Life Imitating Art



Remember a few weeks ago when I posted about Backstage At Work? Well here is the finished product of the photo shoot we did back in February. In the end I’m satisfied with the result but what a drama we had to go through before we could actually even start with the photo shoot…

Normally when I plan a photo shoot in Belgium I will still be in China. So already there it gets quite challenging to make everything come together when you’re not even in the country. That’s why I will start with the concept about 2 months in advance so that I can manage the time pretty well and to avoid last-minute problems. First of all I will contact  the photographer to see if he/she is feeling the concept, how best to approach it and to make sure we are on the same page. For this one I was very happy to work with Zeb Daemen again. We did a few photo shoots together in the past and he is such a dream to work with. We had this whole idea about how we wanted to do a ‘Night At The Museum’ style editorial with a lot of installation art, paintings, sculptures etc. It was going to be amazing.

Next on the list to confirm was the Hair & Make-Up artist, which Sigrid Volders was going to do. Zeb recommended her, I checked out her portfolio and was very interested. She is such a talented girl and such a joy to work with.

After that we have to find the right model and confirm samples and props. But before we get there we obviously also have to start the location scouting. Finding the right location for a photo shoot is so important and often quite challenging. It will turn your concept to what you really want it to be. Without the perfect location your editorial will turn into a totally different feeling. So to find the right location in Belgium while I was still in China is quite the challenge but somehow with a week to go we found the perfect location. I left for Belgium, totally prepared and very enthusiastic  to do this photo shoot. We had the photographer, great samples, a beautiful model, a talented Hair & Make-Up artist and the perfect location.

So the morning of the editorial I took the train really early from Ghent to Antwerp and I was meeting the team at the location at 9am. But as soon as I was waiting for the train my good luck was changing.
Everybody who knows the Belgian railway system knows that they are late most of the time. So when the train arrived at the station in Ghent, ready for me to hop on, I already knew I was going to be 10 min. late at the photo shoot. I wasn’t very happy about this but hey, what else could I do besides calling the photographer  and the girl who owns the location of the photo shoot.

Strangely enough Zeb immediately replies but no reply from the owner… as she is/was an acquaintance I know that she has a little boy so I told myself hmmm maybe she is busy with her kid? Getting him ready for school or something? So 30 min. later I try to call her again and still no reply… getting a bit anxious and stressed at this point but maybe she is in the car?

At 10 to 9 I still hadn’t heard from her so I told the photographer to just still meet me there but that I can’t reach her… But I was pretty sure it was all going to be ok. I mean we had a written agreement, double confirmation affter all. So when I didn’t hear from anybody at 7 past 9 I figured it would all be okay and that everybody was getting started inside already. Guess what?! At 8 past 9 my phone rings; Sigrid calls me to say that there is nobody at the venue and that all doors are locked. I was getting really stressed now because we were all about to arrive, ready for the photo shoot except that we couldn’t enter the location! I tried calling the owner like crazy… about 10 times in the first 5 min. Still no reply.

We decided to wait until 10 am because that’s when she had to open up the gallery anyway but guess what at 10.15 and countless phone calls we still hadn’t heard from her and nobody came to open up the door. HORRIBLE…  At 11.30 , after waiting for 2,5 hours, over 100 phone calls, being frozen in the cold and being very irritated we decided to postpone the photo shoot reschedule everything, pay compensations, lose an entire day, contact all the brands to let them know about the samples.

So here my perfectly organized photo shoot all went to …

Time to organize again, which was even more challenging due to very limited times, deadlines, returning to China, a shrinking budget due to all the unexpected costs of having to postpone beyond last-minute the first attempt.

A day later I finally heard from the owner of the gallery to say that she ate a bad oyster and was very sick. That the battery of her phone was dead and left the charger in the gallery (although we never reached her voice mail but always managed to have a ringtone) and that she didn’t have her laptop? Am I the only one who finds this an unbelievable excuse?

Thank god I came into contact with Boris Devis from Goldwood Interiors in Antwerp.
It’s a  huge gallery/vintage store where you can find very inspiring art and collectors items of vintage furniture.

He was so nice to let us use his store and artworks.

In the end we had to change our concept a little bit but all went well and we came up with a beautiful editorial.

photo 2


photo 3

photo 4

photo 5

photo 6

photo 7

photo 8

Special thanks to

Zeb Daemen

Sigrid Volders

Rose @ Dominique Models

Boris Devis from Goldwood Interiors

Chantal Rochez from Step by Step

Lauren Johnstone (for helping me such a great deal before and during the photo shoot)

All pictures are owned by ROUGE media


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