Fashion and Still Life Photographer

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Escentric Molecules Fragrance Still Life

Escentric Molecules is an enigma. The brainchild of Style.com’s Tim Blanks and branding guru Jeff Lounds, it has managed to be a huge commercial success whilst managing to retain it’s ‘niche’ appeal. Even more remarkable is that it’s done this with absolutely no advertising. The fragrance market is dominated by celebrity endorsed products and elaborate packaging so Escentric’s simple, quiet approach is a refreshing alternative.

The fragrances were designed by the legendary Geza Schoen and are unique in their simplicity; the molecule versions containing only a single fragrance, and the escentric versions just a handful. Again, a radical departure from conventional fragrance thinking.

Photographing the understated but elegant bottles was always going to be a challenge. Restricting the lighting to the three primaries: red, green and blue, the purest colours that the eye can see, produced the result you can see below. I hope that in some way it reflects the purity of the fragrance.

Escentric Molecules Fragrance :: Blended Primary Colours :: (c) robert poll

Escentric Molecules Fragrance :: Blended Primary Colours :: (c) robert poll

March 5   1 Comment

New Menswear Campaign for Mr. Start

For those of you who haven’t discovered Mr. Start yet, this Shoreditch upstart with it’s gorgeous Rivington Street store is a Mecca for those who like to look smart, but want something a little different from traditional tailoring. Philip (the real-life Mr. Start) and his creative team (more on them later) wanted a campaign that would get the essence of Mr. Start across without being too literal about it. Capturing the essence of a brand in a photograph isn’t easy, and whilst no-one could really sum up Mr. Start in words we pulled together enough visual reference material, and built a very strong story to give us a clear direction for the shoot.

The Start team, in no particular order: Laura Jean, Phillipa Harrington-Griffin, Jonathan Loe (who by the way was nominated for Esquire’s Best Dressed list), Niamh Quinn and Alec Lamb were a real pleasure to work with. Duncan Campbell modelled for us, and the Start team styled four looks; the one I’ve shown below is the ‘Weekend Geek’, complete with a very cool pair of Cutler and Gross glasses.

cool trendy creative edgy fashion advertising editorial photography photographer London Auckland Ponsonby Mr. Start Geek Look menswear suits ties shirts shoes

Mr. Start :: The Geek Look - (c) robert poll

Special thanks go to Ruby on Hoxton Square where the image above was shot (a great place for lunch by the way!), Callooh Callay and the London Borough of Hackney Film Unit for the locations, Dan Joseph for assisting and of course Philip and the team at Start. The other images from the campaign will be included in my AW10 portfolio update which will be appearing on this blog soon!

Oh, and if you’re wondering what to buy me for Christmas, you wouldn’t go far wrong with the green gingham shirt that Duncan is wearing.

October 5   2 Comments

Nudie Jeans vs. Ksubi – A Short Film

This short animated film is really just a bit of fun. The girls jeans are Nudie and the guys are Ksubi. Nudie is a pretty well known brand, who produce all of their jeans in Italy and I do like the way the distressing on the legs makes them look 3D in the film.

The dance routine was choreographed by Cydney Uffindell-Phillips and was danced by Cydney and Tom Woods. Bubble Vision provided the oil wheels, the music is ‘We Start” by Moby and the jeans were very kindly provided by Start London.

I hope you enjoy the film.


June 30   2 Comments

Onitsuka Tiger Mexico – Straight from Tokyo

These gorgeous Onitsuka Tiger Mexico Mid Tops are straight off the plane from Tokyo.  The cracked leather is slightly off white and the suede has a hint of pink, which is a really nice touch.  The tongue and lining are a deep red – simple but very effective.

I experimented in the studio with ways to distort the scale of the shoe – they somehow wanted to be monumental, or architectural, but then this idea jumped out at me:

cool trendy creative edgy fashion advertising editorial photography photographer London Auckland Ponsonby  Still Life shoes trainers runners adidas nike red Onitsuka Tiger Mexico Mid Tops

Onitsuka Tiger Mexico Mid Tops - (c) robert poll

May 21   2 Comments

Future Portraits

I’ve been working on a series of portraits titled ‘Future’ for some time now. The idea is very simple; the sitter is asked to think about the future and to look away from the camera. What has come as something of a surprise to me, is how the images have a such similar feel to them. Obviously lighting and pose are the same, but I think the similarity goes way beyond that. Perhaps it is true that a portrait can be a window into the soul!

This latest image is of food writer, art collector, journalist, blogger and broadcaster Anissa Helou. Anissa seems to be in a different country trying out incredibly exotic foods every week (see this blog post for camel hump and possibly the largest cooking pot in the world) so I was very happy to get some time with her for the sitting.

There are more images from the series here.

cool trendy creative edgy fashion advertising editorial photography photographer London Auckland Ponsonby Anissa Helou portrait hair chef

April 28   No Comments

The Perception of Colour

For quite a while now I’ve been trying to get to grips with the way we perceive colour.  It had started with some fairly fundamental questions – for example how can a white be defined by a single colour temperature number, and whether the rainbow contains all possible colours. What I was really interested in though was to what extent an analytic, or mathematical approach to colour could produce interesting works.

A proper understanding of how the eye processes colour (found somewhat surprisingly in the excellent book ‘Real World Color Management‘) was a good start and helped answer some of my questions. I had done some work with combinations of three colours in my ‘colour angle‘ series, but wanted to look more at the blending of colours.

The images below were photographed with a combination of coloured lights – no white at all and are pretty much as they came out of the camera. I did increase the brightness of the lettering on the second bottle so that it stands out more, but other than that they are relatively straight images.

