Frank Wartenberg: Transformations
Frank Wartenberg experimented with skin tone and color temperature in his Neon series. It’s pure art photography – color swaps, bokeh placement, dramatic, high key back-lighting, surprising, idiosyncratic choices that suggest romantic freeze frames in dance clubs or spaceships. The series won a Gold award in our Photography Annual 2013. Wartenberg’s gorgeous results speak for themselves, but just in case, this is what he had to say…
Assignment: Quintin Nel is a very talented young jewelry designer who loves to bring out the color and shades of every gemstone and other materials he uses. I’ve always wanted to work with neon lights, and the moment he came up to me with his powerful pieces of jewelry the idea was born. From the beginning, I had models with dark skin in my mind; the beautiful ebony tone makes the colors come out even brighter.
Approach: At first we selected the jewelry we wanted to use for the production; it was important that it was colorful and lucent. Then we chose the models. We were looking for these fine African features, since Quintin is from South Africa, and we also wanted to bring this aspect into our work. Finally we discussed the lighting and the colors we would use to bring it together with the jewelry and the dresses.
Results: Everybody who was part of this project loves the photos. The precious jewelry and the reflecting neon lights on the girl’s skin add up to an amazing colorful world of its own.
Wartenberg also photographed the makeup progression of actor Bruno Eyron for a series of portraits which were awarded Gold, as well, in 2013. Juxtaposed with Neon, his narrative in these pieces is riveting for its avoidance of sentimentality or romanticism.
Assignment: I had worked with actor Bruno Eyron for a personality shoot, and we had found a creative connection very quickly. I told Bruno about a transformation story I wanted to do, and it was not hard to convince him. He came to Hamburg and we worked on it, step by step. We did not want the result, him as a drag queen, not to look ridiculous; the seriousness of the whole shoot was important to the whole team.
Approach: After developing the idea with Bruno, I got in touch with Norbert Cheminel, who was definitely the right make-up artist for this shoot. We looked through all different kinds of man/woman transformation and evolved the single steps for hair and make-up together. The final shoot took us a whole day.
Results: This little journey was a great experience for all of us, and the feedback from all sides was amazing.
Our Photography Annual 2014 competition features the most compelling and influential photography of the year. Prizes consist of gold and platinum awards, with winning entries published in the Photography Annual 2014.
To submit your own work to the Photography Annual 2014 competition, click here. But don’t wait! The final deadline for entry submissions is coming up quick.
Design Firm: Frank P. Wartenberg Photography
Photographer: Frank P. Wartenberg
Clients: Glampool Agency & NEL Jewellery Art
Category: Portraits & Beauty