Noir Narratives.


Doug’s Portsmouth Nights series, Akira Kurosawa’s effects, and the Film Noir genre inspired our solution to make portraits of lovers that rock. We call them: Noir Narratives. These low-key, ambivalent black and white images explode with cinematic expression, silouettes, melting darkness, and contrasting spotlights. We hope the images leave you with more questions than answers, and once lost in the beautiful fog of love itself, that you’ll discover the most mysterious, fabulous corners of each other’s heart.

Life is Short

The 2 song scenes in Kurosawa's Ikiru

The element of magic was the driving force behind our desire to revamp the industry standard engagement photo session. When we first started dating, Doug and I discovered early on a shared love for Akira Kurosawa movies. They captivated us. Kurosawa used weather elements like rain, fog, intense heat, freezing wind, and snow as a signature technique to create a more intense feeling of the mood. Also, he chose to use multiple telephoto lenses because he liked the flattened effect, and he believed that the actors performed better when they were recorded from farther away, and when they didn’t know which camera was on them at any given time.

This image reminds Katherine of a Van Gogh cafe scene with the glittering lights... As if it were around the corner from here.

Portsmouth Alley At Night In The Fog With Snow.

Doug and I love using weather elements to influence texture and mood as well. In Doug’s personal work, particularly his Portsmouth Nights series, he explores a city covered in fog, sleet, rain and snow, to create dissonance, texture, and lingering emotion in a series of night-time practices.

Though we can neither control the weather, nor do we generally have the means to make it rain in black calligraphy ink on command, the one element of magic that we can always count on, is the blanket element of darkness, it happens every evening, and that is why we shoot our sessions at night.

Interestingly, we do not use telephoto lenses on these shoots. Perhaps we have a luxury because it’s only one frame, and one moment, that we’re after. When it comes down to it though, Doug values the different layers, and the depth, and third dimension that standard and wide angle lenses lend. He also tends to hang back, and let the scene unfold, but he likes the option of being close with his subjects at times, and he is quite disarming, isn’t he! You are not actors after all, but real people, in love. Allowing another person into that circle requires trust, and a real realtionship, and it always shows.

Doug of Helios Images always shoots the Noir Narratives with Katherine serving as artistic director, in black and white film, and fully manual, hard knocked film cameras, with no automation whatsoever.

Please enjoy our gallery below full of the inspirational photographs, each created by Douglas Despres, that fueled the creation of the Noir Narrative.

The Gallery:

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