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Behind ‘At the Seams’

Published on
May 15, 2020
Written by
Aisling Gogan
Published by
Edited by

This past January my first editorial for RADmag entitled At the Seams was featured on the cover of issue 12. Since joining the team last spring, I’ve been curious to try my hand at different creative roles. Previously, I modelled for editorial shoots and created art independently, but never explored the role of a creative director. Taking my concept from idea to reality helped me to better understand the creative process behind photography and helped me to grow personally and professionally.

When you see a polished image, it can be hard to identify the work involved behind the scenes. It’s easy to think creative ideas occur serendipitously, through an unexplainable process. However, in creating my editorial, I’ve come to understand that the creative process can be broken down into steps from the inception of an idea to its execution. Creativity is the secret ingredient to tie everything together. Here are the five steps I took during my creative process of At the Seams.

Step One: The Concept

My concept At the Seams underwent many iterations but its core purpose remained; to portray the feeling of becoming ‘strung out’. I developed this concept by noticing how students, including myself, were experiencing creative burnouts from the pressures of balancing school, internships, and side projects. Students in creative fields are met with expectations that pull their focus in multiple directions, spread their time and energy too thin and leave them isolated. I observed how they often bear this weight alone, sporting the stereotype of an artist who creates in isolation instead of collaborating with others.

Around this time, I began flipping through art books, websites, Pinterest, and Tumblr to gather visual inspiration. I came across a couple photoshoots which incorporated string/yarn and decided it could be used as a prop to embody tension and stress juxtaposed with the motifs of support and collectivism in the photographs.

Step Two Mood board & Pitch

To visualize my concept, I began with sketches and doodles and quickly moved to Pinterest to create a mood board. Mood Boards help spark further inspiration and map details such as colour, lighting, styling and shot composition. This step helped me to clearly communicate my concept to the team when it came time to pitch. During the pitch, the team worked with me by contributing their own ideas to better realize the potential of my concept.

Step Three Team Formation

Upon receiving the news that I had a spot in issue 12, I located and organized models, a stylist, photographer, makeup & hair artist, videographer, and assistants. RAD’s distribution manager, Alex, helped connect me with Working Proof Studio, who were kind enough to sponsor our shoot. Working Proof supplied lighting equipment, backdrops, and the necessary studio space in which to create. I was able to recruit friends to help out which made the experience even more special.

Step Four Plan Plan Plan

The weeks leading up to the shoot consisted of sourcing clothing and props, planning looks, and communicating back and forth with my team. Before the shoot, I drew a sketch of each shot I wanted to achieve just as you would storyboard for a film. This type of visual planning helped the team stay on track because we were able to use them as a plan to refer back to during the shoot. The night before, I sent out a call sheet and a schedule for the day, making sure to set aside time for breaks and clean up.

Step Five Execution

Everyone arrived early so we made sure to grab coffee and snacks. We got started on setting up lights, hair, makeup, and styling details. Delegating roles to my teammates such as timekeeper and prop assistant, ensured everyone had a part – allowing me to focus on directing shots. Everyone was able to contribute their own ideas and collaborate on set to help create the photographs I envisioned. Without this collaboration, the images would not have turned out the same way.

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Through this experience, I learned that having a great concept is only the first step in the creative process. Everyone has their own methods of creating but execution involves a lot of organization, planning, and collaboration. Planning ahead of time is important but things never go as you expect. That’s why you should trust in your creative intuition and believe that your ideas have the potential to be turned into a reality. At the Seams is a project close to my heart and I am immensely proud to be able to share the end result with you. To check out At the Seams, go to issue 12, you can find it online or buy a physical copy! It would mean a lot to all of us at RADmag and help us to create more content <3.