When Xoë (Lion Works MUA) first discussed the idea of creating a human / robot, I didn’t really anticipate the lengths to which her character development would touch. In fact, it wasn’t until we sat down to plan out some lighting that I was bamboozled with a stream of references from Blade Runner, Eiko Ishioka, Bjork videos, Japanese Virtual Girlfriends, the Hyper-Real appeal of Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga… and the Andrex Puppy. Whereas I had been picturing something a little steampunk like Tick Tock from Return To Oz, or even all sleek and sexy like Seb Janiak’s Naomi - Xoë had been picturing something altogether softer as she details here:
The not so far off future belongs to compassion companions and to LoveBots. I’m sure of it. When the world is numb to your “Having a bad day” social status updates, and your wake-commute-work-commute-sleep routine has left your social capital dwindling on bankrupt, they will be the unconditional friend by your side.
When you’ve stopped communicating face to face with other people – for fear of the next Animal Flu epidemic, when your face is grey and pale because you no longer get the Vitamin D you need from REAL sunlight, she will tell you that “You’re a wonderful, beautiful person”.
She is strong and she is soft, she is your armor and your pillow. “Cuddle?” she will offer.
One thing we really wanted from the shoot was very soft light. This was for two reasons – firstly, so that the natural contours of [our model] Chloe’s body didn’t cast shadow or interrupt the rendered shapes. Secondly, the robot was supposed to be approachable and kind of neutral. Any hard light mix could put a cold cast on the character.
We went with a mix of large softboxes and beauty dishes and eventually settled on a warm diffused gel on a grey backdrop (Colourama Granite). We’d tried a cool gel initially – really, to use established ideas of technology being kind of cold and clean (blue and green and grey and white), but it seemed a bit… sterile.
What do you think?
Makeup / art direction – Xoë Kingsley
Photo / lighting – Olly Hearsey
Model – Chloe
If you need a talented creative makeup artist in the South East Xoë is available for bookings… firstname.lastname@example.org