In his pastel coloured short POLAROIDREAM©, Andrea Barone takes us behind the scenes of the overlapping choreography of roles which fuel the ultra stylised images that adorn the covers of fashion magazines worldwide. DN invited Andrea to share how the demise of a beloved film stock led to his whimsical immortalisation of fashion photography and the Polaroid camera.
What sparked the retro camera photoshoot concept of POLAROIDREAM©?
It all began in London, when I decided to collaborate with Anton Gunnarson, a great Icelandic Cinematographer who’s also based here. I actually only started to pull together the strings of the story after we both understood what we could achieve and specially what kind of equipment we would have access to. We had a test room to use, an Alexa XT (with Master Anamorphic lenses) and one day to shoot, so I built a creative team that could follow me through this and started thinking of a concept doable with those resources. Inspirations came from my fashion background and the place where I live.
In London my surroundings are filled by many talented photographers of all kinds, and as soon as Fujifilm announced it’s intentions to end the production of the legendary FP100, we all experienced great sadness over the loss of this format. The idea of portraying a fashion photoshoot using a device which will never be seen in action again intrigued me. I love seeing devices in movies that nowadays have no use – it’s almost like a celebratory cameo. That’s when I decided to portray Polaroid cameras and with this project make them last forever.
I love seeing devices in movies that nowadays have no use – it’s almost like a celebratory cameo.
Also for POLAROIDREAM© I wanted my characters to be as real as possible. Every character owned real-life experiences in the fashion world, a nice looking cast that brought real-ness to the roles, starting from the make-up artist and ending at the main photographer of the story. All the aspects of fashion have been stereotyped, like the love affair between the photographer and the model which is just a metaphor of a fetishism for analog photography…that instant when light interacts with chemicals.
How did that desire to capture a fashion shoot evolve into the full on neon fantasy we transition into?
From real beginning this project was born with the idea of interacting with the fashion industry. Directly engaging a lively and colourful discourse, a metadiscourse, full of metaphors and stereotypes. The “red neon fantasy” represents the romantic love that analog photographers used to feel. The sequence celebrates that twinkling that magically turns reality into a verification of existence. Just one click. Did I forgot to say I love photography?
POLAROIDREAM© employs a clean, pastel aesthetic. How did you arrive at that stylistic palette?
The choice of playing with colours palettes came from the lack of dimensionality within the location we were constrained to. I was sure of my approach to camera movements, starting from the establishing shots to the cut aways, but I also knew that it wouldn’t have been visually strong enough. I needed my characters to stand out. Thanks to my creative team, and especially to Liat Polishuk, an incredibly inspiring person with a well founded fashion background, we were able to put together very useful mood boards to enforce the style, already much present from casting to frame composition.
There’s a lot of choreography at work here. What was your approach to unfolding the scenes before that retreating camera?
Choreography and timings were key for the imaginary I wanted to create. They were necessary not only to establish the context but also to speak a certain language which commercial/fashion world is pretty used to having. Precision and slickness had to go alongside the professional expectations that usually surround the fashion industry.
The final section of POLAROIDREAM© becomes an exponential strobe of intercut shots, was that structure present at the script stage or discovered in post?
The script was pretty clear from beginning. I needed for the final dream sequence to be something contemporary and visually entertaining, but to be honest initially I didn’t know that I would go this fast! Only when I had all the footage with me did I decide to be ruthless with my own images, which for a director is not always easy to do. I love to edit and I believe that in the field of decoupage there’s still a lot to be discovered.
What will we see from you next?
I’m working on a few projects at the moment. I prefer not to spoil much before we get started with the production. Although in the near future I wouldn’t mind realising an impactful music video. Good music inspires me constantly.