I have no fear of scars. In fact when we got ready to do this Hugh Syme’s concept, I was looking for something that would punctuate the image beyond the obvious top layer. There are artists who do scarification the same way a tattoo artist inks, and when I looked at the model’s scars, they looked like tears to me, which said so much.
Given how jarring the image is, my main thing was to draw on a more classic bull’s eye composition style, which I’ve been told was bad, and dramatic old school hot light that is quintessential black & white photography. Something starkly glamorous for something raw and jarring.
I spent so much time in the dark room getting the tones, the contrasts and the chemistry right, just rubbing the paper with my fingers to raise the processing temperature and darkening the image in those places. Now you’d scan the raw negative onto the computer and manipulate it in the system, but it wouldn’t have the same feeling. Funny thing is, I was first drawn to this model because she had the most amazing eyes. Fortunately she also had amazing skin and perfect lips and a great jaw line.
“When you look into someone’s face, the eyes do most of the real communication. So the minute you take that element away, something else has to take its place. In this case, it was the scars.”