It’s a monumental moment when a photographer gets to create a shoot they’ve been talking about for years. Though it happens rarely, when it does, it usually amounts to something rather special, as seen through Jack Davison’s latest shoot for Modern Weekly China. The It’s Nice That favourite, previously of Ones to Watch 2016 fame, has graced our screens many a time. His portfolio boasts brooding landscapes and sultry portraits, but most recently, a shoot inspired by old Japanese monster movie sets?!
On this unexpected turn, Jack tells It’s Nice That: “I’ve had this shoot in my head for the last four years, ever since I stumbled across a page with hundreds of behind the scenes photographs from old monster movie sets.” Having frequently worked with the Chinese publication, Jack discussed the concept with fashion editor Tim Lin until finally, the shoot was given the go-ahead and a miniature city was built, setting the scene for Jack’s very own Godzilla-like creative vision.
“In essence, I was thinking about how it would be interesting to play with a sense of scale,” explains the photographer on the impetus for the tiny landscape. He loved the “weirdness of the set builders” lingering over their lifelike skyscrapers in behind the scenes photographs, showing scenes of the crew carefully moving in and out of the huge models and “kaiju” creatures; kaiju being the Japanese film genre that features giant monsters like King Kong and so on attacking major cities and coming into conflict with humans.
Influenced by this behind-the-scenes aesthetic filled with energy and movement, Jack envisaged replicating the interchange of scale but in a classic photo documentary style. “I always loved the Ray Harryhausen monster effects from Clash of the Titans and Sinbad, so I wanted to create that sense of photorealism that is otherworldly and sublime.”
And, after years of talking about the dream project with Tim, the perfect time for its execution came about on a trip to Japan. “It made sense for the shoot to happen there because we could use the same sets that are still used today in making TV shows and movies," explains Jack. Though it may look like the beautifully constructed architectural sets are added post-production, they are in fact, all real. Photographed on a rooftop, just west of Tokyo Tower in the Higashiazabu area, Jack finally had the chance to assemble his very own miniature city in the heart of the Japanese capital, paying tribute to the art of kaiju and the people behind it.
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