I've always found that moment right before falling asleep fascinating. When you let go of your thoughts and fall into the land of dreams. For a long time I wanted to create an image about this, and last year I got the opportunity that was the perfect start. Scroll down if you want to jump right to the behind the scenes video.
The idea for this project was to have a person in a room floating weightlessly, capturing that moment of falling to sleep. I figured that the best way to make the fabric of the clothes and the hair of the model to appear weightless would be to shoot it underwater.
Last year I got invited to United Arab Emirates to the XPOSURE festival (November 2017) to exhibit and speak about my work. Apart from that they had also built a huge water tank for the festival, where underwater shootings and workshops would take place. They asked me if I wanted to shoot something as well and I knew that this would be the perfect opportunity to start working on this project.
Having no previous experience of under water shootings, I decided that the best way to be in control of the shoot would be to shoot from outside the tank. By pressing the lens orthogonality towards the glass underneath a black cloth, I would minimize distortions and unwanted reflections, to get as clear view of the model as possible. In terms of lighting I had a large softbox as the main light source from above and a smaller warmer light from the left shot through the glass. The water was clear and by compensating the white balance I could make it look as if the model appeared to hover weightlessly in the tank. The very talented underwater model Krysia Makiela did a fantastic job sleep-floating for me during this session.
After shooting the model I had a good starting point for the rest of the image. I knew that I wanted a lot of things happening in the room so I started looking for different props I could use. I photographed a room with a cold flash outside the window and a smaller warm flash disguised as a bed side lamp to the left. I then started shooting the different objects in various positions, some of them supported by fishing thread and some by simply holding them up. I combined all the pieces of the puzzle in Photoshop together with the model. Being consistent with light and perspective made this process quite straight forward but I deliberately let it take time to make sure I would be happy with the end result. See the process of how it was created in the video below:
I would like to thank Simon Newton and the Xposure festival for giving me the opportunity to shoot in the tank and I would like to thank the underwater model Krysia Makiela for helping me putting this idea to life.