Behind the Scenes: GUCFS Photo Shoot

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  1. [Written by: Isolda Hanney]

The glitz. The glam. The fashion.  Fashion shoots are what keep us turning the pages of magazines. But while they may look glamorous, there is a lot more that goes into the production of a photo shoot than you might imagine.

GUCFS have roughly four months between model castings in October and the final show in February, to produce and publish photos showcasing an array of different designers. This requires multiple fashion shoots. Four months may seem like a long time, but making sure models are all in the same place at the same time, sourcing clothes from up-and-coming designers and finding the time to prep and shoot usually brings this deadline to a crunch. So, what really goes on behind the scenes of a GUCFS photo shoot? I spent the day with the menswear team to see how their latest fashion shoot came together and find out more about capturing the perfect shot.

At 1pm I arrive at Kelvin Hair, GUCFS’ partner hairdressers who create the hair styles for all the shoots and the final show.  Already setting up in the salon are the two makeup artists that work closely with GUCFS – Karen Wong and Kellie Marnoch, who are new and crucial additions to the creative team this year. Today, four of the male models will be shot wearing bright and fun designs from Sean Barbour, a Northumbria fashion graduate.  As we wait for the models to arrive, our Creative Director, Anne Manuel, shows me the shoot’s mood board.  “Shoots have been planned since before June” explains Anne while going through what today’s hair and makeup entails for each of the models. I never knew how detail-oriented styling a shoot could be, and how oblivious I was of the complexities of the creative world with the myriad of things that have to be accounted for during a photo shoot.

By roughly 1.30pm, all the models have filtered in and hair and makeup are well under way. Today’s styling is minimal as not to distract from the colourful designs being sported.  A typical Glasgow day, it’s raining outside with no sign of stopping anytime soon. The location for the shoot, which was originally supposed to take place along the bank of the Clyde, has to be rethought; it seems too long a journey for models, freshly-groomed and newly-attired.  In spite of the meticulous planning, everyone is aware that everything can change last minute, so there is an understanding that everybody needs to be flexible.

Soon enough, a new location for the shoot is decided and a small army of brightly dressed models make the short journey down the street to the greenhouses in the Botanics, attracting stares from passers-by who are both curious and confused as to who they are and what is going on.  The woman behind the lens is the talented Jessica Jane, and like me, it’s her first GUCFS shoot, but judging by her unbelievable shots, it is definitely not her first ever photo shoot. Capturing the right photos is all a process of trial and error – finding areas of light, backgrounds that complement the colours of the clothes, and sequences of poses for the models.  However, it’s not all work and no play either; the shoot itself lasted less than two hours, and time passed quickly as everyone became more comfortable, our echoes of laughter soon spreading through the greenhouses.

It is experiences like these, and collaboration amongst students of different backgrounds, degrees, and creative approaches, that create worlds of opportunity. Although large projects as such can be challenging to execute due to differing ideas and opinions, there is much to be said about the positive outcome of these joint-efforts. The beautiful photos from the shoot are a direct reflection of the success that comes from co-operation and hard work.

My favourite thing about the shoot was watching it really come together and the sense of satisfaction when the photographer could capture what was once just a vision.  Creating the perfect shot is a coup for everyone involved— the chance to have your work seen, remembered, and, perhaps, someday emulated. A lot of people work together to create it.  I walked away from the GUCFS shoot inspired and in awe of the talents and the behind-the-scenes effort put in by all those involved.


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