Marko Saari and the Elements

Finnish photographer Marko Saari was profiled on the Profoto blog in April of this year. He was kind enough to share his thoughts on the making of a new series of photos which utilized PocketWizard Plus II units. Here’s what he had to say, along with images and settings.

Stylist, singer and make-up professional Cemile Nisametdin had an idea to make photo sessions about the five elements and interaction between five types of energy: tree, fire, earth, metal and water. She was inspired by the beauty of different energies from elements and wanted to collaborate with me to make photos for the “earth” element. The concept was for the photos to be filled with expressive energies from nature and color, but still keep the entire story and settings relatively simple. Shades of brown, yellow and green were most linked to the soil element so we ended up using brown and green seamless background in studio. Green is a balancing color and contains potential energy. It also matches brown because they are colors from nature. The backstory had strong emotions linked to the soil element.

©Marko Saari. Model: Katerina Suokas. Make-up, hair and styling: Cemile Nisametdin. Nikon D300, 50mm lens, 1/200 second, f/9, ISO 200. Profoto Compact 600 R with 5' octa camera left. Profoto AcuteB with white reflective umbrella as fill camera right. Elinchrom style 400FX with grid for background behind model camera right. PocketWizard Plus II and optical sensors for triggering.

Katerina Suokas was chosen as model. I have worked with her many times, and with her dancing background and good variation of expressions she was an excellent model for the project. A strong and penetrating gaze in the photos was part of the mood we wanted.

©Marko Saari. Model: Katerina Suokas. Make-up, hair & styling: Cemile Nisametdin. Nikon D300, 50mm lens, 1/200 second, f/10, ISO 200. Profoto Compact 600 R with 5' octa camera left. Profoto AcuteB with white reflective umbrella as fill camera right. Elinchrom style 400FX with grid for background behind model camera right. Elinchrom style 400FX with stripbox for touch of kicker light behind model camera right. Fan camera right. PocketWizard Plus II and optical sensors for triggering.

©Marko Saari. Model: Katerina Suokas. Make-up, hair & styling: Cemile Nisametdin. Nikon D300, 85mm lens, 1/200 second, f/10, ISO 200. Profoto Compact 600 R with 5' octa above & front of camera. Profoto AcuteB with white reflective umbrella as fill below it. Elinchrom style 400FX with grid for background behind model cam right. Elinchrom style 400FX with stripbox behind model camera right. PocketWizard Plus II and optical sensors for triggering.

The kimono dates back to at least the fifth century in Eastern cultures. Cemile originates from eastern Tatar culture as well, and that’s why she also wanted to preserve the restrained grace and femininity of the kimono dress. The kimono has a definite style and character. Books on the history of kimonos point out they have their own ethics and can also tell the marital status of the wearer. That’s why the use of a kimono was an essential part of this project. The woman wearing the kimono expresses harmony and natural flexibility.

©Marko Saari.

©Marko Saari

Marko Saari’s portfolio

Marko Saari on Flickr

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