Jonathan De Montfort - Author and Publisher

Turner - the story

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Trying to get the vision out of the head of an author is a surprisingly difficult thing to do, especially when you consider that they describe scenes in their writing that are designed to make you sink into their characters and explore other worlds and possibilities. I think one of the reasons for this is that reading a story is a singularly personal thing. The way the characters form in your head, exactly how the suit fits or the style of the chess piece.

The planning for this series of photographs and short films was intense. Lots of back and forth, a few trial runs, last minute deliveries of what felt like the heaviest chess set in the world and the interesting side glances as an extremely large and weighty sword was carried into the studio.

It was clear from the very beginning we’d need a green screen studio because the cost of actually finding the real locations and flying Jonathan, the model and my team out would have been prohibitive and with the timelines also being fairly tight, it seemed the most sensible option.

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The way forward then was to create a series of images based on the main themes of the book, the dark and the light and for all the other scenarios to create composite images. These are however much more tricky to shoot as there are multiple issues at play, the main one being making sure that the lighting on every element of the picture matches, otherwise the whole thing looks fake. This includes the shadows too, which are often the big giveaway in these scenarios. The first thing we did was to select the background images with Jonathan as we didn’t have a working copy of the book at that stage, therefore the scenarios were all in his head. Secondly could we reproduce the lighting and the feel when I photographed the people in the studio and what did we need to make that happen.

Having booked the studio, hired the model, bought all the props, sweated up the stairs with the heaviest chess board I’ve ever seen, we had our sets and scenarios. Now all we had to do was make it happen in front of the camera…

As part of the project I also shot a series of promotional films for the book launch. Here is one of my favourites…

Promotional video for Author Jonathan De Montfort for his book - Turner