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Taking Cue From Jenson

Recently, we came across this photoshoot by Hunter & Gatti for Hugo Boss featuring Jenson Button with a McLaren and thought to ourselves, could we do something similar? After all my personal website was up for a bit of a freshening up and so I needed a photoshoot.

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The tricky part really was getting the setting and of course the car but thanks to the good people at Wearnes Automotive, I had the opportunity to use their showroom for the photoshoot and upon looking at our idea, they were excited to be on board and allowed us to use the Singapore Edition of the McLaren MP4-12C which was perfect since well I’m Singaporean and we were doing it in the McLaren Singapore showroom.

There are 3 specially designed Singapore editions of the McLaren MP4-12C and the first of which was unveiled during the Singapore Grand Prix last year. It’s also a collaboration between McLaren and authorised distributor Wearnes Automotive.

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Of course I ain’t no Jenson Button but there was a lot of fun into putting this project together. Perhaps the hardest part was not just to replicate it but at the same time to sort of make it our own. First thing we went for was to mark out a few positions we wanted to follow and some safe ones we would use as well.

Attire wasn’t an issue, I was never going to use the same clothes so instead I opted for a safe suit and tie look. Besides, I usually host in this attire anyway so remember it’s always about understanding your own style first.

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Unlike the Jenson Button photoshoot, we didn’t have a dark tunnel to work with. I overheard the photographers discussing terms like strobe lighting and stuff to replicate the look but we had this brilliant turn table to work with at the showroom so we thought it best to show it off a little. Now this is where our version starts to become original.

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Being in a Singapore edition of the McLaren MP4-12C was something we really wanted to show off. Here you see the opened dihedral doors and emblazoned prominently on the sides of the sills are the specially-designed “SINGAPORE EDITION” branding with the head of a lion to symbolise the country. A little bit of lighting from within the car as well so that I (being the subject matter) wouldn’t fade into the car. It basically gives you dimension…..again we’re totally not following the original idea.

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We thought it would be great to do something different with this shot. Regularly it makes sense to just pose and do something similar to Jenson Button but since I was a radio DJ, how about sitting there with a pair of headphones. Well thanks to Audio Technica Singapore, they sent a red limited edition M50 headphones for me to use with the shoot.

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I thought it was very fitting since the red matches the car and it’s limited edition so it’s unique as well. So what we have here is more character while using a similar style to the shot. Of course the hard part was for the Art Director and photographers to really get the framing right. It’s all about where you position your flash lighting and how much exposure you’re gonna give……well at least that’s what I noticed the guys doing while sitting there.

One of the things I learned from doing this photoshoot was really about being in a certain state of mind. Look I’ve placed a bunch of Jenson Button shots next to my own right, of course you might laugh and say “what the heck is this guy thinking” …..actually I was asking myself the same thing but then I thought, why not? Why don’t I just have fun and enjoy this and pretend that I am a race car driver, hey take it one step further and say “I own this car man”

I started thinking about popular culture and how everyone says that Robert Downey Jr is Iron Man. In a recent interview, RDJ himself said that he basically is Tony Stark, he believed himself to be this character and over time just became this character so when he acts, he’s just being himself really.

It was at this moment that we decided to experiment with the shot below and looking at it now, I think this was the moment I believed I could do this photoshoot, it stopped becoming a “Jenson Button replica shoot” and became my own.

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I had loads of fun doing this, we wanted to try out a concept that had been done by renowned photographers and ended up with a finished product that’s more inspired by than copied. Do check out the finished works on my website at www.elliottdanker.com. You’ll be able to see it on the main page carousel. I’d also like to thank my Art Director Ken Koh and photographer Kenneth Wong for making this possible and of course everyone at Wearnes Automotive for kindly letting us do this in their showroom and with the very beautiful Singapore edition of the McLaren MP4-12c.

Elliott Danker

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