Ali Pirzadeh Shoot August 2018 - AP Wigs
The team on set in Shoreditch, London
Ali has set up his own wig brand AP Wigs. Ali is someone who I have always felt truly inspired by - his appreciation of beautiful, modern dusty hair is the reason he works on many high end campaigns, as well as editorials for Vogue.
To be contacted to shoot a beauty story for his new brand AP Wigs, was a genuine surprise, and I feel we saw where each other wanted to take the shoot from the early stages of planning. His references from early French beauty imagery helped me to storyboard where I wanted to take things in terms of location, light, shape, form, texture and proximity - and we shot the whole thing in our studio in Shoreditch, London, with incredible make up artist Valeria Ferreira, and Darren Knight on fashion.
The flowers in the first stills were alliums, which when dried have such a sculptural feel, and naturally caught in Emilie’s hair as she moved. For the set of pictures with the hydrangea in her hair, the drying process of the flowers developed the most incredible different tones, colours that were not visible when the hydrangea was alive. The flowers were all grown in my garden, and then we dried them at home. Ali broke some up and put them in the hair and over the fashion, which gave such a painterly feel to the story.
Our last frame was at 11.00 pm at night, when we truly had used every last sinew of ambient light, with a tiny lick from a flash head. Emilie at Tess Management worked relentlessly, especially in what was the hottest day of the year for decades. Everyone will remember the hot summer of 2018 for different reasons, my memories will always be of my son Freddy’s arrival, and this beautiful shoot with Ali.
Through the day we tried to get some film footage in between stills, and only got about nine or ten minutes worth - but when I watched through the filing that night, I felt we had caught something beautiful here. I’d met with my editor, and he took the brief on straight away. We agreed to make the film three layers: nature, model and texture. We decided there could be three strong stand alone films, but were short of enough nature for one of the films, so while on a shoot in Brittany, France, we used the light and location, and shot some of the French coastline with our drone, and also the local flowers. These colours all blended beautifully with the colours and textures in the story.