Back in December of last year, we teamed up with the experts at Profoto to offer an exclusive competition — one where the winner would receive the photo shoot of their dreams filled with top-of-the-line equipment from Profoto. Today, we are proud to announce the winner and present her colourful, dreamy photoshoot — Eloïse Atkins.
Atkins caught our attention through her surreal photography, creating images that are at once rooted in the current world but have their eyes on another. She brought this alien vision into the studio, using only 2 Profoto flashes with a range of modifiers to create a series she calls “Ethereal Vision”. Schön! spoke with Atkins about Profoto and the shoot.
How was your knowledge of lighting and flash prior to this shoot?
I had some prior knowledge of lighting and flash as I studied fashion photography at UAL, so I was able to get hands-on experience with their equipment and was taught on how to use light to provoke certain emotions. It was great having a space to experiment and learn these key things — however, due to graduating and the pandemic, I lost touch with shooting in a studio environment.
Describe your experience shooting with Profoto gear in the studio.
Shooting with the Profoto gear was a really exciting experience as I had ultimately missed being in a studio setting. Figuring out how to set up the gear and using it was such an easy process, and it was helpful for me to get back into the swing of shooting with lights in a studio again. I loved the fact that the Profoto equipment that I was using was completely wireless, because it allowed me to move the lights around without being constrained by leads. This was my favourite factor, as the batteries lasted throughout the whole shoot.
When it comes to light, what is the most important thing for you in a shoot like this?
For me, I personally value being able to control the amount of light that comes through the image, whether changing the camera ISO settings or adjusting the light source itself by positioning and shaping it. Having that power to control light enables me as the photographer to determine the kind of mood I want to present within my images. So for a shoot like this, I had to take into consideration that I needed a lot of light but also didn’t want it to be overpowering and lose the overall feeling that I was aiming for.
How exactly did you use Profoto gear (flashes + modifiers) to create that dreamy and euphoric atmosphere?
For the main light source, I used two Profoto B10 lights for both continuous and flash. I wanted to have both soft and hard light to create shadows on the face and background, but also wanted the light to be softer to create more of a dreamy look. With this I used the Profoto Umbrella Deep Silver for the close up shots, which enabled me to reflect and highlight details of the makeup. It was really straightforward for me to connect my camera to the flash, as I used the Profoto Air Remote, which seamlessly synchronised with the flash. To create a euphoric atmosphere, I experimented with ways I could achieve this look through shaping the light. This was achieved by using Profoto’s snoot and barndoor to distinguishably create a spotlight look to make it as if the model was glowing.
What inspired this shoot? Detail a bit of your moodboard and influences.
The idea for Ethereal Vision was inspired by new beginnings, and I was heavily interested in the notion of people setting New Year’s resolutions and astrology. The element of transformation was my inspiration; just portraying my vivid dreams and presenting them in a way that was almost out of this world became Ethereal Vision. I was also intrigued with how ‘The Great Conjunction’ literally displayed this idea of change through Jupiter and Saturn being aligned in the sign of Aquarius (which happened for the first time in 200 years). For this to happen, I was immediately drawn to creating something that ignited divine energy.
Visually, I was influenced by photographers Petra Collins and Adrienne Raquel, who translate powerful emotions throughout their work.
Your work is very motion-based. How do you accomplish this in-studio to achieve your desired result?
With a slow shutter speed, and having the model moving around (with music to make it fun). It creates a mesmerising effect. Often at times, people would disregard images that are blurry or not in focus, but for me, I think of them as hidden gems. There’s a beauty to movement, and capturing the essence of an action ultimately creates a dreamy shot. The way I shoot kind of disrupts the notion of images needing to be sharp and precise in order to be effective.
What’s been inspiring you lately, visually or otherwise?
Lately I’ve been inspired by Tishk Barzanji’s artwork. I love how he uses colour to create surreal and cinematic illustrations. That’s the kind of the vibe I’m leaning toward with my own work now, producing imagery that challenges me to step out of my comfort zone, creating still cinematic pieces. I also love listening to music; it generally helps me with everything, and ultimately motivates me to create.
What projects are you working on now?
At the moment, I’m still in the idea and moodboard phase of a few personal projects that I would like to pursue. However, there is one big project that I have been working on for some time now and that’s to do with celebrating self-identification. This has been an important factor for me as I am mixed race and have struggled with my self identity throughout my whole life.
Behind the Scenes
photography. Eloïse Atkins
bts photography. Bronagh O’Connor
fashion. Leslie-Carolina Kapesa @ Les Creative Studios
model. Amandine Forest
hair + make up. Cameron Sancia
photography assistant. Devon Clark
fashion assistant. Tami Tinubu