Vogue Cigarettes, Red Lips and Neckerchiefs with Rikesh Chauhan
Our Creative, Rikesh, got creative behind his Camera with the beautiful Faye. Rikesh talks all things composition and explains why he considers himself more artistic than technical…
There’s a lot I love about photography, but one thing in particular is that it’s seemingly impossible to master. Be it technological advances, new subjects, tricks or methods, the only real constant is change. No matter how good you are, there’s always room to develop and improve, whether you’re a first year college student or a seasoned professional.
When it comes to taking photos (and making music and writing for that matter), I consider myself more artistic than technical. I’ve never really been great with textbook-learning but I know what I see, and I know how to do it; how it needs to be done.
The most important elements when it comes to taking photos for me, then, are composition, emotion and detail.
I tend to favour photography with one focal subject, which is why I gravitate towards portraiture and reportage (and primes). The apparent ‘simplicity’ of it enables you to look deeper into the image. In order to fully convey the message, the photo needs to engage the viewer and prompt them to ask questions. What was this person thinking when they got photographed? Where were they? What was going on outside the frame? What was the subject’s relationship like with the photographer? Is it an accurate depiction of their character or was it a fleeting moment that just happened to be captured?
These are some of the questions I ask when I look at portraits, and are questions I go into photoshoots considering. The ability to connect with an image, to give it an emotional attachment and sentiment, to literally freeze time, continues to fascinate me to this day.
I chose Faye [@fayeisabella] as my subject to talk about image composition. I met her at Fashion Week a few years ago, and have shot with her several times since. Her features are striking, but the way she can command the camera all-the-while maintaining an air of nonchalance is a difficult thing to master. Shoot with her and you’re almost always transported to a 1970s Paris – Vogue cigarettes, red lips, neckerchiefs, coffees and all.
I wanted to shoot the majority of this in black and white, so the aim was to keep the background and props as minimal as we could. We decided to shoot at her flat early Saturday morning as natural light is always best around then. Using coffee, plants and a series of beautiful jewellery from @alicemadethis as our lead props, it was important to make sure we kept the rule of thirds, negative space and depth of field as front of mind as possible.
Touching on the moodboard, I had loose images in mind of Twiggy, Parisian Vogue covers and a style that fused together Taylor Shae and David Bailey. Faye’s soft gestures and poses were countered by her piercing eyes; the delicateness of the plants and clothes were off-set by the sharp, solid silhouettes of the statement jewellery. Balance, therefore, is integral when trying to encapsulate a lot in a little—which makes composition an artform in itself.