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Medusa Shoot

What do you do on a wet day in Sheffield?

Well if you’re Clare Jane Garret, you get a dancer called Sarah Hobson and paint her green, then get a milliner called Hannah Gray to create a fantastic headpiece and create a real-life Medusa!

This was all done in a dance studio near the university – the walls were white paint or mirrors – we’d hoped to go outside but it really was pouring down,  not just a little bit of rain but proper torrential like we’ve seen this last week with the 2020 storms. 

When I arrived, it was one huge wow factor seeing Sarah painted head-to-toe in these amazing colours and designs. It’s the first time seen one of Claire’s Creations in the flesh, literally, and it’s staggering the amount of detail time and effort goes into it. 

Whilst the team finished off, I went to a large dance rehearsal studio to set up some light, brought my big softboxes, which are 1.5 and 1.8 m respectively – so big that they very rarely get an outing. It was pretty obvious from the start that we were not going to both light the model and keep the background dark, the mirrors and white walls just bounced light around like a ricocheting bullet. Without anything to help, we’d have all kinds of crap in the background!. 

What we did find was a crash mat, one of those you used to have in in the school gym when you were vaulting. We managed to put this on its end and lean it against the wall, though it was not black we got a very dark, usable blue instead. 

The only other issue was that we couldn’t really do wide arm photos, where Sarah puts her arms out left and right, because the mat was tall and thin, the arms just went off the edge and would have been a pain to edit in post. 

The amazing thing about working with dancers they have spent years learning how to do amazing things with their legs, arms and bodies, You really don’t need to direct all do anything other than photograph what they do. We had about five little sessions with the end one being everybody’s favourites. 

For this one, I’d move the lights closer, more dramatic angles and turned the power right down so the background went black and the light was very soft – yet created quite a lot of Shadow. 

After we’d finished, I’m not sure what happened to all the paint…. I got a lift with kit downstairs from Medusa herself – I told her to go shopping in ASDA and see what the local thoughts but I bet it didn’t happen!

Here are a few of the shots – all edited differently for the hell of it, but you get the idea.

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