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Miss Aniela "Barocco"

"We love a photographic adventure, almost always with boldness, surrealism and eccentricity"

I’m a photographer based in Sussex UK. I work together with my partner Matt on both fine art and commercial projects under our business name of “Miss Aniela”, a name I chose as my artist pseudonym when I started out as a self-portraitist 10 years ago. From the simple days of shooting myself with a basic camera and no lights, we’ve evolved into shooting fashion models and advert campaigns, and become significantly more sophisticated with lighting and production teams on set. We love a photographic adventure, almost always with boldness, surrealism and eccentricity.

About this shoot

This project “Barocco” is made up of two shoots: one on location, and the other in the studio. The first shoot took place in a Georgian mansion that was our home in Devon last year - where the concept of ‘Barocco House’ began - a fusion of Baroque and Rococo. The second shoot sees the inspiration follow to our next home in Sussex, in our home studio with a continuation of that golden Baroque inspiration. Whereas Barocco House was a location shoot, in Barocco Studio we shot portraits all against a backdrop with crazy makeup and creative post-production to achieve the result. Across the two shoots, we shot with Broncolor Move 1200Ls with a Para 88, stripboxes and octobox. We used a mix of our own commissioned, customised and loaned costumes. 

Using Phase One IQ3 100MP 

Shooting with the Phase One IQ3 and 100MP back created luscious detail in one frame and this lends a variety of advantages. In the location shoot this meant not having to stitch plates as I would normally do with a DSLR to maximise fine-art print size. In the studio shoot it meant uber-quality portraits where I did not have to worry about the excess space around the model in the frame so we could concentrate on the ideal focal length with our lens of choice.

"I am always very mindful not to destroy or compromise an image's quality in post-production"

Barocco House 

‘The Awakening’ and ‘Glacial Gate’ are both shot with model Annabelle and makeup artist Grace Gray. Both images required careful set-building. In ‘Glacial Gate’, we spent time setting up the frame, the height of the model on a ladder, the antique props, and then working with posing, lighting and haze to achieve the final image. What you see is almost exactly what was in the capture, except for the added surreal Icelandic lagoon in the bottom half of the image. When zoomed in close on the model’s face, the quality on first glance was absolutely remarkable: such depth in one frame, considering the wide span of the shot, certainly not what I am used to having come from DSLR. From the deep black of the balcony to the pure whites of the light behind her, the luminous range of the image was supreme. I am always very mindful not to destroy or compromise an image’s quality in post-production, so I kept my addition of post-surrealism localised to an area of the frame that I felt needed something extra: the bottom of the fabric, turning it physically into water and ice. Nature and interior blend together, as in many of my creative composites, becoming a new fantasy piece for my Surreal Fashion series.

‘The Awakening’ was a fairly simple image to shoot, but owes a lot to cinematic lighting and careful composition. I spent a while manoeuvring back and forth to gain the right distance from the gold gilt bed: not too much nor too little. I wanted to see enough of her face but without becoming a close-up. Lighting and a haze machine transported the slightly garish look of her wig and the cobwebs into something moodier and more cinematic. I did not do much editing to this image, as it was almost done in-shot. It was a case of picking the right model expression, and I chose one that was less exaggerated, more subtle and wistful.

"Shooting in a studio in ways is simpler than location, and allows greater control and consistency over the lighting set-up"

Barocco Studio 

Shooting in a studio in ways is simpler than location, and allows greater control and consistency over the lighting set-up. I actually rarely shoot in studios. What we wanted here was wilder modelling and makeup than we normally have, so we chose self-professed ‘creative weirdo’ model extraordinaire Gina Harrison for her performance skills, and makeup artist Lan who is known to create very dramatic looks. In total over the day we shot 6 looks, starting with a simple elegant pink shawl to ‘warm up’, right through to an aggressive finale with an extreme close-up shot of a gold claw scraping through Gina’s peeling gold face.

Each look was either shot against a high-key (almost blown out) backdrop or a dark, golden wallpapered backdrop. In post-production I placed the images on a stock location backdrop to suit the atmosphere of the portrait. So for the look in the high key image ‘Avalanche’ I used a snow scene - it had to be pure white, to blend seamlessly with the white light that we had intentionally flooded around her facial features. And for a dark and moody Gina decked out in a golden military jacket and gold-studded face in ‘Chapel’, I used a backdrop of a church with Gothic architecture, tall pillars and arches to frame her features.
"It's crucial for me to shoot medium format in a stationary and meticulous manner so I see exactly what I'm getting onscreen, and can try immediate adjustments via Capture One Pro's quick edit sliders"

How has Capture One contributed to your workflow

It’s crucial for me to shoot medium format in a stationary and meticulous manner so I see exactly what I’m getting onscreen, and can try immediate adjustments via Capture One Pro’s quick edit sliders. The software makes a difference for me in three ways: first, as an extremely smooth and reliable tethering tool. Secondly, as a sorting and organisation tool to examine the images and separate wheat from the chaff in a straightforward and intuitive way. Thirdly, to add batch adjustments easily and to output high quality files with a simple click of the programmed process recipe.

I personally always like to use folders in my operating system (Mac) as my central form of organisation, and Capture One works alongside this easily. Predominantly I favour using Sessions for all my workflow, so for any one shoot, I can see easily upon glancing into its subfolders (Capture, Selects, Output, Trash) the position of my content without opening up the software.

Barocco House - Photographer: Miss Aniela. Model: Annabelle Loveluck. HMUA: Grace Gray. Costumes: Miss Aniela own, with dress in ‘The Awakening’ by Wendy Benstead.

Barocco Studio - Photographer: Miss Aniela. Model: Gina Harrison. HMUA: Lan Nyugen. Costumes: Agnieszka Osipa, military jacket Miss Aniela’s own. Assistant: Dan Lennard.

Images from top clockwise: "The Chapel", "Glacial Gate", "The Awakening", "Avalanche"

 

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