Desolate Shoot

For the Desolate shoot my source of inspiration was Mad Max. I first began looking

  • Mad Max, 1979

The film presents a tale of societal collapse, murder, and vengeance set in the future, in which a policeman becomes embroiled in a feud with a vicious motorcycle gang.

I noticed how in the first 1979 film of Mad Max the clothing used in the production are leather jackets, white t-shirts and leather trousers – all inspired by bikers and what they wear. However, this was not a look I was trying to achieve for my societal collapse world – I wanted something more apocalyptic, so I looked at the 1981 Mad Max.


  • Mad Max, 1981

The film is a tale about a community of settlers who moved to defend themselves against a roving band of marauders. Max’s role as a hardened man, rediscovers his humanity when he decides to help the settlers.

The costumes and location are an improvement from the 1979 film as the outfits have more wear to them, this type of style is something I imagine more in an apocalyptic world. However, there is that recurring use of leather which is not how I wanted to style my model.


  • Mad Max, 2015

The film is set in a future desert wasteland where gasoline and water are scarce commodities. It follows Max Rockatansky,  who joins forces with Imperator Furiosa to flee from cult leader Immortan Joe and his army in an armoured tanker truck, which leads to a lengthy road battle.

The costumes for this were exactly what I wanted my model to look like. The attention to detail and consideration to the characters living environment was something I had to make sure was easy to see in my own images. I therefore had to create an outfit which was clearly worn dirty and distressed. I also had to make sure it was suitable for the desolate environment (using sheets to make a hoodie and scarf to protect from sun and dust).



Once I researched into Mad Max and I managed to get a rough idea on how I wanted my costume to look for the shoot I went up to the textiles department and asked if I could use any rags and sheets for my final project. The material I was given were cream sheets and rags. As the cream colour was not visually what I wanted I had to dye the materials. This was a challenge for me as I have never dyed any materials before.

When dying the sheets I had to become familiar with the colour wheel/spectrum again as in order to create the colour brown for my materials, I had to create the correct colour. To mix a brown you mix a primary with its complementary color, so purple and yellow; blue and orange; or red and green. At first, I was making yellows and then I was making purples. However, once I carried on experimenting with how much dyes I needed to mix together I started to get the hang of it, creating this perfect dark brown.

Creating the look for the Desolate World was the hardest of the 3 worlds due to the lengthy process of creating the outfit. For this world I had to physically create the outfit in comparison to the Utopian and Futuristic worlds where I just had to style the models. Dying the material took a long time because of the process of painting on the dye. However, on the plus side it meant that I did not have to wait too long for the material to dry as I did not purely dye the whole sheet, so the dying process had its pros and cons however if I was to repeat this process I would do it this was with the paint brush again because visually the lines/ strokes make the material look more worn.

Once the material was all finished I spoke to Lucy Savage on the foundation course who is studying Costume design. I was introduced to Lucy as she was creating a costume similar to the outfits seen in Mad Max (overalls/ hooded/ living in a desert location). I was shown her book she was working in and the illustrations she had made of the costume she was designing.

Lucy agreed to help me piece the outfit together as I had no experience in creating an outfit for somewhere to wear. Once all my dyed material was finished drying I brought it into the studio room where Lucy pinned it altogether.





Make up.

Deciding how I wanted the make up to look was much easier. I was inspired by Alexander McQueen make up for the runway. I sent images to Emma Wenzel who is studying ‘Make-up, for Media and Performance’ at the Arts University, Bournemouth to see if she would collaborate with me in creating my character for the desolate world shoot.

Below are the drawings Emma Wenzel created so she could get an idea about how she was going to create a similar look to the images I was sending her of Mad Max characters and runway models for Alexander McQueen.

These two illustrations where my favourite, so I asked if she would create this look – with a deep, dark black which was all around her eyes and over her eyebrows.



Studio Shoot. 

Once all the make up and styling was done it was just a matter of taking a great set of images. I struggled in the beginning getting the lighting correct as the brown paper looked very light. I did not like how the paper looked like cardboard, instead of the deep dark down I wanted. I also struggled with how narrow the paper was – the costume took up a lot of room so it was hard to keep my model in the centre of the paper (missing out the white wall), it also did not help that my model was much taller than me – but I stood on a box to take care of this problem.

When I had the white wall in my images, I used photoshop to crop out any distractions – making sure it was just the model and the colour background.

