The F-ed up Couple Shoot


"We'd love to get some couple shots, but not that fancy-shmancy stuff you see all the time, could do it like rough-looking and kind of f*%&§$-up?"

That was the assignment I was given.
I agreed for two reasons:

First, it's right, you see all those "fance-shmancy" Black/White wannabe fineart shots of couples all the time.
And secondly I kind of got a spleen for f-ed up stuff anyway.

So I did some research to find a site here in Cologne, that meets my requirements, being kind of dirty.
I couldn't do it in my kitchen though, it's just too small.

So I found kind of a scrapyard - it's got everything you need, like shipping containers with grafiti on them, a garbage disposal, that hasn't been emptied for, appearently, years.
We got litter all around and a bough.
Yes, you read that right.

I don't know how it got there, but as a photographer I don't really care, because it's there and I can use it to compose my pictures.

On Saturday, the day of the shooting, I got there and met my clients.

Time to do some work!

Luckily I spent a few hours beforehand to get some inspiration.

Poses look very different, if you change the setting and add some dirt.
But how to really show things are as f-ed up, as you'd like to show them?


Add a bottle of beer and cigarettes.

Since public drinking is perfectly legal over here, not a problem.
At all.

The real struggle, I feared, was to show the affection they have for oneanother.
But that turned out to be not a problem at all.

You need to be blind to miss that.

Apart from the environment, the clothes, the booze and the smokes, it's just a shooting in which you want to photograph two people.
And that's the simplicity that gets the magic.

Gear-wise I was using a Nikon D800, a 85mm 1.8 and the Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8.

Not because you need a full frame camera for that, but because I just love using it.

Later on, in Lightroom, there wasn't much to do.
Just the usual stuff like adjusting exposure by a bit and do some minor cropping.
The final look was provided by the Analog Efex Software, you can get freely now - along with other software.

The thing that really amazes me, is that you only need to change a few things and get something completely different.

Yes, that's a truism, a platitude, but hardly physically realized in all levels.

I learned a lot that day.

The full album can be viewed here: