Star Wars Portrait Project
A classic portrait set showcasing UK Star Wars Cosplayers
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away or, actually a few years ago, I was taking pictures of various cosplayers including Captain America and Judge Dredd. Ultimately, the draw was Star Wars characters as I have always been a fan which led me to being introduced to the Joker Squad Star Wars Group. Such a nice bunch of guys (and gals) who enjoy trooping in movie authentic costumes whilst raising money for charity. Their mission statement reads,
‘To celebrate the magic of Star Wars, to raise money for worthy causes, and to have fun whilst offering the public 100% screen accurate costumes.’. Love it.
So back then, although I was having a lot of fun producing crazy shooty firey composites for cos players, I had the spark of an idea of producing a more classical set of portraits, to show a mix of the costumes and the people ‘behind the masks’. Fast forward on to the beginning of 2016 and I had the idea to provide a gallery of these classical Star Wars portraits as part of the Bucks Open Studios event that is held every year in June. Details of this here (clicky).
I broached the idea with the Joker Squad SWG which was received positively. Now where to display my work … having known Ian Hine of Dead Universe Comics in Aylesbury for quite some time now and with his business going from strength to strength (he now resides in an awesome 3 level shop), I thought this would be the perfect location and he also allowed us to hold the photoshoot there as well. Nice one Ian and thank you!
The look for the portraits was to be a simple off-axis key-light setup with a kicker to bring up the shadows, with a decision made on a dark rich royal blue background purchased from Creativity Backgrounds. I also spent a lot of time considering the best paper to present the images on and after talking extensively with Fotospeed, decided on a platinum fine art paper which has a slight texture and a very matte look.
The shoot day was awesome. Originally we looked to produce a set of about 12 images for the gallery however as the day went on, I was joined by Princess Leia, Rebel X Wing Pilots, almost every type of Stormtrooper (including a First Order – well done Dan on the build mate!), a real life speaking Chewbacca, Tie Pilot, General Obi Wan, Scavenger Rey, Rebel Fighter, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and last but definitely not least, Boba Fett. The Joker Squad are so cool, such a fun day; the hard part after the shoot was to narrow the set down for the gallery.
After spending time retouching the images, which for the most part was a few stray hairs, matting out some unwanted specular highlights and ironing a princesses dress, twenty images have been printed and mounted for presentation. Seeing a concept that I first thought about a few years back finally come to fruition has made the hairs on my arms stand on end. From concept to realisation, it has been a great journey – not just about producing a set of images but an awesome experience full of learning points for development. Typical of any creative process, it’s had a few emotional ups and downs however the goal was always about the production of the images in the hope that the original concept was upheld.
I would therefore like to invite you to come and see the Star Wars Portrait Gallery, hosted by Dead Universe Comics, 5 Bourbon Street, Aylesbury, HP20 2PZ, between the dates of 11 June and 26 June. The opening day is Saturday 11 June and I’ll be there with a few drinks and nibbles – it would be good to answer any questions you may have about this amazing experience that has finally led to the display of the images. Dead Universe Comics will immerse you fully in to their world, such a perfect setting for this gallery.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank the following, without whom this would not have been possible:
The Joker Squad SWG – Please visit their page and click on the ‘Joker Squad Supports’ charity page. Donate money, don’t think about it, just do it.
Ian Hine of Dead Universe Comics – This guy is a visionary and the coolest most inspirational guy I’ve met.
Danny of Gallery31 – Thanks for your support on the mounts for presentation.
Creativity Backgrounds – Taking the time to discuss with me the different colours and textures for my concept.
Fotospeed Paper – The gentleman at the trade stand showed me a mind boggling array of different papers however made a few excellent targeted recommendations.
Lencarta Lighting – Consistent reliable lighting.
My wife – For all the support and for telling me to ‘man up’ when I needed it. You are my inspiration sweety!
Caffeine – Makes the magic happen.
Prints of the images are for sale, with every penny of what would have been profit going to charity.
Thanks for reading and see you at Dead Universe Comics!