Desolate World – Studio Shoot.

Green Screen.

Following on from my photographs taken in the studio (colour background images and green screen images) I used the images taken on the green screen and edited them in Photoshop. I wanted to see how the green screen images would look if my model was put on location. Placing the character in a desolate location to me makes the message and really come alive and makes the characters life look real.

Above are screen shots taken when I was editing my images on Photoshop. I tried to make her presence in these 3 different locations look as believable as I could, by cropping away any sign of the green screen from the background. I also had to match the lighting of the model to the background.

For this image below I had to make sure the character was made darker on Photoshop as the background image is taken at dawn or sunset, so there is not much light in the sky lighting the model.

The first image contrasts to this second image (which is my favorite). I had to make sure my character was made very bright on Photoshop because the background image was taken at midday which was easy to tell by looking at the shadows present in the image. If my model was very dark it would have just looked like I copied and pasted her in.

This final green screen image is my least favorite out of the 3, this is because I really struggled to get the correct lighting on my character. I attempted to make her back look really bright and her face dark because the rocks are dark there (facing away from the sun). However, the outline of her is too sharp – I believe blurring the edges around her would have made it look more believable – her being in that location.


After experimenting with green screen and photoshop to imagine what the location for my desolate world would look like I started to get a picture of what I wanted to create by taking my model to a real place where I could shoot.

I chose to shoot at Hengistbury Head because of the cliffs located on the storm beach, present along the coastline which I knew would look perfect for my desolate world due to the colour palette, barenes, and the visual look of the edgy and sharp rocks.


Getting the exposure right out on location was more difficult than in the studio as the weather was very unpredictable and the light kept changing with clouds covering the sun throughout the day for example. To set the right exposure I used a light meter because I was intending to use the Metz Flash Gun to make my model pop out from the background.

The lighting meter helped me choose the correct camera setting (ISO and Aperture), making sure my image was light enough. Below was the first image I took when I only set both the light meter and my camera to an ISO of 200. When I took the image on an aperture of F6.0 it was too bright, as you can see below.


The lighting meter was telling me to set my aperture to F9 because visually I could see F6 was too bright. I also moved the Metz flash gun further away from my model to make sure the exposure was not as bright as the first image I took above.


I found location shooting was harder to control compared to working in the studio. For example when working in the studio I set my camera to an aperture of F6 and kept it on that for the whole time because the lights did not change unless I wanted them too. Contrasting to being outside where I had to continually repeat the process of using the light meter and changing my camera settings to get the correct exposure (really sunny at some points and then cloudy at other times).

When out on location I had to shoot in extremely windy conditions. This was a real task to shoot in as my models hair and costume kept getting in the way of her face, so the photos where not coming out as well as I had hoped for. This is an example of practical problems I was faced with and had to overcome by getting the model to face the wind so her hair was pushed back, rather than face away from the wind and have her hair blow over her face.

Edits for location shoot.

Using photoshop I uploaded the 10 best pictures I took for the location shooting, to which I proceeded to edit each image to narrow down my most favourite images.








When editing the images I took of the location I thought they were a very dull brown. This is why I used photoshop to match the location shots with the studio photos, trying to make the brown as dark as the background paper used for the studio. To make the location image darker – I used image, ‘auto tone’.




Location and Studio.

I started thinking about how my location images and studio portraits would look visually side by side as I thought the studio images were stronger than taking my model out on location. To get a basic visual representation on how the landscape and portrait would look together I used Microsoft Powerpoint to get a basic template and create a black boarder to separate them.

I created four images of landscape and portrait side by side, this meant I could carry out the process of elimination and choose the best two images that would work well together for my final ‘Desolate World’ images.


side by side 2

side by side 3

side by side 4

side by side copy

Final images. 



Evaluation and Reflection.

I think the ‘Desolate World’ shoots have been the most fun, I enjoyed trying out fashion styling as this was something I set to challenged myself in my project brief, this shoot was probably the most challenging out of all the styling I had to do for the shoots because I had to physically make the garments for my model.

Green Screen experiments and location shooting was also the most successful for the ‘Desolate World’ shoot. I think this was because it was the easiest world to represent visually. Meaning there were lots of locations which met the criteria of an apocaliptic world.

I think if I was to re-shoot again I would maybe add some more models into the picture, or I would go to different location shots, my next choice was The New Forest as there is apart of the forest which is all burnt down.





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