Acknowledgements None of what you are about to see in this book would have been possible without the help and assistance of the following people, who were gracious enough to donate their time, skill, expertise, knowledge and patience: Adam, Amy, Ursula, Misa, Mikki, Elliot, Annette, Chiara, Elouise, Sarah S, Sarah M, Stak, Greg, Edward, Chiara, my family in general and everyone Iâ€™ve met along the way...
Introduction. Nuova Dada. Literally, ‘New Dada’ in Italian. Having attended Raffles College of Commerce and Design for two and a half years, I reached the stage when Major Project, [our final series of works], was fast approaching. My nose was on the grindstone, so to speak… My aims with this Project then, was to essentially use it as a platform from which I can promote my own work as polished, inspired, different and unusual. As I want to become a professional fashion photographer, I see this project as have being a great opportunity to create something extraordinary; as I flick through pages of fashion magazines, I think that I could do this; or I constantly point out to any that care flaws in images or positive attributes with photos used in fashion magazines. I see myself heading into the direction of fashion photography as I find it strangely compelling and alluring; the way a fashion photographer can create so much with a camera and lighting is something that I find amazing. Fashion photography has the ability to create the ‘It’ factor; that something that so captures the times well that it becomes an icon, or zeitgeist of that time. There is a sense of fantasy that accompanies each photoshoot and spread; I’ve found that shooting my own scenarios involves not only the technical aspect such as camera exposures, lighting set-ups and conditions, but there is also a conceptual aspect to fashion photography that for me is the most appealing component. The ability to transform an ordinary person into a creature of fantasy is something central and imperative to a fashion photographer; as it is their job to make fantasy and the imagined into reality. Furthermore, through these images, I want to create images that will ‘hold’; wherein, the images themselves will be of such quality that they will not readily and easily date, and thus will become the backbone of my future portfolio. After many a laboriously long evening contemplating [and stressing] over what themes, ideas and concepts I could produce for my final series, I settled on the idea of an ‘updated’ and somewhat brash, re-imagining of Dadaism, [with a dash of Surrealism thrown in] in the form of fashion photography. I adopted the moniker or brand name of Nuova Dada; which, being of Italian background, recalls images of flicking through ream after ream and copy after copy of Vogue Italia, [of which I am an unspeakably massive fan], and the pure calibre and visual happening of the shoots and spreads presented in that singular magazine.
Having hoarded some almost two-dozen issues of Vogue Italia, or as I refer to it, over the course of two years, this magazine has been quite singular in shaping me as a photographer. The styles, the unconventionality and the sometimes shocking nature of the magazine set it apart from anything else. Constantly evolving; constantly provocative [and sometimes overtly controversial] this magazine has been like some lucid drug for me. Coming across a new issue of this magazine has become a ritual for me; seeing what brilliance Steven Meisel has come up with each month as well as the genius that is Steven Klein clearly became and addictive ritual. Looking through shoot after shoot by such esteemed, [and in my eyes, top] photographers it quickly became clear to me that this is the direction I wanted to head in. Through what I was to produce, I wanted people to:
Think Question Laugh These three points thus became my tenets, or my mini-manifesto. In my mind, fashion photography has always been [perhaps rightly] about foremost the presentability and the allure of models and the garments they wear. Serious in they’re frontery and efficiacy, the main objective thus of fashion photography has always been ultimately to sell the garment and product through its perfect presentation. I wanted to go against this conventional, rather nostalgic and sentimental mode of transferring meaning; instead of simply presenting the clothes, I wanted to present some kind of minute story, or scenario. Like Meisel’s work, I wanted some form of narrative. Also like Meisel’s work, I wanted to make people question the validity of the images as fashion photography. I also wanted to make people have a bit of a laugh. In short, for me, fashion photography needed a shot of whimsy, humour, envelope-pushing and perhaps just a little bit of good old panache…