Monday, March 3, 2008
Roderick Angle - Punk Fashion, Vintage Style
Fashion shooter Roderick Angle is unafraid to break the rules. When the assignment calls for it, he can go from the latest digital gear to work with prehistoric Polaroid.
“Hopefully, the ones you think I didn't do any lighting at all,” he says, “I lit to death. And the ones you think I lit to death, I used natural light. Sometimes, honestly, I don't even remember. There's definitely not a formula. But there's an idea! It's whatever you need to get the image you want.”
For many of the shots in the Elizabeth and James series, Angle wanted to re-create that flattering Polaroid flash look, so he used one strobe, just above the camera. “It's hung right overhead,” he says. “We put it on a rolling stand, we were running all around town—extremely portable. I can move wherever I want to and the assistant just follows me with the light.
“Sometimes it's natural light,” Angle continues, explaining that he's not afraid to leave good light untouched. “Like one of the first stories on my Website; it's all shot outside. It's a mod story; the girls have bobs and everything is shot from severe angles—that was all natural light. The idea behind that was surveillance. I used really long lenses, 600mm lenses, I'm on top of a building, the girls are like two blocks away. Whatever it takes to get the shot.”
Angle's “whatever it takes” attitude carries beyond getting the shot. He approaches clients in much the same way. As a fashion photographer, he knows he's sometimes expected to create a spectacle for the client—that's just part of the game. Give the clients what they paid for, and make sure they feel it all the way. Put on a show.
“Sometimes it depends on what it is,” Angle says. “For an editorial, it doesn't matter. But sometimes, sure, for a big job and you know it's going to be simple lighting, but they want to see all those scrims and flags and everything around. It's not just with the lighting; it's with everything else. Just your attitude, the energy in the studio, how long it takes you to get the shot, how many frames you shoot—all that stuff. I think they want to see you shoot more frames. If you walk in and click it 10 times and say, ‘Okay, great, I got it.' And they're like, ‘Wait a second; it's one o'clock. We paid you for a full day.' Pace yourself and ‘wait for the moment to develop.' I'm doing air quotes as I say that.”
Air quotes or not, Angle's unafraid to put on a show for the designers and agency types and glitterati in his studio. Ultimately, no amount of theatrics can hide the finished picture, though, so he certainly delivers. Clients are paying for his talent, whether it's manifested through a whole location assignment shot on proofing film or a black-and-white studio shoot with a digital back as expensive as a new car. Angle's approach is both enviable and a great lesson: Work how you want, shoot what you love, and don't forget to have fun while you're at it. Show the client your greatness, and take pride in your art—because it is art.
“I don't really believe in the elitist notion that art can only be understood by the intelligentsia,” Angle says. “Man Ray had a whole fashion career. That's how I thought of it: Well, okay, I could put my work on a wall and maybe 1,000 people can see it, if I'm lucky; maybe it's only 50. Or I could put it in a magazine and 500,000 can see it. And I want everybody to see it.”
To see more of Roderick Angle's photography, visit www.roderickangle.com.
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