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ONE PHOTO – ONE STORY

16.02.2021

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“After just a few weeks in lockdown my 8 year-old son, William, found it difficult to sleep alone, worrying that the world was going to end; and without the daily routine of school, friends and fun, my hormonal teenager became frustrated and angry at us all, missing his girlfriend, playing football and even school.

The sudden change in them both made me see their world in an entirely new light, and I decided to use my time during lockdown to portray what they were going through. For this picture I really wanted to portray their boredom and desire to connect with normal life pre lockdown. I decided that a ball pit of balloons would would reflect our Saturday visits to the local play centre, where the boys would run and jump into ball pits only returning when they needed a drink! I decided to create the picture as a set build in my studio. I wanted symmetry and a contrasting colour palette to enhance the surreal feeling, working with a set also enabled me to use a more cinematic lighting approach, using a large HMI for a key light and various other constant lights for fill. The set build took around 6 weeks; the balloons (all 700 of them) took 4 hours to blow up!

After locking off the camera, both boys where shot separately, followed by our small dog casually laying in the sink. I wanted the boys to have a sense of boredom in what looks like a fun situation. This would help portray the feeling of dissatisfaction, the sense that they’re making good out of a bad situation. A TV light was used as light source and also aided as a visual cue for eye lines. It also helped underline their constant connection with technology."

Text and image: © Nicky Hamilton
Equipment: Leica S3 with Elmarit-S 45 f/2.5 Asph.
© Carley Hamilton

Nicky Hamilton

Born in 1982, British photographer Nicky Hamilton is a former Head of Art at the leading advertising agency, M&C Saatchi. His method is highly cinematic, designing and building elaborate sets to create pictures of extraordinary detail and narrative. His work explores his characters’ emotional states, by playing with performance and symbolism in order to produce deeply evocative moods.

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