Umbrella Girl by Banksy
“The Umbrella Girl is really a comment about how the things that are supposed to protect us – like CCTV or Catholic priests – are often the things that hurt us. I’ve use a metaphor to show this, with rain coming from inside the umbrella.”
When I was working on the dress for this image, I showed this stencil to my Mum who was helping me with the costumes and she said: ‘I don’t like this painter.. all his pictures are so gloomy’. This is probably one of my favourite Banksy stencils.
The location for this shoot was in the Hamilton CBD, in an alley way called Bryce Lane. I had walked past this location a few times and always thought it would make a really cool location, so when I started thinking about where I could shoot the ‘Umbrella Girl’ image, I immediately thought this could work really well with the stencil concept.
Soon after I started searching for the costumes I needed for this project I realised that I would need to make most of them, just to make sure they were as close as possible to the original stencils. This dress was made from a quick pattern I drew, which was based on a t shirt of mine. I sketched out a collar and some sleeves and added them to the dress once it was finished.
This was probably the most difficult image from the whole project to shoot. Because I didn’t want to just ‘fake’ the rain in photoshop, I decided to make a rain machine for the shoot.. looking back on it, I see how ridiculous that was, but #DesperateTimes..
In the images below, you can see how the rain was created. I did flesh out the droplets I had captured on camera with a bit of ‘rain’ in photoshop, but the vast majority of it was created by my little rain machine.
The rain machine was made from seedling planters (with holes in the base of each planter) I bought from a garden supply store in Hamilton. I pierced some additional holes in each planter with a pencil and then they were suspended in the air with two long tomato stakes, which is what the helpers in the photo are actually holding. Next, the helper on the left used a watering can to slowly fill the planters with warm water until I felt like I had enough shots the drips of water and wet costume/hair to make the final image.
After we started shooting, we were asked to move because someone needed to access their parking space, so we had to move a little further down and shoot in the opposite direction so I could get the last few shots that I needed to make the composite image that became the final photograph.
The model was lit from the front with the b1600 and the octabox, with the SB900 handheld by the models sister (who features in another one of my Banksy photos – still to come) to provide some backlighting for the subject (shown below).