An Imperative Confluence of Passions for the Sake of Art

“To have an eye for detail that doesn’t miss to acknowledge the synergy that brings it all together: the models, the location, the garment, and all the glitz and the glamour, not to capture a moment that already exists, but to capture a moment that is carefully crafted, a moment that is made. To put elegance and class before luxury, and to believe in the allure of a suggestion more than a mere statement. That is fashion-and-glamour photography,” says Darren Centofanti, renowned photographer and mentor for our Fashion Photography Bootcamp.

Not too often does one passion lead to another or follow another with an incredible clarity and understanding. But in Darren’s world, it does, and that’s why his thoughts flow with self-assured and measured cadence when he says that the art of photography is the opportunity to blend two passions, where one makes images of what he immensely loves with all its elements kept adroitly intact.

Darren makes Toehold’s Fashion Photography Bootcamp a much-awaited glamour event. He understands perfectly what needs to be ingrained into the photographer – the structure of fashion photography that goes beyond conforming to the tenets of the book to include elements of portraiture and glamour too.

© Rajiv Shyamsundar

© Rajiv Shyamsundar

Darren explains with admirable clarity: “Understanding the elements of fashion photography from a professional point of view is the highlight of this Workshop. The best part about it is that the special moment does not rely on luck, but is rather created, and any number of photos can be made until you get that perfect shot you’d have first made in your mind. Perhaps that’s how value for money is guaranteed.”

Nothing precedes originality and initiative.

The charm of this Fashion Photography Workshop lies in the subtle nuances that cannot escape a keen observer. Different scenarios and tasks are planned in advance and the workshop participants are asked to make thoughtful decisions. The technical details of shooting include the models’ garments, the colours in the background, angle of shooting, light, and other such elements.

© Rajiv Shyamsundar

© Rajiv Shyamsundar

When participants choose from the vivacious set of possibilities of pictures, there is a startling simplicity to the way each one gets to have an exclusive set of images in their portfolio. At the end of the Workshop, everyone’s personal aesthetics are enhanced and brought out in most evocative, stunning ways. This way, no two workshops are the same.

Both Darren and Toehold Skipper Rajiv Shyamsundar (who is also a part of these Fashion Workshops, along with Darren’s assistant and a stylist who make the models look sensational) assert that the Workshop is also about making the participants shed their inhibitions, making them talk about their ideas out loud no matter how crazy they might sound, and also making them more confident than they already are. That way, although the Workshop begins on a simple and comfortable ‘safety zone’, it grows more wholehearted and exciting with each striking image planned and made.

The dynamics at work, which aim to produce great results, don’t exclude the gorgeous models of global standards. It isn’t only about their dreamy eyes, long and slender legs, sun-kissed skin and demure moves. It is more about making these fundamental tangible elements blend with the ideas these damsels possess in their minds about making fascinating pictures.

© Rajiv Shyamsundar

© Rajiv Shyamsundar

The girls interact with the participants, and give the photographers honest and critical feedback during and after the session. When both the poser and the photographer are clear about what they are looking for in a photo, making one becomes much faster and more interesting. Also, such interactions break stereotypes and erase intimidation and discomfort.

The art of suggestion: it’s more about learning before and after, than during, the process of making art.

After the mentoring sessions, when participants are initiated to the process of making images, Darren interferes only when it’s necessary. When there is room for improvement, he puts across his idea as a motivating, delicate hint. When models also start giving critical feedback after the shoot and select their favourite images, when they discuss why they like them and what they think of other pictures and how they can be improved, the spirits and individuality are kept high even at the end of the day and only the pictures speak to a beholder more than the photographer who made it.

© Rajiv Shyamsundar

© Rajiv Shyamsundar

“Some of the participants who have attended previous Workshops have even set up their own photography ventures,” recalls Darren. “It’s heartening to see that. And to me, the most rewarding feeling is when the results signify that photography has been encouraged more as a creative art by giving the right ingredients to the curious mind than encouraging it merely as a business.”

Darren loves the Serai properties in many different locations. “They are beautiful,” is his spontaneous reply and you can almost hear his appreciative smile when he says that. The architecture and the naturally beautiful places in which the properties are built fascinate him. This, he says, plays a vital role because the very location has to serve as an inspiration. The environment and its elements need to be felt in every picture. On the other hand the luxury that the Serai Resorts offer in terms of accommodation, the sweet seclusion and the delicious food served also interest him.

An artist does not miss any opportunity to appreciate beauty, and Darren’s insight about capturing the exquisite beauty of women with their natural, gifted features stands as yet another testimony to Keats’ written word: a thing of beauty is a joy forever. In Darren’s words: “These are changing creatures of beauty: a few twists here and there while posing, a graceful movement that strikes a photographer like a moment of sudden inspiration can be magically coupled with subtle tricks of enhancing their beauty sensually and carefully so as to not end up on the verge of vulgarity.”

 

© Rajiv Shyamsundar

© Rajiv Shyamsundar

 

“Unlike men, women can fit into a wider range of clothes and don spectacular colours, which make them even more interesting as subjects of mystery while shooting. And fashion is desirable; almost everyone who is fascinated by it wants to have the thrilling glimpses of this enticing, dazzling world.”

 

© Rajiv Shyamsundar

© Rajiv Shyamsundar

 

Darren admits that Toehold’s Fashion Photography Workshop allows him to teach what he is passionate about. Beauty, shapes, textures and colours together form a certain set of aesthetics that serves as the fundamental prerequisite for making art. He fondly remembers how he was lured into the world of fashion and glamour as early as the eighties, when music videos were a rage both musically and visually. When the word ‘mind-blowing’ emerges slowly and passionately from his tongue when he talks about the music videos, you know what has played a major role in him entering this grand, mesmerising world of fashion and glamour.

 

© Darren Centofanti

© Darren Centofanti

You too can be a part of our next Fashion Bootcamp. Click here for more details.

Categories: Articles, Featured, Photography
Sourabha Rao

Sourabha is a staff writer at Toehold who dexterously gives verbal form to the inexpressible, and with her passion for travel, weaves immersive stories that transcend space and dissolve time.

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