Portraits: Violet Noir at Northcote Street Lanes with the Sony RX1


Quite simply, these are some of my favourite portraits that I’ve ever taken.

I met the lovely Violet Noir via the magic of Twitter. I was reviewing the excellent Sony RX1 and wanted to see what I could do with it portrait-wise, so I put out a request on Twitter for anybody with a spare hour or two to volunteer. I couldn’t quite believe my luck when someone with blue/purple hair replied – I love people with unusual looks.

I knew immediately where I wanted to photograph after I saw a picture of Violet online. I first saw the Northcote Street Lanes when I was a student living up in Cathays and always knew the excellent graffiti in these alleys would make an excellent backdrop. I just had to pray that it didn’t rain or the shoot would be ruined. Once again, the weather gods smiled on me and we were on.

For anybody that doesn’t know, the Sony RX1 is a rather special camera. It’s technically a compact, it has a fixed, 35mm f/2.0 lens and, incredibly, a full-frame sensor (meaning that the sensor is the same size as a 35mm film-frame).

Now, strictly speaking, 35mm is not usually a focal length considered for portraiture, but one of the most exciting cameras in the world in my hands I wanted to see what I could get from it. I knew it would be great for environmental shots, where the wider scene can be viewed, hence why I wanted to photograph in the lanes.

I love the way these have turned out. You’ll see that Violet’s hair looks different in quite a few of the shots. I used different modes on the camera, including my favourite for this shoot, Pop Colour, which made the vibrant hues of Violet’s hair and outfit (check out the gold shoes) really pop out of the screen. I’ve also learned that blue hair looks kind of blonde in black and white shots – who knew?

Anyway, enough rambling… I hope you like these shots as much as I do. I’d love to photograph more people with super bright hair so I can build up a rainbow montage one day. I’ve already got photos of the gorgeous Liz with her bright red/orange hair – so if you’ve got green, yellow, pink or anything else and fancy a shoot, please, please do get in contact.

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