Super Constellation Fashion Shoot

The Super Constellation fashion shoot has taken eight months of planning and coordination to turn this shoot from a dream into reality. 

By Christopher Osborne.


Model Luiza Doll being shot by Marwan

As photographers, we all have admired the work of other photographers. We look at their work with amazement, sometimes with envy, and we aspire to make work as good as our chosen few. Do not get me wrong. I am not advocating copying. But that we can learn from what they have achieved, and make new work with our own interpretation of things that are important to us.

When I asked Marwan of SilvergrainClassics what the inspiration for the Super Constellation photoshoot was, he explained that the idea had come from two places.

Doug B Richardson cleans the tail fins of the Super Constellation

Firstly, he recalled visiting the “Flugausstellung” (aircraft museum) at Hermeskeil, Germany on family outings. Even though the museum was far smaller then, the graceful lines of the former Lufthansa Super Constellation left a lasting impression.

Marwan also recalls admiring the stylistic fashion photography of F C Gundlach. For those of you not familiar with this work, Gundlach was a well-respected German photographer and curator. His fashion work is heavily stylised. At the same time as making beautiful images, Gundlach provided a social commentary on contemporary society.

Marwan directs Cynthia from Lufthansa.

The Super Constellation photoshoot was first conceived in 2018. Despite considerable planning, the project was shelved during the pandemic.

The SilvergrainClassics team relaunched the project at the beginning of this year, and it has taken eight months of planning and coordination to turn this shoot from a dream into reality. The 17-person team consisted of project managers, models, makeup and wardrobe, a filmmaking team, and of course photographers. Fifteen sponsors contributed to the event providing fashion wear and accessories, film, and equipment.

Filmmaker Marco Eisenbarth

The shoot started on Friday 6th of October with an early start at 7:30 a.m. Each team set to work preparing for the day ahead. Makeup stations were set up, and lifting equipment arrived on the back of an articulated truck. Filmmaking gear was unpacked and the photographers readied themselves.

The models arrived next, and while they were in makeup, light meters were constantly checked, and as each team finished their preparations, Doug was washing the tail of the Connie.

Model Jeanie in front of a Douglas DC3 Dakota

The first model was Cynthia, who is a Luftahnsa Flight Attendant. She is part of an elite team that models period uniforms that Lufthansa still maintain. By now the sun was shining brightly, and Cynthia looked nothing short of chic in her 1960s uniform. Marwan started shooting Cynthia with the aircraft in the background. Then Doug drove the lift, and Marwan shot Cynthia on the aircraft stairs from slightly above.

“Luiza Doll” was next. Her fabulous green dress is a contemporary take on 1960s fashion. The dress was complimented by a stylish handbag. Marwan shot her alone and together with Cynthia

Visitors record Charys playing the violin on the tail of the Super Constellation.

The most ambitious part of the shoot involved placing Luiza and Jeannie up on the horizontal tail, between the fins. Doug took them up in the lift. Each model wore a harness under their costume. This was attached to a secured line in case they slipped. Marwan shot from another lift, and I am sure that the results will be spectacular.

Models Luiza Doll and Jeannie comparing smartphone images with Hannah (Wardrobe).

Preparations started slightly later on Saturday. Saturday morning was very grey with patches of light drizzle, however, the sun came out around noon.

Two parallel shoots were planned. The first centred around Charys from SilvergrainClassics with Marwan as the photographer. Marwan started shooting Chary with the aircraft as a background, and when the sun came out Charys was lifted onto the tail. For those of you who do not know Charys is a professional symphony violinist, and visitors to the museum enjoyed the impromptu concert as much as the crew.

Christina (Tia) Meisel was photographer of the commercial part of the shoot, Lenchen was makeup artist.

Tia photographed the second shot. This involved two models (Luiza and Jeannie) and no less than three outfit changes. Each scene was shot in a different part of the museum park, so Tia had three setups to manage.

Marco Eisenbach and his team filmed the entire event on an Arri digital camera. While most of the footage was digital, he did shoot a promotional piece using SilvergrainClassic’s 35mm Arri camera.

The makeup and wardrobe team camped out in the replica Concorde at the front of the museum. We also had an area to eat lunch there and I can confirm that the café coffee is truly excellent.

The shoot was great fun, and everyone pulled together. The next step is the processing of both the still and motion picture footage.

By the end of Saturday, even Marwan was heard to say “I just need a rest now”.

The Super Constellation photoshoot team.

Images © Christopher Osborne 2023.

You might also be interested this article on filmmaker Marco Eisenbarth




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