Flying paint

I got an email from an art director I’d worked with quite a bit that said, “Can you shoot some stuff for me that looks like this?”

I said, “I haven’t done it before, but I’d be down to fuck around with it.” Also saying that I was confident we could pull off whatever it was that she wanted to do.

She said - “No cursing please!”

The concept was to have powerful Detroit Area Businesswomen appear as if they were painting a canvas via thrown paint. We(correctly) decided they wouldn’t want to get wildly messy and dirty, so the images would have to be composites. No problem. A plan developed…

Step one: Test liquids to use as paint, and test lighting schemes

Step two: Secure a studio

Step three: Shoot paint flying, and splashing and spattering, 

Step four: Shoot powerful women in kinetic poses in a clean studio

Step five: Comp it all together.

Testing began in my Garage. 

Colored water didn’t work as a stand-in for paint, Way too translucent. Ultimately we tried paint that was watered down, and that seemed to give us the character we were looking for. Austin, started out wearing his own clothes… But ultimately changed into my ‘grubbies’ so he could keep his kit fresh.

The day of paint shooting rolled around, and we just COVERED the studio in plastic to keep things clean. The studio owner said, “I don’t want to know what’s going on here, just when you’re done, make sure it looks like it looked before you started” No problem. Drench the place in plastic…

In order to get the fast motion-stopping quick flash durations and high power we needed, I had to rent some gear. I brought two profoto 8a packs back to the studio, and with a grin, asked the art team, how much they think these cost. Their guesses were 400 and 800 dollars. When I told them it was more like $8,000, they were highly surprised. We covered those in plastic too…

This is what some of the shots looked like on the day:

On a different day, We had all the powerful women come to yet another studio, and shot them in the poses that the art team had adopted while actually slangin the paint. I comped it all together and the results look like this:

So a big thanks to everyone that made this fun shoot possible and successful. 

Carolyn Watson

Austin Phillips

Nicole Grieser

Erika Fulk

Dayspace Studio



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