water

 

 

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Sisterhood of the Travelling Dress

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Headshot Travelling Dress

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Nature

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UKBFT Project

 

 

Ankara Travelling dress

Travelling dress in water

 

 

 

These are the blogs and contact details of other photographers who took part in the project.

# 1 Mellz Photography LTD

IG: @MellzphotographyLTD

#2 Funmi Akingbe

IG: @patakiphotos

#3 Kimberley Lawson

IG: @kica_photography

#4 Louisa Coulthurst

IG: @urbanbridesmaid

#5 Rele James

IG : @pausepushclick

#6 Toyin Sho

IG : @toyinphotography

#7 Tianna J Williams

IG : @tiannajwilliamsphotography

#8 LA Creativity 

IG : @la_creativityportfolio

#9 Julietta Arden Taylor Photography