By Michelle Chaplow

Transferring ideas is not as easy as it first appears and transferring an artist concept can be quite a challenge. The object of this exercise was to art direct a photographic shoot, whereby the photographer never touches the camera; their role is purely one of art direction and production, in other words transferring an idea.

Mitsuko is a Japanese photographer who fascinates me; she is famous for her series of images entitled “I am more than my face”. The concept of the imagery is that once people see your face, they start to categorise and stereotype you; with no face visible, it’s more difficult. The images are contemporary in nature and colour-coordinated, sending various messages to the viewer. The addition of props and backgrounds give clues to the person’s identity, however the face is always obscured.


One week before the shoot, the concept was explained by telephone to Sarah Gatward, and the model Anais Servin. I also sent them both the following link.

The props, the location and the wardrobe were chosen and collected by Sarah and Anais.

The photo shoot

We created a series of six different scenes, selecting four of the six to illustrate this feature. Backgrounds and props were selected on site. Sarah took on the role of actually clicking the camera.

The four images

Two eyes, Two cups

1. Two eyes, Two cups
“Two eyes and two tea cups” has a white back ground with two white cups; the model is wearing a skirt and top made from plastic bin liners and is staring into a bottle of tonic water with a yellow cap.

Eliminating Lines

2. Eliminating Lines
A blue velvet dress is being “ironed” on a wooden decking with strong bold lines.
Is it possible to eliminate lines? A question that many women have asked with the passing of time.

UV Rays

3. UV Rays
Here we have a kitchen utensil; the model is tied down under strong sunlight and a hand sign that indicates that the sun is strong and disturbing.

Short hair

4. Short hair
A simple image with clean colours illustrating a simple idea, looking at a reflection and reflections are not what they seem; following the theme of Misuko, the face is obscured.

Many thanks to Sarah Gatward, and Anais Servin, who made this project possible.