By Kevin Casha
Wracking my brains, I decided to talk to a friend of mine who owns a 'gentleman's club ' on the island, (actually a lot of these have sprouted up during these last years - the success of these also points towards a changing scene on the island - but few of the 'patrons ' will admit to going there at all - particularly with their girlfriends and wives!)
Armed with a portfolio of my work and various examples of the type of photographs I wanted, saved on my iPhone, I started haunting these clubs for the sake of art! To be honest, it was quite an exciting time and I got quite friendly with some of the owners and girls at the clubs. The strategy worked. In no time at all I managed to source enough models to start off the project. It was still not easy, as, at times, I was looked upon with suspicion by some of the girls I tentatively approached, but my year's of experience in handling people paid off, and I managed to convince most of those I wanted to model for me. Naturally, some payment helped as well as giving the girls a set of images for their portfolios.
Georges managed to get me all the 'wine ' related props I needed and I set off to shoot the photographs. Actually, it took me less time to do the images than to find the models! I really enjoyed the challenge and after about a month, the job was concluded. I took all the images in my studio so that I had total control over lighting and the girls did not have to face the onlookers and hangers on if I were to shoot on location. Malta being so small and populated, it is not easy to do this type of work outdoors.
I also permitted the models to bring a friend to the studio so that they did not feel alone with a 'stranger ' while taking the pictures. This added to their comfort zone. I kept it in mind that most of these models were posing nude in a studio for the first time, so I made sure I made them feel safe and at ease. Nothing will ensure failure more than a nervous model
When the photography was finally concluded, Georges and I got together with the designers, Daniel and Reuben, of Kuluri Limited, to discuss the layout, fonts and details of the final publication.
Georges also used the new 'publish by order ' online system. In this way, we did not have to finance and offset print a number of copies of the book, not knowing if it will sell or not. The book was put up on various 'print on demand ' websites and clients can order their book online, and this is printed and dispatched to them. We will not make a lot of money, but we were all overjoyed to see the fruition of this project. The fact that our initial embryonic idea had blossomed into a final publication, titled Cleanskin, gave us all the fantastic satisfaction that we had surmounted our obstacles and went through with meeting the challenge.
I think the final product was successful mainly due to a concerted and planned team effort from all those who participated in the project. Finally, I sincerely dedicate the book to the models.
What next Georges??
Kevin Casha Master FSWPP, FMIPP, AMPA AMPS
There are 128 days to get ready for The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
which starts on Wednesday 22nd January 2020