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Sixteen-To-One

Concept: David Jenner | Photographer: Darren Rowley | Model: Sammi Jo Bell
Shoot length: 8 hours | Equipment: Nikon D700, Nikkor 24-70mm, f/2.8

Sixteen-To-One was a concept I had to create a multiplicity picture like no other!

The genre of multiplicity images is to feature the same model in a variety of poses within the same composition. I worked with a my good friend Darren Rowley to create a unique photograph that would keep the viewer compelled. We started planning the shoot in January 2012 and took three months to map out the ideas, source the location, numerous props and other paraphernalia. Finally we approached professional model and dancer, Sammi Jo Bell to be the star of the show. It took a further six months for us all to be able to come together and the shoot eventually took place on 9 September 2012. Although conveniently located, the venue had to be prepped and we were only granted access for one day.

The camera was in a fixed position set to 24mm wide angle at f/8 so we knew the exact parameters of our stage, the challenge was just how we going to populate it! The key to any multiplicity shot is to be as scientific as possible so that you capture all the shots on the one day, the last thing we wanted was have to come back and reshoot. Because of the nature of our image we had to build the layers with each model in their respective position and we had to be mindful of how they were going to interact with each other (note how she's pulling her own hair in the central two characters). To add further complication we knew we going to make a mess -
a lot of mess! We used a theatrical synthetic blood to "decorate" the environment and because of this, costumes and scenery were going to be indelibly stained so the pressure we were under was considerable. We took our time to set everything just right; over an hour to perfect the lighting and a further six hours to shoot in excess of 600 frames across the whole day.

Once the pictures were in the can and the clean up operation had been completed I was then faced with the daunting task of distilling hundreds of pictures down to one final composition. Bear in mind that we didn't actually know how it was eventually going to look, we took many more shots than was required knowing that we wouldn't have the opportunity to do it again. I spent hours sifting through the different pictures gradually selecting the most appropriate ones for the finished work and finally the chosen sixteen characters were all cut out and masked so they could be individually controlled for exact location and lighting effect.

Both Darren and I took pleasure from the fact we knew we were working on something unique and pushing our skills as a photographer and graphic artist to create just one special image. Sammi was a delight to work with and the finished picture is testament to her talent and we should also like to thank Joanna Burke for all her assistance in the project.
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