06 March 2014

behind the scenes with Kim Buck

Hey Kim, soooooo any chance you'd be up for me covering you in charcoal and taking your portrait? .......... my proposal went something like that.

Kim Buck creates photo-realist charcoal drawings and the theme of the This Wild Song portraits is for the artist to become a part of their work.  My idea for Kim was to have her amongst the trees, covered in charcoal so she blends into them, creating a shape that was similar to one of the poses in her own work, and with a white sheet as a canvas.  I found the perfect spot which was the Black Forrest behind Woodend (Victoria), another reason for choosing this area is that my sister lives nearby so Kim could shower afterwards!

We shot the photo on a muggy and overcast day in December.  I'd been flat out with the kids that day, picked up Kim, drove to Woodend, dumped the kids at my sister's, and drove to the location.  The light was fading, which was extra pressure as I'm shooting these portraits at f11 at least, and we still had to make the mixture and cover Kim.

It has been a mad rush all day and I found it difficult to make the transition to artist-brain, to quieten down and look at the compositions of the landscape.  I danced around for longer than usual trying to pick the perfect location, wondering whether the white sheet as a canvas was going to work or look just plain naff.  I was really feeling the pressure with the light fading, photographing someone else, not wanting to subject poor Kim to a reshoot, and wanting to create a freakin awesome portrait.

We made the mixture of charcoal and glucose, with some water and black acrylic paint.  Then Kim got covered in the lovely mixture which you can see above, and I threw some ash and extra charcoal bits on her for more texture.  I couldn't believe it when I got the negs back and I got the shot in the fifth frame, instincts for the win!

By the end of it I was completely exhausted, sweaty, stinky, dirty and totally in my element.  It was a hard day but also super fun and definitely worth it.  Thank you sooooooo much to Kim for being a total trooper and going along with my crazy idea, you are all sorts of awesome.

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