Art Director Tom Laybourne takes us through the creative journey on set with photographer Sofie Delauw in Florence
A series of lifestyle shoots with a focus on beautifully honest moments of real life. Styled with vintage touches and a warm analogue feel. The key here was to pick up on the wonderful Italian way of life with subtle references that would allow the images produced to be globally appealing whilst retaining identity. Inspiration came from a fantastic set of tearsheets Sofie had collected and from sites/publications/photographers such as Kinfolk, VSCO, h-o-r-n-g-r-y.tumblr.com and We Are The Rhoads…
Still buzzing from the Image Source Milan photographer workshop, I arrived in Florence by train and found my accommodation which also happened to be the first location we were shooting in… The Box House. Then straight into pre-production. A whirlwind tour of Florence visiting shoot locations, picking up props, selecting styling and refining shot lists. Always a great opportunity to brainstorm on the move and collaborate over new ideas with a photographer. Refreshing for me to get an insight into someones life and where they’re working, it really helps when I make shoot suggestions from my desk in London!
Sometimes it really helps being in new surroundings to pick up some new visual stimulus, the Italian’s national pride and rustic charm was clear everywhere. There may have also been the odd break for chantilly cream filled mille-feuille (Sofie’s excellent recommendation)… not exactly an Italian classic but something that stuck in my mind…
DAY 1: The Box House
Before heading to the first location, we took advantage of a quick trip to the local market and picked up some additional shots. The main location was The Box House, an architects city centre home that featured an incredible collection of vintage objects and over 300 wooden ballot boxes that have been turned into storage units, shelving, seating etc in the house.
The perfect backdrop for the young attractive couple we were shooting and ideal for our brief. You can see from the production shot (attached) the large windows allowing natural light to flood in and lift the dark wood tones that could have been a little oppressive if there was less light available.
DAY 2: Earthy Tones
Start the day and we had heavy rain… fortunately we were well prepared and adapted the ideas. Making the most of the bad weather and turning it to our advantage to create a set of images where there is a strong connection between the models and a moody atmosphere. The models here were really well cast, urban sophisticates, styled with earthy tones.
The colour palette was complimented by the models red hair and was a perfect fit for the Wintery feel. We wanted to tie in elements of nature so started off in a park by the river and later moved into Florence city centre for lunch, fortunately the weather picked up and we covered a series of tourist ideas. Styling was changed to a smarter feel that was suitable for a trend-conscious urban couple or creative business colleagues whist retaining the warm, natural tones.
DAY 3 Connection and Emotional Honesty
We cast a real mother/daughter to make sure we had no problems getting a perfectly genuine interaction between the two. It was vital that there was an honesty in their behaviour and relationship. To broaden the shoot, we covered the relationship between them but also their life as individuals.
The mother had a natural warmth and sophistication that suited our shoot idea perfectly. Splitting the day with half at a local meadow and half in an apartment, we set up scenes then allowed them to play out naturally between the mother and daughter.
DAY 4 Love, Selfies and Beards
Sofie did a fantastic job casting a real family who worked as artists and had a baby boy. We were able to shoot them at their home and make the most of the great location.
It was an incredible insight into this family’s life in the countryside near Florence. There was such a clear loving relationship between them all and a great insight into this prior to shooting was their facebook photos which included selfies, an idea we were keen to reproduce in the shoot. This great situation meant that the instinctive loving moments between the three were there and that we could almost document their normal lives.
Styling this shoot was lots of fun as the family had a large selection of vintage clothes and loved getting dressed up together. Something we had picked up on from their facebook photos was the matching striped tops which we incorporated into some of our shots and created a strong visual bond between them all. The vintage vibe was carried on using their beautifully restored old white Lancia. It was an incredible shoot to be part of and left me utterly jealous of the life they have… I hope the images convey that.
To see this shoot and other work by Sofie Delauw click here