George Ferris’ Urban Desert

Written by M. Gertz on . Posted in Commercial photography

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George Ferris - Urban Desert

© 2012 George Ferris

George Ferris grew up with a love for beautiful imagery which eventually drove him to start creating his own. He says his composite workflow allows him to create “almost anything” and he’s always up for a challenge. Below, the process behind his series Urban Desert, in his own words.

This series was inspired by my last few summers in Colorado where, like many states across the U.S., lack of water and drought are always highlighted on the news and in conversation. Water was constantly on my mind while I lived in this “urban desert.” I wanted the viewer to feel lonely and desperate through a more digestible post-apocalyptic reference.

George Ferris - Composite Photography

©2012 George Ferris

George Ferris - Conceptual Photography

©2012 George Ferris

George Ferris - Urban Desert stairwell

©2012 George Ferris

Shooting for composite is definitely a collaboration between the photographer and models.  Models need to give 110%; they can’t simply look “fierce.” Models need to be fierce. My model Curtis and I sat down and talked each situation through and we found the best way to describe what I was feeling through his actions.

George Ferris - Behind the scenes

©2012 George Ferris

One of the most difficult parts of creating a composite (even more so in a series) is keeping the lighting and mood consistent. At least 80% of my image is pre-visualized, as most of my scenes are constructed from the ground up. Due to this, I rely heavily on my Profoto Acute2R 2400 packs to provide consistent and easily controllable light. Lighting is such an integral part of my work as I take a model from the studio and place them into an entirely different world.  Profoto’s immense light-shaping system for the Acute/D4 heads makes it so simple and easy to adapt my lighting to fit my model, the mood of the image, and the needs of my clients.

George Ferris - Lighting Diagram

©2012 George Ferris

The Profoto Acute2R is fast, too, which is incredibly important to make sure you don’t miss the moment. In compositing, it is important to convince the viewer what they are seeing in the image really happened; if you can catch your model in that decisive moment where they believe in what they are doing, your audience will too. With the Profoto Acute2R I don’t have to worry about missing the shot while my pack is recharging.

See more of George’s work on his site. Connect with him on Twitter, Google+, tumblr, and Flickr.


All images and quotes in this post are used with permission and ©George Ferris, all rights reserved; story is ©Profoto. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or re-post elsewhere without written permission.

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