Editorial / First Light
Featuring MUA by Abbie May Hopkins
We speak to Reading based photographer Jake Hicks about his striking fashion editorials First Light and Lady On Fire. Working closely with featured MUA Abbie May Hopkins on both shoots, Jake experiments with harsh lighting processes and elaborate hair styling, capturing attitude, elegance and beauty.
"No matter how varied the role the project outcome is always the same; a collection of bespoke pieces that have a depth, an intrigue and above all a dynamic style that is pushing a clients needs beyond their expectations."
Where are you based?
Tell us about yourself.
I am a fashion and hair photographer based in Reading, UK. My photographic style is known for its bold creative lighting techniques that firmly reflect my belief of keeping the skill in the camera, not just on the screen. I am originally from Cornwall but I moved up to Reading to be closer to the 'big smoke'. My photographic style is not necessarily that well received back home. I've been up here in Reading for over ten years, except a few years where I took some time out to travel and focus on my climbing and mountaineering. Photography is pretty much my one and only passion. My website is updated pretty frequently, showcasing all of my work. My Facebook page also has a pretty engaged community of photographers and that gets updated everyday.
Did you study photography or a related course?
I took the education route and studied a Bachelor of Arts in photography. I think formal education in photography is extremely important and I would honestly recommend it to anybody! Formal education provides you with unbiased tools to help any photographer realise their own individual creativity. I know for a fact that I would be nowhere near as good today had it not been for my photographic education.
Tell us about your work.
I shoot full-time and also do a lot of teaching and training. I love to shoot more expressively with experimental ideas and colour when I can. My style tends to be bright and bold but I always try and implement some weird and wonderful photographic techniques to get my images to stand out from the visual noise we are drowning in every day.
What do you love about photography?
Apart from food and shelter, photography gives me a unique voice that I am incredibly grateful for. I think it’s important for us all to express ourselves in our own ways. Trying to not do so is practically impossible. We all have passions; music, sport, cooking etc. These things define us whether we realise it or not.
Which photographers inspire your practice?
I often get asked this and I'll be honest in saying that I probably couldn't name more than a half dozen photographers. I think I am personally greater inspired by certain adaptations of techniques or even quirky light play that I discover. I am always being distracted by how light falls on certain surfaces, or how it changes as it passes through certain objects or materials. If I had to name a couple of my current favourite practitioners though, then I would have to mention Bruno Dyan, Greg Kadel and Elizaveta Porodina.
Tell us about the featured editorial, First Light.
I really do not want to take anything away from the outstanding amount of work Abbie May Hopkins, the MUA, did for this shoot. She arranged everything and put the whole team together. This project really is her baby, and I cannot thank her enough as I absolutely love how it turned out! Abbie came to me with a brief outline of an FKA Twigs inspired look. This look was really focused on taking inspiration from her hair (which is where Dionne the hair stylist came in). That girl was a legend. For one reason or another, we got started later than we planned and Dionne managed to knock out four of five killer looks in no time at all! If you need something done well and in double-time, she's your lady. I went over the styling with Sarah on the day and from there I built the lighting design. FKA Twigs is known for her music and not her dramatic posing, so I wanted the lighting to almost be the character in these shots. As a result, I added some subtle colour from below and some flare and shine to the sides to add a bit more depth. Other than that I let the team do their thing.
We speak to Hair Stylist Dionne Maxine about her creative work on the First Light editorial.
"I’m Dionne Maxine Roberts, best known in industry as Dionne Maxine – a 23 year-old Hair Stylist from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. I have had a growing passion for hair for as long as I can remember! I use to practice at such a young age, on my dolly's hair and my Mum’s (when she allowed me!). My childhood dream, for and still to this day, is to open my own salon and call it 'Maxine'. I never thought I would be writing information about myself for Carnival Magazine! This is a brilliant moment for me to show and tell everyone how I got to where I am today! I got into working with creative teams on fashion and beauty editorials by being scouted, simply for doing what I love and enjoy most! I truly believe that this is a fantastic opportunity I have been given. I have met, worked with and become great friends with models, up and coming artists and even celebrities - through my passion of hair.
This photo shoot with photographer Jake Hicks and model Ellie Hill was great chance for me to show off my different creative techniques and abilities! The first technique I used was cainrows. I created two striking cainrows at the front of each side of the models scalp, starting in the middle of her crown, curved around her hairline and taken back. Along both sides of her head is where I used the second technique, creating single plaits just above the ears. Finally, I created two larger cainrows on the back of Ellie's hair, coming forward and shown over her shoulder in one of the photos. For one of the images in the series, Ellie has two small buns on the top of her head. I created this look by carrying out two small cainrows on both sides, with a supporting middle parting. The strong buns were achieved with her own natural hair, plaited and wrapped it around itself. In an alternative look, I enhanced these buns using extensions, giving the hair more height. I delicately plaited the extensions into her real hair. This was definitely my favorite technique – I loved the way it looks on camera! As an enhancing accent to some of the creative looks, I experimented with taking small sections of her hairline and gelling it into 'S' shapes on and around her face. The products I used in the creation of Ellie Hill’s hair styles are; Kera Care Edge Tamer, Holding Spray and Silk & Seal Serum."
PHOTOGRAPHY / Jake Hicks
MODEL / Ellie Hill @ Alan Sharman Agency Ltd
MUA / Abbie May Hopkins
HAIR / Dionne Maxine
STYLIST / Sarah Mulindwa
Found Loved, Rokit, Gogo Philip, The Laden Showroom, Lanora T Design, Absolute Vintage, Lynn Barker, Beyond Retro (See Full Wardrobe Credits in Issue 03)