Spontaneity. This word strikes terror in the hearts of control freaks everywhere. But it can often lead to some wonderful journeys and destinations. My recent "constructed dress" shoot was engineered for spontaneity. In other words, I arrived at the studio with a tub of mesh fabric, an elastic waistband, and some safety pins. I had no idea what form the dress would take, or how the shoot would unfold.
Enter the creative team: amazing model Shannon Watson and extraordinary stylist Topher Carnes. I will admit that my gifts are a bit toward the technical end of the "technical-creative" continuum. It's not that I can't be creative, but it's good to know one's weaknesses... Without missing a beat, Topher styled a dress on Shannon that I could have never imagined, and he masterfully styled her hair to match. We used an extra chair as a prop, I lit Shannon with an unusual (for me) lighting configuration, and the result was wonderful.
This shoot served as a reminder for me that often, there is much to gain by releasing control (which is often only an illusion, anyway) and collaborating with others and with the environment. The result can be unexpected and better than it would have otherwise been. Maybe the difference between "engineering" and "art" is that the former relies on retaining control, and the latter relies on releasing control. In essence, art can only be engineered when the engineering involves making space for the spontaneous, creative process to happen.
Model: Shannon Watson
Kristoffer Cox Photography: Artisan Portraits and Conceptual Images