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How Joe Giacomet created his version of Tretchikoff ‘s ‘Chinese Girl’

2/18/2017 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

Visions from the Mystic East (Croydon)

Photographer, Joe Giacomet has just created this stunning and entertaining series of images parodying Tretchikoff ‘s ‘Chinese Girl’

When COY! Communications needed an image to show off the talent of their resident make-up artist, Saskia Laroque Rothstein-Longaretti, the obvious solution was to enroll their very own ‘Chinese Girl’ (from Croydon) AKA graphic designer Miss Kate Henderson.

Inspired by the most popular portrait of the 60’s ‘Chinese Girl’ by Vladimir Tretchikoff her face was painted some dazzling shades of blue and green. To complete the picture Saskia hand painted Kate’s costume too. 

We started the process of creating this series of images by doing a makeup and hair test whilst doing another shoot. During some downtime we had Saskia (the makeup artist) and Kate (the model) try a few different techniques for the makeup. 

The next jobs were to get the costume and background made. In reference to Tretchikoff’s original painting, we wanted to use the same material for both. Top costume designer Emily Wilson sourced various fabrics for us to try and once a decision was made, half was sent to art department duo ‘The Joy of Sets’ who stretched it onto a frame to use as the background.

The next stage was for Saskia to painstakingly hand paint the design around the neck of the costume, since finding the original fabric was going to be an almost impossible task. 

The day of the shoot was a slow start… painting her face took AGES! Interestingly once the make up was complete, there was so much shading that it required very little lighting so I completely simplified it to a mostly top lit set up, with just a touch of key light from one direction and it looked great. We started by bouncing 2 lights into V flats to give the background a nice flat tone, this was bounced back in with a poly on the other side. I then added two lights bounced off the ceiling, which gave us a good general top light. I then added in a Chimera XS Soft box to use as a subtle key light, and finally a large soft box behind camera, quite far back, to take out just a touch of the darkness in the shadows from the top lights. I also added in two ½ stop nets, one above the back of Kate’s head to create a bit more shape to the hair. The other was just under the key light to take a bit off the costume, I felt didn’t need as much light as the face.

Once the prep was complete, we started with ‘East Croydon Girl’ which is the closest to the original Tretchikoff painting, and then moved on to the entertaining parody shots. You can see all the ideas in Mark’s sketches attached. We had great fun shooting these, ‘Rollers' being a particular favourite of mine. 

The last job was to shoot a sharp back plate of the background. I wanted the final shots to have a really crisp and sharp background, so you can really see the detail in the fabric.

Next the retouch… This was a long process however Oli Carver did an amazing job, particularly on the hair. The difficulty in the retouch was getting a totally consistent look across every image, all the tones and colours had to match, and the background had to be identical across each image. It took a while to get it right but was very much worth the effort. Finally ‘A Large Evil Corporation’ added the big CGi bubblegum bubble and the job was complete.

The key to this shoot was the planning. Really finessing the details in advance meant that everything went smoothly on the day, and we could concentrate on getting the job done rather spending time discussing the creative direction of it. It may sound like a quick process when its condensed into this short article but it was actually very time consuming - we shot this in July 2016 and it’s taken until February 2017 to get it finished!


East Croydon Girl
East Croydon Girl





Blue with a hint of Red

Short Arse
Short Arse


Photography: Joe Giacomet
Concept / Art Direction: Mark Denton Esq.
Make-up & Costume Painting: Saskia Laroque Rothstein-Longaretti
Hair: Anna Longaretti
Costume: Emily Wilson
Stylist:  Sabina Piccini
Retouch: Oli Carver
Art Department: The Joy of Sets
CGI Bubble: A Large Evil Corporation
Production: Juan Coello Hollebecq
Design Company: COY! Communications

Web Links & Social

Joe Giacomet´s web: | Instagram | Twitter

Saskia Laroque Rothstein-Longaretti´s web: | Instagram

Mark Denton´s web: | Instagram | Twitter

This article was originally published on and shared with permission. 

About Joe Giacomet:

Advertising & Portrait Photographer, all round creative. Like to shoot great ideas. Represented by F65. Living in Manchester, studio in London. For more info visit his website

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