What would happen if several photographers did a photoshoot with the exact same dress? In January, Danielle Reeder gathered a small group of 11 photographers to find the answers. The idea of this photo project called “The Travelling Dress Collective” was to pass one dress around between 11 photographers working in a variety of genres and styles across the UK. A diverse group ranging from studio to location and from posed to documentary, photographers ensured that each photoshoot told a completely unique story of the same dress.
Which of the 11 photographers did it better? Is it Danielle Reader? Comment when you are done scrolling.
“Each of the 11 photographers had 5 days to implement their vision for the photoshoot of the dress before passing it along to the next artist.”, that was the only rule that was given by Danielle Reeder.
“There were no rules other than not to get it wet due to its delicate nature! It’s been amazing seeing all the images finally come together, each completely unique in their vision and style,” says Danielle Reeder.
Each of the 11 photographers later shared their experience with the gorgeous travelling dress and the ideas behind their shoots.
“I instantly fell in love with this dress the moment I first saw it! It is the dress of absolute dreams! I thought I had my time with the dress planned, but as is sometimes the case, things do not go to plan . . . sometimes they get better!” says Danielle Reeder.
“We got together a few days later than planned and although it was only mid-February, we were lucky enough to have a relatively warm day with pretty perfect lighting conditions. I’d initially planned to hold the session indoors with a completely different feel so I didn’t really have any preconceived ideas for this particular day. We had lots of fun exploring the location and making the most of the stunning surroundings, which all worked beautifully with the travelling dress.” – Danielle Reader
“When Danielle Reeder came up with the idea for the Travelling Dress I just had to get involved. I knew the majority of the 11 photographers were available light and location photographers so I knew I had to studio shoot it,” says Gary Hill.
“When the dates came around it was perfect, I had a collaboration shoot booked with Simone Stocks model and a designer so it was ideal to shoot the travelling dress at the same time. Due to work commitments I never actually had time to unpack the dress until I got to the studio on the morning of the shoot!
When I did so I just knew it would fit on my styled portrait set up, so after a discussion on hair and makeup, 15 minutes later we were done. Simple effective setups and Simone nailed it! Very happy with what we produced and really excited to be able to share them now. What a wonderful idea!”
“My model was sixteen-year-old Tara Yasmin Holland. […] Tara seemed like she had all the right attributes to help pose and be photographed in the ‘travelling dress’ whilst dancing and performing too. […] With pointe shoes and dancing tights she put on the dress and came alive as if ‘dancing’ to a score whilst on stage. The passers-by were in awe, many asking questions and telling us their own dancing connections,” says Sophia Benham.
“Our setting used was The Square Tower in Southsea, Portsmouth. The beautiful sand-coloured wall backdrops really echoed the colour of the travelling dress and also Tara’s hair colouring too.
I thoroughly enjoyed the travelling dress collective experience and it really has made me more confident in an area I am really passionate about. I really hope to collaborate with other dancers in the near future.”
“The style of the travelling dress reminded me of a cross between 1920’s Gatsby style and bohemian chic. I do love the Gatsby style, but I already had a vision in my mind of how I wanted to portray the dress which was more in line with the boho-chic look so that is what I decided to use as inspiration for my photo shoot,” says Francesca Low.
“When I think of the anything bohemian, I think of open fields, light, freedom and love. For this exact reason, I decided to venture outdoors with the dress to a local woodland.”
“I was lucky enough to receive this beautiful dress in time for a weekend away with my oldest school friends. We were travelling to Camber beach for a weekend away. We always spend time on this beautiful beach and I’ve wanted to do a proper photoshoot there for ages. My gorgeous friend Paula agreed to model and our other friend was my able and very helpful assistant and stylish! The light here at the beach is so pretty and the skyline and beach is so vast that I knew it would make a stunning backdrop for the photos,” says Rebecca Challis.
“We had such a fun time on the beach and playing around in the sand dunes and I love the tones in the photographs. Paula was a brilliant model, up for trying everything and I think really enjoyed it. I love how these final photos show off her joy and love for life!”
“When I saw the travelling dress in the group, I was amazed by its sparkle, its stylishness and the plunging neckline, because I knew that I could use it in the way I had imagined,” – says Elora Viano. “When I planned this session, I wanted a mum who was still breastfeeding her baby. I wasn’t interested in the child’s age, because that doesn’t matter. I wanted to show how beautiful, comforting, and natural breastfeeding is, no matter where you are, or what you are wearing!”
“As soon as I saw the gorgeous travelling dress we were using I knew I wanted my shoot for the project to be at the beach. So the dress travelled to Balmedie beach, near Aberdeen, along with my friend’s beautiful teenage daughter Isla as my model. We arrived at our destination just before sunset on what turned out to be a pretty cold and overcast May evening. Luckily the rain stayed away and Isla was still happy to do the shoot despite the cold!” says Lauren Shepherd.
“I love how the impending storm clouds add a dramatic effect to the images. I also loved using my Lensbaby for part of this shoot as I don’t usually use it. It was fun having the creative freedom to use it for this project!”
“I thought about this dress for quite a long time before it arrived on my doorstep. Being someone who is quite taken with people’s relationships and how they connect with others or the spaces around them. I already knew that the dress was going to come on a journey with me, to physically join me everywhere I went for the time we’d be spending together,” says Jo Haycock.
“It was important to record a ceremonial moment of the dress arriving, welcoming it into our home. I looked at it for a while just hanging there before tentatively tried it on. Then quickly took it off again. I took it with me on a photo shoot at a female artists’ retreat, Michelle was drawn to it so she tried it on. At the end of its time with us, my 12-year-old daughter told me she loved the sparkles, so she played in it for a while.”
“I knew from the start that most were going to be using an adult model for the project but I decided from the moment I joined that I was going to use my 13-year-old daughter. Unfortunately, I got the date for my turn wrong and all my planning in my head went to pot as I had the travelling dress the weekend before I thought!” says Ashleigh Shea. “So after a busy day shooting, we quickly dashed up to the woods on a chilly Sunday to have a bit of fun and see what we could get. I’m actually pleased it turned out this way as my original plan was to have her hair done and a little light makeup and use it as her last shoot before she was 14. The way it ended up was much more natural and much more Leah!”
“I wanted to create a bit of a 70’s grungy vibe with the image. The travelling dress is so versatile for both style and shape that it was easy to create the right atmosphere with a bit of help from lighting and prism to shoot through. I used a continuous LED to light the model and also set up some fairy lights behind to give some depth to the image,” says Chantal Storrs-Barbor.
“I was completely embarrassed and self-conscious, to begin with, but tried my best to relax, and actually it was fine. My stage fright subdued and I did the shoot and survived. I thoroughly recommend everyone to do this at least once. Book a portrait shoot. Be in front of the camera, do a photoshoot for yourself. It’s enlightening and actually fun!!!”
Comment Your favourite photographer below.