...by falling off a cliff in the middle of a photoshoot.
Ok, let's back it up a bit.
What are you usually doing at 4am?
Let me guess- you’re probably not loading up a 12-person van with pineapples painted like dragon eggs, dog biscuits, and sharks, right?
If you were a part of our most recent photo shoot though, you might just have been doing all the above.
Come closer child, a Story Is Coming.
For those who might not know me, my name is Charli, and part of my job at Black Milk is to help bring to life the narratives behind the collections that we work on for months. It can be a bit daunting at times (pressure, much?!), but recreating these stories is an incredible experience and I wouldn't have it any other way. Like last week I was sifting through 60 kg of sand trying to recreate Tatooine. Two months ago, it was Candy Kingdom - and believe me, you did NOT want to be on the cleanup crew for that shoot.
Our latest challenge was to recreate the world of Westeros. This was our most challenging shoot to date. Why, you ask?
Because Westeros looks like this:
And where we live looks like this:
You see our problem. We're less "You know nothing, Jon Snow" and more "We know nothing, what is snow?"
A few weeks ago, we sat down with James and he asked us for some ideas for how we were going to bring the Game of Thrones collection to life. We’d wanted black rock, and dramatic coastlines. A lot of crazy ideas came out of that meeting. In the end though, jL (after listening to all our ridiculous suggestions, which briefly included building a tavern) just popped a sly grin, and suggested oh-so mischievously ‘or you could just shoot it at Fingal? Might be easier.’
Fingal looks like this by the way:
So on shoot day, we were Fingal bound, on our way to a piece of coastal volcanic-esque paradise just inside the border of the next state.
At the crack of dawn, our team piled into the van, and journeyed from Brisbane down to sunny New South Wales, in search of some epic black rock. We had myself... events coordinator and fixer of hair:
My job is to oversee the creative vision of the shoot, to make sure the story we're telling is engaging, accurate, and just a lil' bit magic. ;)
We've also got shoot producer extraordinaire, Maddie... She helps style the models, sources crazy stuff like dragon eggs and wolves, and basically makes sure we're always colouring between the lines.
This girl can pull off the impossible by the way! But more on that... later ;)
Then we have Bonnie, who you're lucky to catch without a camera in her hands! She's responsible for immortalising our shoot on film and transforming the shots into final images.
On board our shoot bus (which we nicknamed 'The Beast') were also two new additions to the team- Kendall and Cassie.
Bon and Mad had met these babes at a Sydney casting a few weeks earlier. They’d been blown away with these new kids. Kendall, a fierce lil’ fox, was our House Stark rep. She’s probably one of the boldest, most outgoing models we’ve ever had.
Cassie, our House Targaryen babe, was sweet, giggly, and- shock horror- new to Instagram. We had to teach her how to get her #hashtag on.
Oh, but I have one more person to introduce to you!
Have you guys ever wondered who makes our rad movies? It’s no easy feat making mini blockbusters each time we release a collection. That tiny dude in the rocks below? That’s Tristan, he’s our super talented BM movie director.
As you can see, he takes his location scouting pretty seriously ;)
Once the team was fully assembled, and we’d all arrived at Fingal, we did a quick scout with Tristan. We were aiming for darker shots with barren coastal cliff, and loads of washed out tones to try and get that genuine GoT vibe, which meant we had to avoid anywhere on our cliff top that looked too, erm, ‘happy.'
So none of this:
Tristan was like, ‘So. Wait. You’re saying I can’t shoot any greenery? Not even one lonely little palm in the background?’
‘Probs best to avoid anywhere that looks too tropical. And absolutely no palm trees.’
His face was like:
The places that were gonna be the best to shoot at, also turned out to be the most dangerous (but don’t tell Captain Cam that).
So it was a struggle to find shots that were a) not putting our models at risk of plummeting into the ocean and b) not super tropical. We scaled those cliffs all afternoon in search of the perfect shot.
Needless to say, we suffered for our art.
13x green ant bites (someone sat on a nest)^
1x busted ankle^^
3x bruised knees (someone bruised the same knee three times)^^^
and at least
2x sunburnt idiots who refused to put on sunscreen
^yeah, that was me.
^^that was also me.
^^^yes, I am a walking disaster
The most beautiful shots, and one of Bon’s favs, was our ‘wolf pack’ shot on a peak close to sundown. Maddie had put a call out to the sharkie community in search of a ‘wolf' for this shot.
Can you believe Maddie got us a wolf? Jess from our QLD group kindly bought along Missy- a very friendly husky pup. She was hardly terrifying, but when Jess called to her during the shot, she’d leap up and bark on cue. Perfect.
Maddie had also been challenged to find us some dragon eggs (stay tuned, she’ll totally be posting a tutorial how you can whip some of these bad boys up for yourself just in time for all that new GoT nylon you’re gonna be rocking). We rocked these painted pineapples in our ‘Targaryen on the rocks’ shot.
The final shot of the day was the one we couldn’t leave without. We’d had to wait ‘til high tide to get it. It meant we were perilously perched on the open mouth of a rock cluster near a fountain of spray. Each time a wave crashed into these cliffs, it would spray up this beautiful splash of sparkling foam.
It took forty minutes for us to snap the shot, as we had to time it with the waves.
I think this might be my favourite shot of the day because it was the one we really had to work for. Everyone was tired and sore, and it was a very tricky spot to shoot in. The light was fading fast, but we were determined (here's me, looking grumpy).
There’s a special kinda magic that happens when you know you’re about to create something special.
When we finally nailed it, the whole team cheered (especially our poor models, who were exhausted), and we began an epic hike back up to safety to pile into Beast for the long drive home.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of any other clothing brand where you get to chill with wolves one day, and then be shooting something completely different (like a galaxy far, far away!) the next.
The pieces in this collection are to die for (literally. As in our team nearly fell off clifftops shooting them). Can’t wait ‘til release day. ;)
‘Till next time, this is Charli signing off.