One Shot is Collater.al’s column that delves into the work of a photographer starting with a single shot that can describe his or her style and imagery. This episode’s guest is Cai Fox Leplaw, whom Collater.al asked a few questions. In Cai Fox Leplaw’s research, the artistic creation is moved by the urgency of provoking emotions: this can happen through photography, music, video or any expressive form capable of giving form/voice to a mood.
The often disturbing and dystopian visions of Cai, are the result of a total immersion of the photographer in the creative process, in which the place and the photographed subject renegotiate and redefine a symbolic emotional space. The outcome of the process is always the construction of images with a very strong visual impact.
In this shot, the obsessive repetition of the same twisted, in tension and altered body, in dialogue with the lunar context, creates a sense of bewilderment and alienation, exacerbated by the post production digital intervention.
1. On your Instagram account, you often share the production and post-production process of your shots, revealing the making of. Can you tell us about the chosen shot, how and where you took it? How many people were on set? What type of equipment do you use during the shooting?
The chosen shot was taken just outside of Sydney which was scouted spontaneously on our day trip. I have always been drawn to locations that have a unique and natural beauty to them, and this location was no exception. I believe that locations are just as much a subject of the work as the model, and I always strive to find a location that will complement the subject and add to the overall aesthetic of the shot.
When shooting on location, I prefer to rely on minimal assistance and natural lighting. I find that this approach allows me to capture the beauty and essence of the location in a more authentic and organic way. when shooting outdoors I tend to keep my kit lite, just taking a Canon EOSR6 and a versatile R series lens. This allows me to stay focused on the development of the image, without having to worry about production choices and how they will affect the overall image.
One of the key elements in my photography is finding beauty in the grotesque. I love to walk the fine line between the real and the surreal, in this particular shot, I was able to capture the natural beauty of the location while also incorporating a sense of eeriness and intrigue, creating a somewhat utopian landscape.
In terms of the number of people on set, it was just me and the model. I prefer to work with a small team, as it allows me to focus on the creative process and fully immerse myself at the moment. I believe that this approach leads to a more authentic and personal connection with the subject and ultimately results in a better shot.
2. In your shots, faces are often erased, deformed, altered: all of this contributes to creating disturbing situations and dystopian visions, just like in this shot. Where does this vision come from? What particular software and tool do you use to edit shapes and bodies?
This vision of using faceless subjects in my work comes from a desire to create a sense of universality and relatability in the images. By removing any specific identity, the viewer is able to place themselves in the shoes of the subject and connect with the emotions or feelings being portrayed in the image. Additionally, the use of faceless subjects creates an uneasy sense of unknowing, adding to the overall impact of the work.
In terms of the software and tools I use to edit shapes and bodies, I utilize a variety of different programs. However, Photoshop is my go-to for editing and manipulating images. It offers a wide range of tools and features that allow me to achieve the desired results in my work. I achieved the final result and my creative identity through the pairing of pre-planning and post-production.
3. The alteration of the image could constitute a theoretically infinite process in itself: when do you realize that you have achieved the final result?
Personal preference and practice align to create a feeling or mood in the work that I am satisfied with. I guess this is really where my visual identity can be seen, what defines my work from the work of others.