Coalmine fashion shooting in Velenje – Slovenia

Yesterday came out the new issue of MODNA, the leading fashion magazine in Slovenia where you can find also my editorial shot 500 meters under the surface in a working coalmine… So how the hell did we end up shooting there? Well the story actually begins 2 years ago. I was commissioned to shoot a portrait of Dr. Milan Medved, the director of coal mine in Velenje. He is a huge guy, real miner, but really opened, talkative and friendly so I could not resist the temptation asking him if there would be any chance that I could do a shoot in the mine. He really liked this idea and he said that we should discuss that in details some other time… And than came an end of the summer so I went back to UK…and another summer came and I was thinking about this shoot quite often but again I didn’t find the time to shoot there, went back to London when I received an email from mr. Milan what is happening, when are we going to shoot in the mine… And this finally kicked me in the ass and not long time after that I went there to have a talk about the shoot and I went around the mine to check the location. After you step in the building on the top of the shafts you also step in completely new world. I got miners socks, underwear, shirt, pants, jacket, belts, shoes, helmet, gloves, protecting glasses, headlight, self rescue -breathing device and a tag. Than you enter the lift that takes you to the depth of 400m in just couple of seconds. Darkness, in some shafts there is cold in some hot, then you have the smelly ones, the wet ones, dusty ones… When  you are walking around you meet a miner or two time to time and you greet with traditional SREČNO (good luck) and my ˝guide˝ Miran knew most of the man by the sound of their voice since you try not to flash everyone in the face with your blinding headlight. And it is quite funny when occasionally you almost step on some miner sitting on the floor in the dark eating his lunch…

We will return to the mine again a bit later… Well I suggested to Tadeja (PR of the coalmine) that we could do a shoot for Modna there… She was happy, Modna was happy so… lets do it… So in November I flew from London to Ljubljana for a weekend and we did the shoot.

You can imagine the reactions and the comments of the miners, when this aliens- women came to this exclusively mans word. It was funny for sure! I do not want to go into the details.🙂

But I have to say it was quite a hard shooting… Lots of different locations, different lighting setups, finding the right time to shoot on certain location so there is enough miners there or that there are not there… etc. We were working long hours again and when I came home I just collapsed into the bed.

And when I was shooting with miners (non of the photos of miners are in the mag😦 ) they gave me all sorts of typical miners tobacco products to try and of course they have a big laugh when they were looking a guy in skinny jeans making strange faces while trying that… But what the hell..When in Rome, do as the Romans do…  And what was it…? Well there was a chewing tobacco soaked into the šnops  (strong home made brandy). I don’t like even this things separated, not to mention the combination…😀 And then there were half of the miners… just don’t swallow the juice…and there was another half..of course you have to swallow… BUT… I know that, I guess from the Westerns (John Wayne) that swallowing would give you a nice diarrhea! :D… And the other thing that made us all cry was sniffing the tobacco… Me, because I am not used of that thing stucked in my nose and them because of laughing… Well we had fun indeed…

I had a fantastic team to work with me on this:

Styling by Alenka Birk and Barbara Žgalin

Mua: Saša Godejša

Hair: Matej Komar

Models: Una B. and Hana

Coordinator: Miran Beškovnik

Retouching: Mr. B

Least but not least my lovely assistants: Uroš Žuraj and Marko Ocepek

And thx to Rok – Nikon Slo.!

And the photos…My selection is a bit different that in the magazine…

Backstage photos by: Marko, Matjaz & Uroš

Hmm, I never write about the technical site of the shoot. So if you have any questions just shoot!

Aaaa… I wrote the MUST SEE link section but it didnt show up in the blog!😦

Weeell… The first link today is http://www.ted.com/ one of the most inspiring, interesting www ever. Here you can find videos about art, design, photography, business, ecology, science… Check it out!

And the other link is even more academic- http://www.americansuburbx.com/ Here you can find amazing interviews, articles, essays about different photographic legends. A website that keeps you busy for days!

~ by matjazz on December 17, 2009.

18 Responses to “Coalmine fashion shooting in Velenje – Slovenia”

  1. O M G! :O
    ti si car… kapo dol! noro noro noro hudo!🙂

  2. Hvalaaa Matjaz! We did our best… ampak naslednjič bo še bolše….🙂

  3. fak, js sem šel 10x skoz vse fotke!🙂
    res hudo; od kompozicij, do tehnične izvedbe in idej… bravo

  4. ej, škoda, da ni tistih z rudarji v reviji! ker so “carske” bi rekla naša tavečja!

