Vacant Space

Dress  Leo and Lin  Ring  Olivia Creber  Shoes  Nike  Face mask  Phoebe Hyles

Dress Leo and Lin Ring Olivia Creber Shoes Nike Face mask Phoebe Hyles

 
 

Interview by

Stasia Khmelnitski

Photography

Vladimir Kravchenko

Style

Roma D'Arietta

Art Direction

Kinal Ladha

HMUA

Kimberley Forbes

Assistant Photographer

Nikita Vigovski

Style Assistant

Kira Shillington

Talent

Eva Staudinger at Chadwick Models Australia

 

Vladimir Kravchenko - a fashion photographer based in Sydney, Australia. In his works, characters find themselves in seemingly illusory, dreamlike yet realistic situations. Ranging from realism, landscapes, and street elements to high fashion stories the works transcend continents, styles and merge to a complicated ever-developing range of photographic visions.

Vacant Space is shot in the Business Club underneath the iconic Sydney skyscraper. The team on set masterfully solved difficult, unexpected circumstances, edited the narrative switching the story. A charming muse awaits. Boredom is a relative state when there are so many sections in an empty of people building to explore. Elegantly styled, exquisite garments emphasize the delicate muse's postures.   

 
 
 
 
Dress  Leo and Lin  Ring  Olivia Creber

Dress Leo and Lin Ring Olivia Creber

 
 
 

"The sleek and future-facing mushroom-like exterior of the CTA unexpectedly continues, as you descend two storeys, in a gentlemen’s-club bonanza of carpeted floors, muted lights and oil paintings".

 
 
 

What was the vision you had before the actual shoot for the story?

As often in my experience, the vision came from wanting to shoot at a particular location. The place in question is the Commercial Traveller's Association Business Club (known as CTA) located underneath the iconic Sydney skyscraper called The MLC Centre. The CTA was rebuilt (made significantly smaller) in the late 70s to accommodate for the then dying and now all but extinct industry of travelling salesmen.

When I used to work as a lawyer in Sydney CBD a couple of years ago, I'd often visit the bar that functions a few days a week in the otherwise mostly vacant CTA interiors. To me, this bar, and the surrounding velvety, eerie and empty halls, is reminiscent all at once of such things as Twin Peaks, Blade Runner, the 20s and the 80s.

 
 

This is partly because the place is a mishmash of styles and moods. The sleek and future-facing mushroom-like exterior of the CTA unexpectedly continues, as you descend two storeys, in a gentlemen’s-club bonanza of carpeted floors, muted lights and oil paintings. At the same time, there are glaring poker machines there, and the place rattles when a train goes by (seemingly right behind one of the walls). When I learnt that I can shoot there, I at once imagined a surreal narrative where a protagonist (the main model) is dreaming of a certain restaurant or hotel in which characters out of her past or subconscious, maybe the ghosts of travelling salesmen, appear.

 
 
 
Shorts  Arnsdorf  Top  Arnsdorf  Earrings  Dinosaur Design

Shorts Arnsdorf Top Arnsdorf Earrings Dinosaur Design

 
 
 

So, the vision was to shoot a dream-like story with several models on film. I also wanted to play with tungsten lights. I wanted the lighting to look as true to what regular interior lights look like in real life (to preserve the CTA atmosphere) and to nod in the direction of the old-school lighting that recent Gucci campaigns evoke.

 
 
 
Top  Sandro  Pants  Arnsdorf  Heels  stylists own  Earrings  Valet

Top Sandro Pants Arnsdorf Heels stylists own Earrings Valet

 
Top  Sandro  Pants  Arnsdorf  Earrings  Valet

Top Sandro Pants Arnsdorf Earrings Valet

 
 
 

Did it change in any way on set?

Yes, in several ways. For example, even before we got to the set, my film order did not arrive on time, and so I had to shoot on a borrowed digital camera. Also, halfway through the shoot, we came to the conclusion that a narrative with multiple characters had to be abandoned in favour of a simpler editorial featuring one model. Still, in spite of it all, I feel that the original vision is traceable in the atmosphere of the photos.

 
 
 
 

"Several times, right in the middle of it all, one, two, or all of the lights went out".

Top  Maje Shirt  Headpiece  Phoebe Hyles

Top Maje Shirt Headpiece Phoebe Hyles

 
Top  Maje Shirt  Headpiece  Phoebe Hyles

Top Maje Shirt Headpiece Phoebe Hyles

 
 

How complicated was it to shoot in numerous locations in terms of moving the set and keeping everything organized?

Quite.

One tungsten light on a stand weighs ten kilos and gets very hot. My assistant and I had four of them and the boxes they came in and the kill-switch boards and the diffusion silks and other stuff to move up and down stairs and from one room into the next. The ceilings were too low to get the lights high enough for acceptable results, and so we had to bounce light and come up with all sorts of makeshift solutions for each setup. It was also impossible to tell where and how many circuits there were. As a result, several times, right in the middle of it all, one, two, or all of the lights went out.

All of these issues created unnecessary tension and took a lot of attention that I wish I could have directed elsewhere.

 
 
Coat  Trelise Cooper  Underwear  Lonely

Coat Trelise Cooper Underwear Lonely

 
 
Coat  Trelise Cooper  Ring  Olivia Creber

Coat Trelise Cooper Ring Olivia Creber

 
 
 
 

How hard was it to close the shooting day with the building owner knowing you will need a ‘Vacant Space’?

This aspect was easy as ultimately we had more time in the CTA than the team had energy for. The kindly bartender also gave us free beer, which tasted heavenly after the long day.

 
 
 
Trackpants  Marni  Pasties  Stylists Own  Shoes  Kenzo from Pelle Shoes  Bag  Poppy Lissiman

Trackpants Marni Pasties Stylists Own Shoes Kenzo from Pelle Shoes Bag Poppy Lissiman

 
Trackpants  Marni  Pasties  Stylists Own  Shoes  Kenzo from Pelle Shoes

Trackpants Marni Pasties Stylists Own Shoes Kenzo from Pelle Shoes

 
 
 
 

"Halfway through the shoot, we came to the conclusion that a narrative with multiple characters had to be abandoned in favour of a simpler editorial featuring one model".

 
 
 
Dress  Alice McCALL  Bag  Poppy Lissiman  Necklace  Louise Olsen Gold Choker

Dress Alice McCALL Bag Poppy Lissiman Necklace Louise Olsen Gold Choker

 
 
 
Top  Marni  Skirt  Marni  Head Piece  Phoebe Hyles  Shoes  Vintage Gucci from Pelle Shoes

Top Marni Skirt Marni Head Piece Phoebe Hyles Shoes Vintage Gucci from Pelle Shoes

Dress  Marni  Shoes  Zara  Glasses  Poppy Lissiman

Dress Marni Shoes Zara Glasses Poppy Lissiman

 
 

Check out more works by Vladimir Kravchenko