When New York City based photographer and filmmaker Charlie Wan journeys into a new project the first thing he focuses on is to give the project an emotional value. The storylines can be linear, but they go deep. “I tend to use a very simple storyline and then focus on building the depth of the emotions,” Wan tells us.
His Bloom film, which he just won the “Best Hair and Makeup” award for at La Jolla Fashion Film Festival, was built on that principle. In all simplicity, the film is a beauty film about transformation, or a metamorphosis if you like. “It’s pretty straight forward. It takes you from a cocoon stage to the pure beauty of a girl’s face,” – which in this case belongs to New York based actress Jennifer Onvie. “Jennifer was the integral part of this film,” Wan says, and continues:
She has features of a beauty model and performance of a seasoned actress. There were magical expressions with just her hands or even with her face covered. We couldn’t ask for a better person for this film.
Performances were great across the line, with breathtaking makeup by Roshar, to the amazing nails done by Julie Kandalec. Wan makes sure to stress that this was a team effort, and that without the superb chemistry between the four artists, the film would never have been such a success: “Exactly, we completely let our collaborative chemistry to spark the outcome.”
The true X-factor of the film though, lies in the sound design, which was done by Wan himself in collaboration with Gavin Little at Echolab. “My favorite part of making this film was the sound design part. That’s my background as an ex-art director in motion graphic field.”
Most fashion films just use music and edit to the visual. But the power of sound design would completely make your film come alive.
Wan started out as an art director for several motion graphics studios, and as his career grew, he realised he had spent years in front of a computer waiting for rendering and managing teams. He needed a change. “I decided this would not be a lifestyle that I would like to continue to have. I’d rather be hands-on, living an active creative life,” he says, adding: “- After much evaluation of my skills, I went back to what was my first true love: photography.”
As many other aspiring photographers he started out shooting fashion. After years of testing and carving his skills, his passion for shooting women’s faces grew rapidly. “With fashion you always have to chase the seasons. Your work has to stay current, and they expire every 6 months. I’d like my work to sustain the test of time. Beauty is completely timeless. Once you’ve captured the beauty of the face, it lasts forever. There’s no time stamp on it.”
Wan intends on shooting much more beauty in future, and believes there is more room in the genre to explore concepts than in fashion photography: “- Fashion photography has explored pretty much any concepts under the sun, and I noticed beauty campaigns are under very finite elements in the aesthetics…beauty dish, feeling glamorous, perfect long lashes, silky hair, etc. I believe there is a lot more room to grow. I would definitely like to do more beauty films. Some of them could have commercial value for brands.”
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