The second from my series that is a play on Hitchcock’s masterpiece - The Birds. The photograph places British models David Gandy and Bella di Lorenzo in a banged up 1961 Sunbeam Rapier with the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop. I know the area well and the image was easy to preconceive, but damn hard to capture.
The topography of the coast here in Devon is not dissimilar to the film location of Bodega Bay in northern California and I found a road location that would work well with the morning light. I wanted a big sky and a layered narrative, so I knew long before we shot that I would be working with a wide-angle lens from the car bonnet, with limited depth of field. I rather liked the fencing behind as well - so reminiscent of the opening scene in Jaws - 2 iconic horror films rolled into one.
David is a total professional and Bella is an intelligent young star who can assume a role quickly, so the problem was always going to be the gull. They are not shy in this part of the world and regularly dive bomb our dog. But getting seagulls to dive bomb Bella - in the way they did with Tippi Hedren in the movie - was a challenge, especially in a limited time period.
The answer was to shoot twice and remove the models from the second shot and indeed the photographer. There was still much to do in terms of the gull’s trajectory and the placing of the remote-controlled camera positions. We learnt quickly, however, that seagulls can be very focused when a piece of bread is brought into the equation.
The eye to eye contact is bang on - better than we could have hoped for and I think everyone did a very solid job. It’s a wrap!