A collaboration with designer Ken Kumagai, who was graduating from fashion school at the time, and model Philipp Oberthaler. His collection got a nomination for the Austrian Fashion Awards in 2014, for which the submission of editorial level photography was also a requisite. The clothes were shown on the runway during Vienna Fashion Week, in front of a panel of judges.
The presentation of the showcase was inspired by the music of supercar, a band Ken and I both liked.
Why do we love sports?
Although it was not a paid commission, this was my first time doing photography in the service of someone who had something at stake. Fashion photography was what originally sparked my interest in picking up the craft, so I was very eager to find out how I would fare in a professional setting.
Finding a model and location that suited the theme of the collection was a challenge, considering it was inspired by baseball, but eventually the designer insisted on making the training grounds of Vienna’s biggest baseball club the place of the shoot.
My own ideas stirred towards an urban location, almost solely because I knew I would not have to deal with so much grass green in composing and post processing the images, but the field turned out to have an interesting mood, largely on account of the team practicing there.
I shot almost everything using a 50mm prime lens combined with a micro four thirds system, in order to still give the background enough room to speak for itself. Because it was an overcast day, I brought studio lighting in form of a flash mounted on a stand with an umbrella, which helped in providing directionality to the scenes.
What I believe worked for this shoot was the contrast between the model and theme. Philipp’s look was suited to a more gritty aesthetic, while the collection gave off a youthful, light blue impression. During retouching, I focused on maintainig elements of both, not going overboard with corrections and leaving in details that suited the sports aspect of the collection.
As expected, the project quickly turned into a race against submission deadlines. Because Ken wanted to show his collection off in full color, as it was supposed to act as a teaser for the runway show, we curated a number of photographs that he was happy with and sent them on their way. I personally really liked the noir shots, which is why you are seeing lots of them here.
I am very thankful to have received the chance to work on a project in a field that I admire when I was only seriously doing photography for about a year at the time, and have learnt a lot just from working together with a promising creative. Although the Austrian fashion prize went to another great designer, Ken later was fortunate enough to join the staff of an internationally renowned cult fashion label, soon after returning to Japan from studying abroad.