Art

Water Wigs

Photographer Tim Tadder talks about his “Water Wigs” photography series

Interview by Lora Wiley - lora@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos by Tim Tadder - www.timtadder.com
Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

Where did this idea come from?
This was an extension of an earlier personal project we did called Fish Heads, we had been exploring imagery with water and the use of a laser trigger, as well as a sound trigger. We decided to try using the sound trigger and looked for a suitable subject on the web. We found people taking images of exploding water balloons with the sound trigger and decided that we could add a human element to create a more visually compelling image set. We first explored throwing the balloons at a mannequin in our studio and discovered that at just the right toss the exploding balloon formed a wig of hair. Hence the idea was born and since our mannequin was bald it seemed like we should start with bald subjects.

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

The colors in these photos are extraordinary, did you have this style in mind when you started shooting or was it a style that developing during the making of?
We wanted to create a sense of pop art, something that was very vivid and arresting. We set out that way with a very strong intent to create a colorful set that would jump out at the audience.

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

Aside from being bald or willing to wear a bald cap, do you have any other requirements for a model?
Never, we always just want to shoot people. Anyone that is willing to sit for us, we will shoot them and try to make a compelling photograph. We live by the mantra that great subjects make great photographs, so we do look for interesting looking individuals that seem to have a story to tell.

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

Describe the process of getting the shot of the popped balloon at exactly the right time?
It’s a very simple process, far more than one would imagine. Basically you set up the sound trigger, aim the balloon, turn off all the lights, open the shutter and throw the balloon. When the balloon pops the sound triggers the strobes and the image is recorded, the shutter is closed and that’s it. Very simple, the strobes are what make the image, and the sound is what makes the timing perfect. We used various delays to get different effects of the water, so in other words, we would delay the time from when the balloon popped and the strobes fired, the longer the delay the more fluid the water would appear, the shorter the more solid it would appear. That was a series of trial and error approaches to get the timing just right for the effect we wanted. We made a lot of mistakes…

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

A thumbtack was your secret weapon?
This allowed the balloons to pop easier and gave us more control over the effects. Otherwise the balloons would often slide off the head to one side or another and you had to through the balloons with a lot of force to make them explode. Tacks just make the popping more consistent.

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

In part two you decided to work with women as subjects. What else was different this time?
We just wanted to give the women a fair shake in the process, and we thought it could be very beautiful and have a future fashion vibe. It was just an exploration of the theme, and I think it worked quite well. Not much else was very different, we just tried a few different things to see how they worked, but all in all it was just an extension to a broader subject base.

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

Do you have a favorite?
I think the mohawk man in green with the red mohawk, or the bald girl with the mohawk would be my two favorites, but I really like them all. I like the fact that we set out to do something different. We were willing to fail. We were not trying to be something we are not. We just made some eye candy and had a lot of fun!

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

Which shot was the most difficult to get?
That’s hard to say, it was not like we were trying to get one specific thing, we were just exploring and at the end we culled what we had and it made a nice collection. We were not rigid in our approach, but rather fluid and once we had something new, we banked it and moved on…

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

You’ve said you would like cancer foundations to use the project for awareness. Wonderful idea. Is anything happening on that front?
Nope. I will donate as much time to anyone that wants to make a series of images with this theme as I can to make something meaningful and life changing to come from it. It’s received so much attention worldwide, I just wish there was a cause that it could be applied to in order to make a difference in someone’s life. I thought that cancer patients that have lost there hair to chemo would make for a super compelling, arresting subject matter. I thought it would be great to make them fierce warriors willing to battle their disease, or even just have a shoot with kids in chemo just to give them something to smile about. I approached all the cancer causes I could find and no one would return my calls. Do you know anyone?

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

How has this shoot inspired advertisers?
Yes, we have done three commercial campaigns associated with the concept, and they have all gone over quite well.

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

Your style as an advertising photographer and artist are powerful and high energy. Any design to do any quieter more subtle projects?
Nope, that’s not me, I do not do quite very well, it’s just not my voice.

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

What’s your next project? Will there be a Water Wigs part 3, or do you feel the series is saturated?
No more water wigs. We are doing quite a few personal projects, recently we finished a series of shots where we recreated statues from antiquity with models and applied a very interesting post production technique to it to make the models really look bronzed. It’s pretty freaking cool. We also just finished a series that recreates “Ghost in the Shell” with images, CGI and matte painting. Its off the charts and is going to get a ton of press worldwide. We collaborated with the very best CGI artists and matte painters in Hollywood to make this set come to life. I feel blessed to be a part of that project. We are also releasing an insane project with explosions that we did last summer, but are finally able to share in Feb. This one is very colorful, very dynamic and something totally unique. Lookout for that…

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

Photo © Tim Tadder

See more of Tim’s work at: www.timtadder.com

www.timtadder.com)

One Response to “Water Wigs”

  1. Ebru debbag says:

    This is so very inspiring and elegant. İt is amazing what there is out there which still has not been discovered and imagined. Thanks for the creativity and the photos are simply wonderful.