I haven’t yet answered all of my questions, but feel like I’m making progress.

cool trendy creative edgy fashion advertising editorial photography photographer London Auckland Ponsonby Still Life perfume fragrance colour glass color light chanel dior armani gucci no. 5

Colour Mix I

cool trendy creative edgy fashion advertising editorial photography photographer London Auckland Ponsonby Still Life perfume fragrance colour glass color light chanel dior armani gucci no. 5

Colour Mix II

March 9   No Comments

Burberry – Catwalk to Credit Card in 15 minutes.

If you had your ear to the ground at around 4pm last tuesday, and were listening very very carefully you might just have heard the faint sound of the start of a revolution. It wasn’t Burberry’s groundbreaking use of 3D streaming – innovative and exciting certainly, but an evolution of what’s been happening for a while. It was something altogether different, and much more radical.

The real news from Burberry was that you could buy the shearling jackets online immediately after the show – from Catwalk to Credit Card in minutes. True, you do have to wait a few weeks for delivery (I did say the start of a revolution) but the point is that you could buy instantly. It seems like no big deal in this ‘click here for next day delivery’ world, but it could well mark the start of the biggest shake-up of the fashion system in decades.

The purpose of the fashion show is to showcase garments to buyers and fashion editors. The buyers pick the lines they want to stock, and the fashion editors decide what they will feature in their magazines. In the six months following the shows the magazine stories are shot and the garments produced. Historically, the public wouldn’t see any images of the collection until about six months after the show.

The system has worked well for years, but the internet, and to some extent our obsession with celebrity has thrown a spanner in the works. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when it started (style.com’s archive goes back to 2000) but images of the collections began to appear on line immediately following the shows. I have a suspicion that the public was really interested in the celebrities attending the shows rather than the clothes, but either way no-one is willing to wait six months to see the latest from their favourite designer any longer.

Once people have seen the collection though, they are going to ask the obvious question: why they can’t buy it? If you look inside the fashion system, you’ll see a whole load of good reasons why it’s built around the six month cycle; but no matter how good the reasons might be, it’s not something that the consumer will tolerate for too long. Burberry’s genius is to be the first to subvert the system and offer instant gratification. True, the coats are only on sale for 72 hours, and it’s not the entire collection, but I can’ help feeling that the Genie is out of the bottle, and there’s now no going back.

It’s all very well to do it once, for a few pieces, and to still build in a six week production cycle but managing it for the whole collection, with delivery time closer to what today’s consumer will expect is altogether a different matter. It’s nothing short of a complete redesign of the fashion system – a revolution.

February 25   No Comments

From Prada to Portraits

Continuing with the theme of trying to distil an image down to the bare minimum necessary to describe the subject (see my previous post ‘Gold Leaf and Prada Shoes‘), I am posting a recent portrait shot.

AJ Adjaye; DJ, Record Producer and all round nice guy, probably best known for his part in RPM agreed to sit for a portrait for me to experiment with these ideas. After a few beers he also agreed to be covered in vaseline and gold leaf; but that’s a different story!

I think there’s scope to push the idea further, but in the meantime, here’s an example from the shoot. Why not listen to a track from RPM while you look…:

cool trendy creative edgy fashion advertising editorial photography photographer London Auckland Ponsonby portrait DJ Adjaye AJ Kwame producer

AJ Adjaye - copyright (c) robert poll - all rights reserved

February 22   No Comments

Gold Leaf and Prada Shoes

I’ve recently finished a series of shots of shoes. It started with a pair of nicely shaped, but rainbow coloured vintage shoes I picked up on Ebay. I had shot early last year with the very talented makeup artist Lucy Gibson and was inspired by her use of gold leaf, so used the technique on the shoes.

A gilded shoe is pretty surreal by itself, but I wanted to make the image as abstract as possible so that it wouldn’t be obvious at first glance what it was. Here’s the result:

cool trendy creative edgy fashion advertising editorial photography photographer London Auckland Ponsonby shoes still life gold leaf louboutin jimmy choo manolo blahnic

Gold Shoes - copyright (c) robert poll - all rights reserved

I then shot a lovely pair of AW09 blue velvet shoes by Miu Miu in a similar style:

cool trendy creative edgy fashion advertising editorial photography photographer London Auckland Ponsonby shoes still life miu miu blue velvet light colour color

Blue Shoes (Miu Miu) - copyright (c) robert poll - all rights reserved

And finally a very sleek pair of black leather heels by Prada from a season or two ago:

cool trendy creative edgy fashion advertising editorial photography photographer London Auckland Ponsonby still life shoes prada black sleek light

Black Shoes (Prada) - copyright (c) robert poll - all rights reserved

The shape of the Prada shoe – the squared of profile of the toe, and the shape of the heel were so strong that it seemed unnecessary to show anything else.

The last image started me thinking about whether such a minimal approach could work in a portrait. More on this in my next post…

February 22   1 Comment

Welcome to my Blog

Welcome to my brand new Blog!

I’m a Fashion and Still Life photographer based in East London. At the moment I’m shooting most of my work in the studio, but do also work on location. You can see my work online at www.robertpoll.com.

I’m planning on posting my very latest work on the blog, along with occasional thoughts and comments on photography and fashion. I won’t be posting personal trivia, what I did at the weekend or other random thoughts so it will be low volume and, I hope, interesting.

I’ll tweet (@robertpollphoto ) when I post, so if you want to make sure not to miss anything then follow me on twitter. If you use RSS you can click here, or on the orange icon at the top right of the page to subscribe to my RSS feed. Otherwise, just bookmark this page and come back every week or so.

If you have any thoughts or comments please do get in touch; post a comment, email me or give me a call.

February 20   1 Comment