AP: Did you propose this project to the client or did they think of you for the design?
Jean Yves Lemoigne: The agency was looking for someone with very nice light work, but also with post-production knowledge and very good visual storytelling skills, to work on all the little details. In all my advertising photos, I try to create visually rich photos, so people who look at these enjoy all the stories. I have to say that this image is the result of the work of great creative people, working in unison – the agency Ogilvy Paris, production company Continental Production, set designer Pascal Molina, retouch Christophe Huet, and [for] CG Mecanique Générale.
AP: Can you tell us of the original ideas for this commission?
Jean Yves Lemoigne: The original melting idea was very precise. As it’s a strange concept, the agency did some nice sketches to sell it to the client. Those sketches were a great starting point to work. Then we’ve worked on what kind of objects should be included – basically which were the most interesting.
AP: What influenced as you put it the “strange concept” applied in this project?
Jean Yves Lemoigne: Our biggest influence was the French sculptor César Baldaccini. He did a series of sculptures titled ‘Expansion’. Google these and you’ll see It’s really nice project – the shiny effect is perfect with all the reflections.
AP: Working in a dedicated production team, how did this affect your hands-on creativity?
Jean Yves Lemoigne: You can guess that ZBrush and Maya were used for CG. But you must to understand that I’m a photographer and I don’t do the CGI myself. On an advertising photo shoot, there is a stylist, a makeup artist, a hairdresser, a set designer [and so on]. For the post-production it’s very much the same – the photographer never does the post-production himself. There is a retoucher and if CG is needed then there is a CG artist.
AP: How was Photoshop applied in the project and at what stages then?
Jean Yves Lemoigne: Some objects are mix of real objects and small set design, corrected in Photoshop with the Liquify filter – for example, the pink camera melting on the counter. We just used these Liquify settings as much as necessary to shape elements, as we wanted. Other objects are entirely CG, such as the white glasses.
AP: What revisions had to be made throughout the project’s production, and for what reason?
Jean Yves Lemoigne:At first I was willing to produce more mock designs of objects, to shoot on set. But the melting effect is very difficult and takes a very long time to complete for a traditional sculptor. So at the end it was decided that there should be more CG than I was expecting.
One interesting thing about the beach photo is that we built the counter to put it on the beach. But the day of the shoot there was a kind of storm with strong winds. So we had to shoot in the dunes with two trucks on the sides to avoid the wind. It was a nightmare.
AP: Did production become drawn out with so many people influencing creation?
Jean Yves Lemoigne: It wasn’t easy. There were many people involved – two art directors, a creative director. The tricky thing about this campaign was that everybody imagined different kinds of melting shapes. It was very difficult to agree on these elements. It has to be nice to feel and sense the slow-motion of the melting, to have the wrinkles and pleats in the right place. A melting object could be just ugly.
AP: What advice would you give to others looking to work on similar projects?
Jean Yves Lemoigne: When someone asks me this kind of question, I always say there are no tricks, no special Photoshop filter. Every photographer has to find his own recipe. There are so many ways to create the same results – it’s all personal feeling and choices.
Jean Yves Lemoigne studied Classic art and Graphic Design. Initially interested in comic book art he fell into advertising during a trainee period and soon became an art director at DDB Paris for five years. He turned to professional photography in 2005. Visit his website for more.