Saturday, 6 November 2010

Research: Lara Jade

I first became aware of Lara Jade's photographs in 2007. I read an article about a court case she was involved in (and has since won.) An adult entertainment distribution company (that's probably the safest name to use), had used a self portrait she'd taken as a DVD cover without her permission. And quite rightly she was trying to get some compensation. An unfortunate event, but the upside is that it drew the world's attention to just how good a photographer she is. Despite only being 21, she has already amassed an amazing portfolio and is quickly becoming recognised as a brilliant fashion photographer.

Self portrait: Cut Off Lips3 © Lara Jade, October 16 2006

Specialising in portraiture. Lara Jade's photo's are mostly high concept fashion shoots. She is always very involved in the whole process, and is often personally responsible for the styling and hair dressing. Although many of the shoots are commissioned by magazines, or fashion manufacturers, She also undertakes a lot of personal projects. These are frequently merely an attempt to improve her skills, or to release the ideas she has bubbling in her head, but in my opinion are usually the most spectacular (as you'll see).

Fantasy Series

Although Jade has created a whole load of different photographic series: phobias, crime scenes (morbid, but beautiful), bird cage. The standout images for me, are her creative/fantasy series. I'll admit though this might be because I'm a self confessed fantasy buff (My book collection is currently spread over several rooms!) A personal project she shot in may 2008. I think they best represent  her style and approach to photography. The series consists of 23 photographs and I've selected a couple of my favourites to illustrate what she can do.

© Lara Jade, May 21 2008
This is by far my favourite of all the pictures. Called yellow brick road, it's obviously inspired by the wizard of Oz, but with an opulent and ethereal beauty that typifies Jade's work. As far as the composition is concerned, there are a number of things I like. The yellow brick road itself naturally leads the eye towards the model (Danielle, not Dorothy), and she in turn leads the eye towards the emerald city at the centre of the picture. I also think the fact the model has been captured moving and that the hedges loom in at the sides (creating an almost claustrophobic atmosphere), all helps to add a real sense of urgency. I get the feeling she desperately wants to get to the city. Lara has said she has no problem using photoshop to enhance her images, which is evident in this picture. Blatantly the castle has been added in post processing, but I think there are other elements of the picture that have also been changed. Looking at it, I'd say the square hedge is a manipulation, but the other trees were actually at the location. To give the picture a grungy look, the general tone has been adjusted, the edges of the picture have been darkened and a dirty texture overlayed.

© Lara Jade, May 21 2008
The next photograph I've chosen, is a perfect example of what I want to achieve with my assignment pictures, the use of colour to define, but not dominate the image. Despite being mostly out of focus, the red foliage is what makes the picture work and combined with the strong central light source, becomes a perfect frame. The other brilliant piece of compositional technique, is the use of the foliage and introspective look on the models face, to creates a sense of almost voyeuristic intrusion, a sense that you're seeing something you shouldn't.

One of my initial ideas was to do a series of fantasy based pictures, but I eventually decided to shelve it, due to a lack of time and finances. If by some miracle  I'm allowed to continue on to level 2 (and even level 3) I would like to return to this theme. 

"I have been inspired by dreams,
nightmares, childhood memories"
-Lara Jade-
© Lara Jade, May 6 2008 

Jade has more than a thousand photographs in her Flickr albums, and though the above might be a selective quote, it would seem to fit with the majority of them. You can't help but notice how her pictures have a fairytale element, sometimes it's a strange twist on those fairy tales, but it's there nonetheless. She has an ability to view everyday objects and turn them in to surreal and dreamlike creations. 

 © Lara Jade, February 19 2008
Not that I'm suggesting a giant bird cage is an everyday object, but you get what I mean! I think part of this ability stems from her photographic influences. These include Tim Walker, Sølve Sundsbø, Miles Aldridge. All of these have an eccentric and individual style, often transforming the mundane in to the fantastical.

Well there you have it Lara Jade. An incredibly young, but incredibly talented photographer (don't you hate some people!) I still don't know if this is too much information, or too little (probably the latter.) I'm sure Marie will let me know!

Thanks to Lara for allowing me to use her photographs

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