Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Phizzog (body painting) festival - Folkestone

Phil is a regular photographer on the body painting scene and he kindly invited me along to the event in Folkestone Town Hall recently. The theme was 'B Movies' but not being a movie buff, most of the detail went over my head.

I'm fairly new to this type of thing and was a bit nervous about photographing semi-naked (men) and women. One of the first models I met with was Renato, pained as 'The Joker', who invited me to photograph him. Renato is an actor and circus performer and he did a trick with a tissue paper that produced a flame in his hand.

Renato with 'his hand on fire'

Renato posing for the camera
One of the major challenges on the day was lighting: daylight from the windows at the front of the building and a range of different temperature wall and ceiling lights in the room itself. This, coupled with the fact that I was bouncing fill-flash off the ceiling meant that no two pictures had the same colour temperature and, in most cases, it was graduated across the image - oh well - thank heavens for Adobe Lightroom!

Incidentally, the two photos of Renato above were a small selection of the very few that I took without any flash - 1/160th at f/4, ISO 800. For the most part I used my trusty 24-105mm lens, which is has excellent focal length range for the job and focuses extremely well in low light.

By now I was somewhat more relaxed and started to engage more easily with the other models and artists. I was courteous to leave them all a card such that they could contact me for copies of the photos I took of them; indeed a number of them took up the offer, which was great.

Claire (the dragon)

Like any other piece of art, it's not until the work of the artist is complete that one can really appreciate the full beauty and impact. This was certainly the case with Claire, who was being made up into a dragon. I took a few early pictures, but the final outcome was well worth the wait.

Claire (you can see what I mean about the white balance)


I had only met one of the models previously, and that was Leonie. She has modeled for Ashford Photographic Society club shoots and it was good to see her again. I'm not too sure of her character, but she looked amazing and was happy to venture out into the street for me to take some shots against the adjacent building an natural daylight. I still used some fill-in flash to try and fill the shadows.

Leonie in the hall

Leonie in the street

Eye Scream anyone?

There is a full set of images from the day on my website, but one other set I will share now is from a mother and daughter artist/model pairing, the latter being made up as an ice-cream seller at the cinema. She was extremely good in front of the camera and was happy to join me and another photographer to have some photographs taken in the old cinema next door to the Town Hall.

'Eye scream' anyone?

Scary or what?

Your meet and greet!
All in all it was a most enjoyable day, topped of by the fact that we had lunch at (the excellent) Googies Cafe, where draught Kernel IPA was on tap. I'm looking forward to next year's event already.


  1. Such a shame I couldn't make it. Your first shot of the Joker is terrific.

  2. These are really superb. I also got body paint. This one was awesome for my funky costume this year. Definitely worth the time.