Interview with Photographer Terry gates
By Sasha Benz
How did you come up with this concept?
The idea came from using Photosynth, an iPhone app; there are hundreds of apps that do the same thing. I was obsessed with shooting my surroundings on holiday with my friend in the south of France. I wanted to see how I could apply a similar technique to my work in fashion. So I set about figuring out how I could do it seamlessly and also in a way that I could shoot people. At the same time I wanted to make it applicable to fashion so that it could be used as storytelling tool, the same way fashion editorials and campaigns do.
How long did it take you to develop?
Its been 2 years since I first started figuring it all out. I have experimented with many different approaches and ways that it can be used. many many failed experiments. I once managed to shoot a 360 in 3d which was pretty cool, it wasn’t perfect and it required 3d glasses to see. But it was a challenge that I enjoyed overcoming. I even made a contraption using 2 go pros glued together with a usb key to space them apart, and rubber bands everywhere. It’s been a lot of fun. I think there’s a photo of it on my Instagram somewhere.
Who was your first client to shoot this?
In the beginning I shot a couple for Natalie Joos’ blog Tales of Endearment, which helped me generate some content to send to magazines etc, then I shot a couple editorially for French Grazia.
How many trial runs did you test before working with a big client?
I did several test in my apartment in Paris, including one casting I did, where I made the models each take a pose somewhere different in the lounge room, then put them all together. I also had an arrangement with Studio Zero, they gave me a great deal to use there studios and in return I did kind of a behind the scene, 360 and gave it to them to use on their website. the first ad campaign was Sass and Bides last season. Even since then I have refined the way I do everything and have experimenting with several different features and ways to add to the experience as you sill see in their latest campaign.
What kind of technique do you use, or is this still top secret?
It’s not really top secret, its more like combining a lot of different techniques and software together and bringing together artists from different disciplines. This latest campaign uses techniques from cinema similar to green screen. Techniques from product photography, fashion photography, virtual tours. 3d graphics/ visual effects, web design, e-commerce, plus we had a composer make music for us. I had to have a custom made turntable that would support a person, I used custom tripod. In this experience there are 255 images all aligned and put together in one way or another. and we worked with some of the top names in fashion. Jacquelyn Jablonski, Beth Fenton, Marki Shkreli, Frankie Boyd. it was my job to bring everything together.
Do you know of anyone else using this technique to shoot?
So far I haven’t seen anyone shooting anything like this, although after the last Sass and Bide campaign, I had a photographer contact me to ask how to do it, apparently their clients wanted something similar. who knows I think its an exciting new way to buy and sell clothes. and I think this approach has a lot of ways it could be used. so I can definitely see more people going down this track.
What are the difficulties & main differences to shooting like this?
It’s really very different to a regular shoot , there’s a lot more preparation and post production, and everything has to be shot very precisely, with little or nothing moving on set. Small movements of the camera or things on set can cause large problems. So it can be difficult when you have a large team, and they are all used to being on set. Then there are complications with alignment and lighting, matching the photos to the computer generated environment. I have been experimenting with cgi environments for a while with David Mcleod, the 3d artist that did the amazing work on this job. And we had to work really closely with him and the team from Sass and Bide to get this to all come together.
360 Website: terrygates360.com