Tom Corbett: Roman Holiday for St. Regis
In the last six months Tom Corbett has been whisked between London, Paris, and Detroit (The Paris of the West) photographing high fashion stories in the world’s hot beds of creativity. Models all their own, the cities are the perfect settings to explore beauty in action, and an environmental context for a gorgeous vision. Most recently, Beyond, the magazine by St Regis Hotels, asked Tom to join them in Rome to show off what they see as the perfect blend of classic elegance and a modern spirit. “It was just an amazing opportunity to shoot in Rome, to get out there,” says Tom. “A great opportunity to do another one of those high fashion luxury stories that I love doing so much.” The blend of classic and modern makes for an interesting aesthetic challenge that offered Tom a unique and exciting technical exercise.
To get high value images quite often it requires high value production, with huge teams and lighting rigs, and a mess of complications. But Tom has found that his clients are looking for a simpler look, a natural grace in the face of complication. It’s something that Tom is really excited about and employed in this Roman shoot. “They wanted to shoot all daylight, to have a real natural look to it, which we’re finding more and more,” Tom says about the vision created with Vanessa Arnaud, the Art Director. “I love shooting daylight. I love the freedom that it gives me. So we basically didn’t use any lights. We were a little creative sometimes using what was available, but we didn’t flash anything up.” With natural light, Tom can move around freely, and collaborate with the models in a 3D space, offering flexibility and improvisation, revealing images that are perhaps more than could have been anticipated.
The natural challenge ends up making for unique images that Tom loves. This kind of process wasn’t even possible just a couple years ago, but because of the advances in technology, Tom is able to capture his vision more readily. At night there is so little ambient light that older cameras wouldn’t be able to pick up any subjects which would require Tom and his team to set up lights. But, what he’s working with now helps him achieve what he’s looking for as naturally as possible. “Shooting at night with no lights was really interesting,” Tom says. “One of the shots we actually went out while it was nighttime and used the available light. I hadn’t done that in a long time. With the cameras the way they are these days you can actually walk down the street and take a picture, whereas in the past it would have been a lot different, which is kind of amazing. I just love that the clients seem to be asking for this look. This uncomplicated, natural light seems to be the trend so I’m excited about that.” Elegance doesn’t have to be complicated, heavy, or confusing. The beautiful styling by B&A Stylist Shelly Vella, balanced by makeup and hair by Lisa Valencia prove that, and that elegance is something Tom will follow no matter where in the world it takes him.