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As a photographer and a hairstylist, Jake Thompson is truly an artist. Being able to see every angle from concept to creation – he brings a unique perspective to each project he creates. With a breadth of work that stems from minimal to Avant-Garde, his style has set him apart in the industry and won him many accolades. Keep reading to see his latest collection, Angelus Vitae, in its entirety and learn about his inspirations as well as his execution behind the scenes. 

Tell us more about you as an artist?

When I first began creating I never thought of myself as an artist, I just thought I loved creating and being called an artist would come in due time and gaining respect from the fellow artist I respected.  As an artist I really just love creating beautiful, sexy images – whether I’m doing very clean minimal bob, voluminous texture or out of this world Avant-Garde. 

How has your craft evolved and what steps have you taken to continually grow? 

My craft has evolved from the experience I have behind the chair and spending hours on end in my studio or in an empty room with a tripod and mannequin head practicing my blowouts, curling techniques, and anything I wasn’t confident in.  I also consider cutting hair in the salon as I practice my craft daily. 

What was the inspiration behind this collection?

My inspiration behind Angelus Vitae (Angel of Life) Collection was to bring everyday beauty to life. Right now, I’m very inspired by the classics. With this collection, I wanted to bring the simplicity of classic styling that suited each particular model. For example, when selecting models I worked with a good friend of mine (Caitlyn) in Utah who is very well connected with up and coming talent.  I put my trust in her to get me the models for this collection.  For Angelus Vitae, I let each model, their particular features, and hair texture dictate my end goal. 

What was shoot day like? 

I shot over two days, when doing something like this I always like to have support. For this shoot, I had assistants Anna & Jordan, who both work with me at my salon and are eager to get into a creative outlet.  Day one was a whirlwind of craziness, which is usually how the first day goes.  Everyone was trying to get their bearings straight. Where do they excel, what do they want to take control of? I usually shoot one less model on the first day for this very reason.  I also usually shoot the strongest, most experienced model first as it is less work for me to bring out the emotion of the shoot on set. 

What kind of prep went into the project? 

First and foremost, the most important aspect when planning a shoot it is having good models. They will make or break your vision.  The second most important is makeup. I only want the best in makeup, someone that understands proper blending and clean lines.  Kate Giddings is a long-time friend who is so talented in the art of makeup.  You can see in the images that she perfectly executed my vision.  It starts with me sending her proper inspiration, I usually have a hidden Pinterest page that I share with that particular person, and we add and remove pins to find a cohesive vision for our collaboration. Third, the wardrobe is very important. Wardrobe for this Angelus Vitae collection was all found and purchased by me. I buy all sorts of things from classic dresses to outlandish accessories, from various retail stores.  As you can see, I love accessorizing in my collections.  I like to have weirdness while remaining sexy and cool.

How did you get started in this type of work?  

I always enjoyed being on set with other photographers and I loved the process of transforming models. After prepping a model, once the vision is aligned and you’re about to step that model onto set, the process begins as the photographer starts shooting and the model comes to life and the whole emotion on set changes. The model becomes the queen and demands the room. The photographer is orchestrating the relationship by every snap of the camera and the lights begin to flash, everyone on set becomes mesmerized as the model dances working her movements and poses.  It’s a very magical event to be a part of. 

Do you have a technique for creating the picture-perfect finish on film? 

I photograph and do all my editing and post-production.  I’m not controlling in my personal life but when it comes to creating, I most definitely am. I start with a clean base – if the model shows up with last nights shampooed and slept on style I will rewash and blow to my desired look before I start the styling process.  I believe if we don’t start with the best, in the beginning, it won’t be perfect when it’s done.  Start with high expectations. When it comes to brushing out the style after properly blowdrying it, your result will be on another level.  This also relieves me from having to do any unnecessary editing in the postproduction since we started out with nearly perfect photo finish look.  All I have to do in postproduction is clean up any skin flaws, and if the photo requires a little graphic design I will add that in like I did in this collection.  You can see I added a blurred light in the background that gives the illusion to angel wings. 

What was your biggest takeaway from this project? 

My biggest takeaway was that no matter what your budget, model selection, or team members on set, you are only as good as the energy you bring to the set.  If someone or something is not working, rest or take a little breather before addressing the issue.  Come back reenergized and focused to get the team moving in the right direction.  Fortunately we only had a couple of minor issues, but we quickly found solutions and in the end, it made the team stronger. 


Hair/Photography/Post - Jake Thompson @jakethompsonhair

Makeup - Kate Giddings @kategiddings

Assistants - Anna Neilson @anna.thehairstylist, Jordan Duckworth @ballerina_ducky

Models - Erin Johnston, Cherish Clague, Logan Cooper, Caitlin Droubay, Alexis Fotheringham, Jenna DelloRusso,