Supermodel, singer, songwriter, producer and actress, Grace Jones is undeniably an icon. A strong character whose androgynous yet bold appearance took the 70s and 80s by storm and seen as a staple of the dance movement, Grace was honoured with a Q Idol Award in 2008 and named one of the top 50 dance artists of all time.
Penning her autobiography alongside journalist Paul Morely, I’ll never Write My Memoirs was released in 2015 to tell the story of her eventful life; playing on the opening line of her 1981 song, Art Groupie. Rotolight Master of Light, Greg Gorman, has worked closely with Grace many times over the years, and was honoured to shoot images that would grace the front and back covers of her biography.
As a renowned portrait, fine-art and celebrity photographer, Greg’s own career boasts an impressive portfolio of faces that he has shot over a career spanning four decades including David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Leonardo Di Caprio, to name just a few. Recognised for his timeless style and contributions for photography, Greg has also been acknowledged with the Luci Award for Achievement in Portraiture as well as the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Professional Photographers of America.
Now specialising in fine-art and nude photography, Greg’s classic style is characterised by the high dynamic range between the highlights and shadows, which flatters Grace’s striking features.
Shooting in Jamaica across three days, Greg took his light of choice with him: the Rotolight Anova PRO 2. Utilising the light’s powerful continuous output, Greg loves the effect that it creates compared to traditional strobes: “I used to work a lot with an HMI and ballast that was extremely heavy and totally stationary, but it produced this lovely soft light,” Greg remembers. “The Anova PRO 2 does the same thing, but without the heat and weight. It’s soft and more like daylight which I love.” Where HMIs produce immense amounts of heat, LEDs run entirely cool, so Greg didn’t have to contend with the added heat from the light on top of the Caribbean climate.
Exposed to the bright daylight of the Jamaican sun, Greg could fill any harsh shadows from the overhead sun and tune the colour temperature and brightness to match the ambient light using the two simple dials and display on the back of the Anova PRO 2. The best-in-class power draw at just 72W meant that Greg was able to shoot on location for up to two hours on just one 95 W/h V-Lock battery.
With only one location to shoot in across the full three days, Greg had to get creative with sharp geometry that frames Grace’s distinct features with striking styling and leading lines to create intense yet intimate portraits.
The unique round shape of Rotolight’s LEDs means that the output is naturally flattering; not only mimicking the sunlight but also resulting in flattering catchlights in the subject’s eyes and reflective surfaces such as water.
The resulting images from Greg’s shoot captured Grace Jones perfectly; her bold personality, self-reliance and sexual freedom. As Greg says: “There’s no one more fun or invigorating to work with than Grace Jones.”