Jessica in Vogue

A quickfire shoot, Italian style

So, as it happens, I've done a photo-shoot for Vogue Italia magazine. I don't think I'd ever have said those words before.

A few months ago I received a call from my friend Jason Felmingham saying that he needed someone to do a shoot with Jessica Watson for an article on behalf of the World Food Programme that would end up in Vogue Italia. Who is Jessica Watson you might ask? Shame on your for even having to ask that. She is the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe, unaccompanied. She also won the Young Australian of the Year in 2011. And she's only 21. Most 21 year olds these days are proud just getting a high score on Candy Crush.

I was to meet up with her at the Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne for a quickfire 1-hour shoot. There wasn't any real direction given in terms of the shots needed and I assumed there would be someone directing the requirements during the session. I arrived first and was greeted by Jessica a few minutes later. It was just us two, winging it.

We'd assumed that they wanted shots of her amongst the boats and on a boat. We walked around the harbour whilst Jessica talked about how she has moved to Melbourne to start her University course. She mentioned how she doesn't get recognised around campus but she prefers the anonymity within her private life as she goes about her business.

Once Jessica found some nice boats owned by her friends, she jumped on board and settled in very easily into the shoot. It's almost like she had done this before, duh, and we quickly went through various scenes and poses to make sure we had covered all bases that may or may not be required for the article.

It was at this point that Jessica and I agreed that we'd had enough of "girl on the water" pics and headed back to the beach to find something a little more 'earthy'. It's interesting to see how many people stop for a quick chat with Jessica. She makes a real effort to say hello and politely excuses herself so that we can get on with the rest of the shoot.

I'm very concious that she has an 11:00am appointment and I really don't want to be that photographer that makes anyone feel uncomfortable trying to get a shot that will most likely never be used.

We found a small spot on the beach that had some lovely greens and oranges in the foliage to snap a few more shots in a slightly changed outfit.

I had brought some strobe lights with me thinking I could get away with some studio style shots but the time constraints were not going to allow for it. I did have a flash in my bag and also a makeshift umbrella to go with it so I mentioned the idea of a studio style shot to Jessica and she was happy to do so. We just needed a white wall of sorts to get the look I was after.

Failing that, I pointed out the stark grey concrete wall of the car park area so we headed over there and Jessica called a friend to help out and hold the flash and umbrella so I could be free to take the shots. A few minutes later and I get the result below. It came out great, for something I only had a few minutes to set up and execute.

This shoot happened back in early May of this year and I couldn't really show much until the magazine finally came out, which it did this week. And the lovely people at Vogue were kind enough to courier me a copy all the way from Italy so I could have it on the day of release. In the end, only 2 shots were used but the whole process was a great experience and I am looking forward to the next one.

I've google translated the article as best as I can below:

Around the world sailing solo, humanitarian efforts. Now a film. The young Jessica Watson continues to pursue her dreams.

By Ulysses on, the journey on the open sea and daring spirits. And if the adventure or the thrill ran out not to return to safe havens? In the case of Jessica Watson, Australian, born in 1993, this intuition is more than ever true. An open smile and honey-coloured strands also ordered upwind, since 2010 is the youngest sailor to circumnavigate unaccompanied around the Earth. "I wanted to demonstrate how a girl aboard a small boat could conquer the world," she says. While the meters tell us which made it possible to record and exhibited at the Queensland Maritime Museum, she, from that first goal, you do not stop and more.

In 2011 she was named "Young Australian of the Year" and for a few years an ambassador for the World Food Programme, the largest humanitarian organisation committed to the fight against malnutrition. "I've realised my dream," she says. "In order that others should not have available resources and means to achieve them." Meanwhile, already in the pipeline is the movie "True Spirit" taken from her self-titled e-book and distributed by Paramount Pictures next year, which she has been engaged as a consultant to the script. An accurate logbook, which has nothing to do with the story over the top of the prodigal teenager worked in Hollywood. "In the middle of the ocean I have learned to appreciate the simple things," she says.

The fact that she loves to cook cupcakes is no coincidence, even in a boat, to relax, or get your friends to Sydney or Melbourne during her frequent trips. Suitcase in? "They should not miss cashmere sweaters and scarves for the coldest days", because "The convenience, in the first place". When, during gala dinners, to prefer long dresses navy style, even the daily look and full of dynamism. "I prefer simple outfits anyway". Ideal time to browse all new horizons, with the body or only in your mind. confesses that, in addition to the dream of it transferred, sooner or later, in New York, she would like to write a novel: "I have already some ideas, but I would not reveal them yet."

From above. A portrait of Jessica Watson (photo courtesy Peter Jackson). Two images of the Australian sailor held in casual (courtesy of Steve Koukoulas Photography).

Dear Steve,
Just to let you know that I have had positive feedback from Vogue and they confirmed that the new material meets their requirements for publication. They did not give me information on which photos will be used but I just wanted to let you know and thank you again for the great work provided.

Again, many thanks for your last-minute help! This picture looks amazing!

Kindest regards,
Elisabetta