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Ishka National Christmas Catalogue 2014

So where did it all begin? Several months ago Ishka's communication and marketing department contacted me to pitch for a shoot. The brief was to create stylish imagery that was beautiful, impactful and most of all befitting of the Ishka brand. The final images would be used in the 2014 Christmas catalogue which would feature in all National Ishka stores and online. Fortunately Ishka trusted me to get the job done and after a few weeks of creating concepts and ideas for the photo shoot, they were right behind me on the project.

I was really excited to get on board with the Ishka brand as I have always been a fan of the diverse collection of world handcrafts they have on offer. It was a great opportunity to work with a company that has been established for such a long time and is well recognised throughout Victoria, New South Wales, ACT & Tasmania. The Ishka concept embraces world culture, appreciating and respecting traditional handcrafts and celebrates genuine global appreciation, as most Ishka stock comes from villages, providing much needed income in areas where there are not many options. Through working with artists in developing countries over the years, Ishka has contributed to some dynamic transformations from poverty to prosperity. The ethical and political effects of dealing with developing countries are matters that Ishka have been considering for many years and have always taken seriously. Ishka also supports worthwhile organisations like Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders and are also proud to be an ethically approved supplier of the OXFAM shops in Australia.

As always with this type of major photographic project there are many pieces to the puzzle and they all have to fit to create the final picture. Moreover each piece needs to know its place and understand the concept and the final goal. The utmost importance was the right team who were going to help me make this shoot a success. Involved in our wonderful team for the Catalogue shoot were, lovely models from Brazen Models – Casey V and Emily N – and from Scene models -Dallas Jays. Fashion stylist Dusty from Ishka was to put together a fantastic wardrobe and range of accessories for the shoot. Hair stylist Carla from Bambi & Sammi and Make up artist Natasha Colvin were sourced to make the models look like absolute goddesses. Talented Visual Merchandiser Tomche was sourced to help create beautiful sets and marketing manager Chris and his fantastic assistant Deana took charge of production and would also be vital contributors to the project. Once we had locked in an amazing creative team, location and date we were finally all organised and ready to go. Over the 20th and 21st of October, our crew set out for a two day location shoot in sunny Beechworth in country Victoria.

An early Monday morning start of 5:30am and a fun 3½-hour road trip landed us in Beechworth around 10:00am for Day One. After an initial briefing over breakfast, we all set about our respective tasks and after 3 hours we were finally ready to start shooting. We decided our number one priority was to get the cover shot for the Catalogue so had set up an awesome setting amongst some pine trees in a large grass field. As it was mid-day the sun was positioned right above us and extremely hot, so I had to shoot with my portable strobes and multiple reflectors. The models did a great job under the challenging circumstances and after an hour shooting we had our cover shot! For the rest of the afternoon we moved around to various locations, shooting women’s fashion wears and children’s wear. To end our first day of production we celebrated with a lovely BBQ at the family home of Ishka’s CEO- Toby.

Day two was a 9:00am start for breakfast and to look through the shots from our previous days shooting. Once the team was briefed, I set out to shoot Men’s wear with Chris, Dusty and Matt (our charming male model for the morning), while our female models had hair and make up preparation with Natasha and Carla. We completed the men’s wear shoot quite quickly and moved on to compose and shoot the Christmas table setting. It was a huge effort unloading all the products from the Ishka van, but the styling team did a wonderful job with the table setting and we were able to capture the end result quite efficiently. After a quick break for lunch, the team piled in our van and spent the rest of the afternoon shooting women’s fashion in various locations, which even included setting up camp alongside some incredibly beautiful waterfalls. I felt extremely pleased that by the end of day 2 the images we created were as close to the visual references as I could have expected, plus as often happens, a few extra ideas were discovered along the way! Although I won’t dismiss my own role in making the images a success I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to not only work with the right locations but also the right team. Fortunately I had both with an amazing setting, incredible product and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect team, so I guess you could call it a dream job!

The Ishka Christmas Catalogue has just landed in stores this week so make sure you get your hands on a copy while stocks last. And I encourage you to embrace your inner hippy this Christmas and head to an Ishak store near you, to check out some great gift ideas that everyone will love!

Ishka National Christmas Catalogue 2014

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