Life, death and the normality of everyday existence... with a rock 'n' roll vibe. This was the concept behind Elevator's photo campaign for denim brand Blood & Glitter. Paul Skellett explains the inspiration behind it.

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Increasing creative frustration in his former role as head of design and motion media for an international branding organization made Skellett strike out in partnership with award-winning advertising photographer Matt Cannon. Together they formed Elevator in January this year with the intention of providing a full service from concept to creation and delivery.

"We like to think of ourselves as not just thinkers but doers," explains Skellett. "We've a wide range of service skills, all in-house and hands on so we only outsource a skill if we think it's in the interest of the client's project." From design and photography, to branding, copy writing, filming, editing, motion graphics and CGI, Elevator aims to be a one-stop agency.

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One of Elevator

The project came about through word of mouth, says Skellett, when initially a rep from the Internet company that was creating the back end of Elevator's Web site recommended it to Terry and Lee Fraser of Blood & Glitter.


"Lee loved our brochure," recalls Skellett. "Our style and so called rock 'n' roll attitude fitted in nicely with theirs. We were very impressed with their designs and they with ours. I've never met a client with so much passion for their work."

"On showing our book, Lee picked out two images that were pure gritty art pieces - one of which I had created 60 per cent out of the digital realm and 40 per cent in the physical realm. I knew then that this had the potential to be a great professional marriage," he says.

Defining the brand

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Blood & Glitter are fashion designers specializing in vintage denim. With celebrity fans such as guitarist Slash from Guns & Roses and Velvet Revolver, and the Cult

The finished artwork from the product shoot incorporates rich, deep colour and complex textures, with the models posed in a gritty urbanized setting with, yet unaware of, religious symbolism all around them. In formulating the concept for the shoot, Skellett was influenced by Jack Kerouac's book Subterraneans and its references to 'Christlike' youths, as well Byzantine-style religious icons.

"Life, death and the normality of everyday existence. We wanted to pull all of that in, but with a difference," says Skellett of the creative concept for the shoot.

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"We wanted the masculine and feminine to dissolve and intertwine, we wanted the beauty to co-exist with a sense of naïve rebellion and an aggressive sexual curiosity," says Skellett. "I wanted to try and capture a youth culture that inherently had the need to rebel but at the same time was aware that their planet was falling apart giving rise to wanting to find something to believe in. This is why the religious overtones were incorporated."
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With the Blood & Glitter shoot being the first major shoot the company had done, Matt Cannon was keen to create something special.
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"We did the whole thing with a Mamiya RZ67 on Fuji Provia 100 film," he says. "Our reasons for not shooting digital for this job - without sounding pretentious - was that we felt that having original transparencies would have more image value rather than them just being a digital file." Cannon used a 65mm lens to create a slight wide-angle effect and shot on f/32 to maintain maximum detail in the clothes and the surrounding set.
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The set centred around a burnt out XJ6 Jag in front of a 18ft-square piece of canvas that had been painted blood red with a bucketful of glitter ground into it. 
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"Using more powerful background lights, with gels, gave us the control and leeway needed in balancing the whole shoot - even though balancing these lights to the required level took us one hell of a pre-day setup," says Cannon. 
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"This type of lighting is the perfect basis for post-production," he adds. "It

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“This is where many people fall down when intentionally prepping for post work, they think that Photoshop alone will create the dynamic feel they set out to achieve. If you put shit in, you get shit out, although I have seen Paul manage to rescue a couple of pig

Skellett and Cannon worked hard to keep the client confident of the project's direction by getting them involved in the shoot. "A shoot is an event and should be enjoyed as such, we got the food, drink, and sounds," says Skellett. "But all the time you're building an image in the client's mind."

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Once post production was finished, Elevator presented the images to the client printed up A2 size on metallic photographic paper. Blood & Glitter

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<h2>Wheels on fire</h2>
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Key prop for the Blood & Glitter shoot was a burnt out, green XJ6 Jag. "As Blood & Glitter are an English company, we needed a British icon of a car but you

Credits

Brand: Blood & Glitter, www.bloodandglitter.com
Agency: Elevator Productions, 01543 472 473 www.elevatorproductions.com
Agency team: Paul Skellett, Matt Cannon, Emma Thompson, Neil Williamson
Models: Daniel Lismore, Tristan Cook, Tom Worrall, Elizabeth Jay, Jolie Myatt, Imogen Gray and Sarah Qaiser all from Adage Models.

Post production: creating fire and flames in Adobe Photoshop

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1. Having chosen the images he wanted from the shoot, Paul Skellett began the post production process by cleaning up the base images.
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8. When it came to creating the wings, Skellett fortunately owns a parrot and could scan in individual feathers along with an image of her with her wings open. To add depth, he created multiple layers with different blends.
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