  5. Nore fotke spet,čestitke res!

  6. Carsko!😀 Res noro! Nisem še uspel videt Modne, ampak te fotke tu so res zakon. Sploh zadnja, ma en tak “spirit”, se ti vtisne v spomin..🙂

    Skratka – Zelo lepo!

  7. Hey! There are some really cool photos in there.

    I really, REALLY like 7566. My favorite by far. The contrast between the girl and fumes is striking. I would have this on my wall. If i had to nit-pick, there are minor technical issues like too strong distracting light behind her hand and i would like the light on her to be warmer for enhanced contrast with the cold background.

    I can appreciate this photo and find its meaning without first reading some pretentious fluff as in your windmill photos. If you said this is a comment on pollution yadda yadda i really would look at the photo differently, much less favorably i presume.

    For second runner up, i couldn’t decide between 7534 and 7317. Really nice atmosphere on 7534, i’m just a succer for photos shot through mist, water, reflections… And 7317 is just so funny twist on miner’s lifting his clothes!

    7190 doesn’t have its impact this small, but i think it would function big as double spread if her head wasn’t exactly in the center.

    I don’t like 7729 and 7767, they don’t do much for me.

    1350 is so nadrealistic i like it, just too bad the photo is falling apart, underexposure maybe?

    7613 – i like this one, so atmospheric and the connection between figures girl-worker is a bit bressonesque🙂

    7669 – nice, very graphic one

    One issue i have with this set that it is all over the place by style, atmosphere, color. I don’t find unifying vision in there. Maybe the set published in Modna is more coherent in this regard, but i haven’t seen it yet, so i can’t comment on that.

    But all in all, very good job! You are really getting somewhere my friend.😉

  8. Haha…. well I was asking for it and I got it… Thx mate!😉 As always I have to agree on lots of points but also disagree on some… But I learn new stuff and hear what people thing while looking at my photos so… Mission successful! I found it really interesting that each photographer that I shot photos to him points out different photo as his favourite…? Well there is no doubts that I like the first one far far far the most… But…

    The falling apart photo is a part of the backstage series!😉

    Jp I also found out that I didn’t laid out photos perfectly… Otherwise we did a the same path that miners do… Changing clothes, getting a headlight, mine, mine, shower and piles of coal as the thing that they are working with all day long… Well I tried to be as coherent as possible regarding the color since I had a clear vision of what I want to achieve, but the locations didn’t helped me to much… Fluorescent light, no light, natural light… I am still happy with the result…

    Thx for taking tyour time to comment one more time!😉

  9. Tole pa je res noro! Ma ti si najjači modni fotograf v Sloveniji! Kdor zna pač zna! Sem pa ponosen, da imam v zadnji MODNI celo jaz slikico (Jaka Kopač intervju) in sem ena mala pikica med vami velikimi!:)) Odlično! Čestizke še 1x!

  10. haha…Črt no… Dej piš na Modno, pisma bralcev pa nared še mal reklame zame!🙂 Počakajmo še par let prakse, pa da se kaki naši mački fotografije odselijo ali upokojijo… No pol bom pa najbolši!😀
    Videl portret tvoj ja! Super!

  11. Matjazz super editorial! Se klanjam.🙂

  12. samo ponavljam se….. eden in edini si! Najboljši! lp, T.

  13. super! predvsem ta prva, pa sedma, pa osma, pa deseta…😀 res carske

  14. Hvaaaalaaaa ppl!

  15. uau!!! Noro dobro! Da bi šele to stric Google vidu!!!🙂

  16. Hehe, hvala B5! Obljubim, da bom te fotke pa komu drugemu pokazal…🙂

  17. This’s crazy shit man!😉 neverjetno lepe fotke, tehnično in estetsko dovršene, že sama izbira lokacije je super, še posebej mi je všeč ta kontrast med trdim življenjem rudarjev oz neusmiljenim rudnikom in nežno, krhko žensko. pa še povrh vsega je punca izredno fotogenična oz. simpatična😉

  18. Way to go Matjaž!🙂 Mega serija!!

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