“The risks of using Helium-filled balloons in a balloon dancer’s outfit cannot be understated”
This shoot was a bit unusual for us in that I had two very specific images in my mind that I wanted to create. This is one of them – the other was the one of the soldier trying to burst the balloon with a cigar. I felt quite nervous because I wasn’t entirely sure how to physically achieve it and felt a bit exposed that a lot of time and effort was being put into the shoot.
For me, pin-up is a mix of things: There are certain makeup and outfit rules, but the two main components are a mix of knowing eroticism and humour. If there are two things I like, it’s a sexy lady and a bit of a laugh. If I can somehow get electric guitars in there I will be golden.
Something that often features in pin-up is a sense of juxtaposition (“Girl in bikini holding a hammer”) and sometimes a hint of girly incompetence. (“Whoops I dropped my hammer I’ll bend over to pick it up”) For some reason – now lost amidst the sands of time – I had originally thought about using making balloon animals as a silly task that would at the very least evoke some laughter. But this lead me onto the idea of balloon dancers – obviously down the burlesque end of the pin-up spectrum – as something fun colourful and sexy.
I had seen pictures of Jordann and thought she had especially beautiful eyes. I knew we would need to shoot the balloon bits at the right moment in the shoot to get the maximum energy and lightest mood. We shot some very nice monochrome images en route and I think it worked very well. Jordann was a great sport and put up with a lot of tricky posing during the shoot; it was great to see her warm up as the shoot went on and her natural sense of fun came to the fore.
We knew Amy Hill was a very safe pair of hands as make-up artist. Jordann is not a traditional pin-up girl but Amy brought all of her skills to the task of transforming her. Amy also has a very keen creative eye and had loads of helpful input. She also provides a useful female voice on the otherwise impressively male team behind the camera. We would recommend Amy to any photographer in a heartbeat (as long as she doesn’t get too busy to work with us).
I love spontaneity and the happy accidents that happen so often in photoshoots, and I know we got lots of great images around the main event on this shoot. But there is nothing quite like having a specific visual idea in your head and being able to render it in the final photo. I really think we really nailed this image with a great team effort.
And I accidentally learnt how to make balloon animals during the process.
More from this shoot in the Beauty section.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
F/11 1/125s ISO200