When celebrated fashion photographer Perou had the chance to try out the freshly launched Hasselblad H5D-50 in his equally brand new London studio he decided on a theme based around vivid colours to lift the spirits on a drab winter’s day. The long grey days of winter can get you down at times, so when the iconic music and fashion photographer got the chance to set up a shoot to road test the new Hasselblad H5D-50 he knew exactly what to do to make sure his studio had more of a spring feel about it.
The brief was to go for a set of pictures that were vibrant and exciting and full of bright and clashing colours. Not only did it cheer them all up a little, but it also allowed him to see how the H5D-50 would cope with what potentially might have been quite a challenging situation.
Consequently when the models arrived Perou’s team went to town with countless tins of wildly coloured hairsprays, hair extensions, dazzling clothes and painted tattoos, while around the studio large canvases were being prepared, a roller coating them with a garish base colour before they were finished off with paint ‘bombs’ to create wild splashes of jarring hues. It was carefully controlled mayhem, designed to set the tone for a day that would be all about creativity and spontaneity.
Appropriately enough Perou was trying out a brand new camera within the four walls of the Bow Bunker, his state of the art and freshly finished studio, and he relished the chance to enjoy his beautiful new space while getting to grips with the latest incarnation of Hasselblad’s mighty H Series of digital cameras. “My first impression is that it looks jazzy, and it definitely has the appearance of a new camera,” he says, “but in the hands it still feels familiar and I was comfortable with it straight away.
In terms of fresh features, the one I found myself appreciating immediately was the ability to check the focus on images at 100% on the back of the camera. It saves so much time that I would otherwise spend checking things out on a computer screen, and it’s a genius idea.”
Perou was originally converted to medium format through his search for quality, and in his view there is no comparison between what he can achieve with a Hasselblad and what his 35mm-style DSLR is capable of outputting.
“The H5D was giving me file sizes of 150MB,” he says, “which was phenomenal. I’m shooting a lot for editorial clients and the fact is that they don’t normally need that kind of quality, but I still want to be producing files like this in case I later want to feature them in a book or there’s a need for an image to be used on a billboard. “There’s also a formality to using a Hasselblad, and it photographs the world as I see it. I don’t see the world as an easily zoomable lens, nor do I see things in extreme wide angle. If I want to get closer to something then I simply walk towards it. The camera you use is about the way you connect with the world in many ways, and the H5D just feels like the right tool to me.”
Perou was impressed with the series of strikingly colourful portraits, full of life and vibrancy and packed with resolution. “I’m delighted with them and with the performance of the H5D,” says the photographer. “It gives me everything I need and more and the results are amazing. I’ve been checking for fringing, which might afflict some lesser cameras faced with all that clashing colour, but there’s none visible at all. It looks like a real step forward: I’m already relishing the thought of using it again.”