Featured Photographer – Alice Speller

1.  Tell us a bit about the image.
I have been wanting to do a clown style ballerina photoshoot for a while, I have looked on Google but not found anything like this,  When I originally had the idea, Clowns where in the media for all the wrong reasons, so held off. Plus I needed to find the right dancer, not everyone is game for this look!
Finally with the release of Stephen King’s film *IT* and having a willing ballerina on hand, I was able to look into making this shoot a reality.
I informed Holly what I wanted and how I wanted her too look, I knew the alley way I wanted to shoot it in,  all I needed to do was get it shot, we planned this on the Monday, outfit ordered, arrived on the Thursday , shoot on the Friday and all over and done in 20 mins!

2. What inspired you to take the shot?
I love pushing my boundaries, I love doing images that not everyone else is doing, breaking that line between *normal* and *what the hell are you doing* The feedback from this image has been amazing, (well of course, I wouldn’t be answering these questions other wise)
People who don’t like clowns saying its captured their attention, A lady who doesn’t like face paint stopped to comment, this is what inspires me, taking images that make people talk, think and look twice, that is what inspires me & pushes me forward.

3. What gear did you use for the shot including lighting?
I keep my gear simple, canon and a couple of off camera flashes, One behind, one in front. I don’t have time or space in public to be fluffing around too much.

4. Tell us about the editing process?
The editing of this I loved,  I use ACR to make the starting adjustments, shadows, highlight’s, lifting blacks, opening in Photoshop, cleaning up the image is the main process, cropping to the ratio I want, adding back in background,  I use a lot of curve layers, hue and sat layers to bring out color as well as adding a vibrant pop to the reds, I didn’t need to do much to the face, as the MUA had done a really good job, just dodge and burn to make her stand out, a fog texture added then back into ACR for my own hand made preset to give it the final finish. And I went for the more muted background tones to really make her stand out.

5. How does this piece reflect you as an artist
I grew up reading horror novels and watching horror films, yet my life is one of bright and airy, fairies and ethereal, pretty and soft, I wanted to see if I could go to the darker side, without zombifying up a ballerina (hmmm now there’s an idea 😀 ) It shows me that I can step outside of the pretty box and produce an image that is so outside the standard and do it in a way that isn’t tacky or bad.
Most certainly will be looking into this style again.


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