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Face Your Fear | BTS with Von Wong & Jen Brook

By Jules Ebe on July 10th 2013

During a visit from model Jen Brook, Von Wong shot a series of images for her Dreamcatcher project that happened to include an octopus.

That’s right – an octopus.

You may remember our feature with Lauri Laukkanen working with Jen on the same project. That one did not have an octopus though.

Using hypersync, strobes, and ND filters, Von Wong was able to create dramatic lighting situations that looked completely different, all during the same photo shoot.

But this shoot not only played with lighting techniques and dealt with some crazy last minute changes, it also included attaching seafood to Jen’s face.

All I can say is, I will never look at sushi the same again.

BTS | Facing Your Fears & Crazy Seafood Action

Face Your Fear

You want to do what with an octopus?


The concept of placing an octopus on the model’s face was by, well, the model. After a memorable experience with calamari-induced food poisoning, Jen decided facing her fear head on would make for a perfect conceptual shoot.

He reeked of old fish…and he was sprawled all over my face! His long slimy legs slid slowly down my neck, his heavy jelly head flopped to the side and my breaths became as short as I could possibly make them without passing out.


But how do you take that sense of parolizing fear and translate it on camera? Queue the Von Wong…

I wanted to make sure that all the attention and tension that a person would feel from ripping an octopus off ones face could be clearly captured.

That meant a shallow depth of field and a strobe placed just above Jen to separate her from the grey background.


In Castaway, the challenge was different. They wanted to create a night scene during the day. Solution: ND filters to underexpose the cloudy daylight and strobes with gels to light and tone the subject.

Voilá – instant nighttime.


For the Gear Heads

Equipment and Specs:

Face Your Fear:
Nikon D800E | Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 | 1000 sec at f2.8, ISO 100 | Flex TT5 |AC3 | AC9

Nikon D800E | Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 | 1/80 sec at f6.3, ISO 50 | Flex TT5 | AC3 | AC9 | Lee filter Bellows | 3 stop ND filter

Win a Print from Von Wong & theprintspace

Von Wong is partnering with theprintspace to give away a print from this photo shoot called Shipwrecked. Click here for more details.


To see more from Von Wong, check out his blog. To read Jen Brook’s take on facing her fear, check out her Tumblr.

Until Next Time . . .

Stay Inspired ~ Jules

CREDITS: Photographs by Von Wong and Jen Brook have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.


is a Southern California based Conceptual Artist and Photographer. Her work has been featured in several print publications and selections can be seen in local gallery exhibitions. Connect with her on Facebook and Google+.


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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Guy is amazing.

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  2. Anthony McFarlane

    Another epic shoot!

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  3. Ryan

    Great images!! Does anyone know what filter holder and lens hood combo he is using?

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