Parts of the Process — Mr Porter photography commission by Cat Garcia
This article was published as part of our soft launch in 2016.
Photographer Cat Garcia works across portrait, reportage and advertising, capturing people and places with a lightness of touch and sense of storytelling. As well as commissioned work Cat dedicates time to personal series and here she explains how one project in particular ‘Our Time’ led directly to a new client.
Martin Roth – Our Time
I first started shooting for Mr Porter back in summer 2014, after I'd met with them and showed them my portfolio. I had just released my book 'Our Time' which was a personal photography series of portraits and detail shots from time spent with 60 British creatives. As personal work it showcased the way in which I like to shoot and the things that I'm drawn to, which are natural, quietly observed intimate portraits and details that tell a story, in a mix of black and white, and colour. I've always loved Mr Porter, their branding and the original content on The Journal section of their website. I thought and hoped my work would be a good match for what they do, Olivia my agent at Breed was able to connect us and I met with the team at Mr Porter HQ. Happily they thought a good fit and were keen to shoot a story for The Journal in a observed/documentary style, similar to my work for Our Time.
The first brief from Mr Porter was for a story for the 'Grey Fox' issue of The Journal. Focusing on older men's style and featuring David Evans, the writer and author behind the Grey Fox blog. I love the mix of people that Mr Porter cast for their Journal stories, really interesting people that make for both strong written interviews, and photo stories. The brief was to capture a styled portrait story with about x5 different menswear looks with David Evans, natural in style and creating the sense of a story with captured moments of him getting ready for his day, in a mix of black white and colour.
On this particular shoot I worked closely with Art Director Jay, Marie in Production and Stylist Scott, from the stellar Mr Porter creative team, with Kota whose work I love, as groomer and Guy as brilliant assistant/lighting.
Mr Porter create the brief, giving an overview of the story they want to create, introducing the talent, and setting the visual concept/mood/tone with a mood board.
This shoot was shot in a location house, so Marie, Jay and I went back and forth with various location options over email before deciding on the best location for the story, that which offered the best options of different room settings, architectural details, natural light and a good fit for the theme of the story. As it was an empty location house we decided on a few key props, a couple of chairs/mirror, and ordered those from prop houses to be delivered to the location.
Mr Porter send a call sheet for all involved, so everyone on same page, ahead of the shoot.
Initial set up (loading in equipment), deciding on exact areas within location house to shoot, and at what time based on movement of natural light. Stylist to decide on different looks and key things to capture for each look/throughout the day, them prepping all looks, steaming clothes etc. Meeting the talent David Evans with Art Director Jay and giving him the overview of what/how we'd like to capture on the shoot.
In terms of lighting and equipment, a simple portable set up using beautiful natural light is always my preference and aim. We shoot tethered to laptop, so the team can see everything as we shoot and can tweak styling details or any room/prop details, to really refine what is in the final frame. With this kind of natural portrait style and for the more candid style we were after, I find it works well to explore the location, to work with and craft the natural/ambient light, to shoot options, to keep things moving, relaxed and unfolding naturally, creating little stories for the shots based on the style he's wearing or the room we're shooting in.
Edit and Delivery
From the shoot I then send a shortlist as a pdf for Mr Porter to select from, giving options to show how the mix of black and white might work. The team at Mr Porter review and come back a couple of days later with their selects plus any minimal retouch or colour correction requests, minimal to keep the natural look and feel of the images. I then send high res files for them to work into their layouts for the feature. The feature is lined up and scheduled to be released on a set future date, on The Journal on mrporter.com