Jonathan Knowles is renowned for his dynamic photographic style and impressive technical knowledge. Rather than relying on post production, the majority of Jonathan’s explosions are done ‘for real’. From exploding flowers to fruit, Jonathan has selected his top 5 explosive photoshoots and shared the methods behind the madness…

 

 

Applemans Cider Heineken Advertising Photography Jonathan Knowles Explosive Photoshoot

5. Appleman’s Cider

  • Hasselblad H6D-100c
  • Lens HC 50 (50mm)
  • f/20, ISO 64, 1.6 sec

The concept for this shoot was to visually represent the refreshing taste of Appleman’s Cider by capturing a burst of apple juice in a natural environment.

To achieve this, we filled balloons with water and used an air rifle to shoot the balloons.

We used three Broncolor lights positioned around the suspended balloon and the sound of the air rifle triggered the flashes during the exposure of 1.6 seconds.

We shot roughly 40 balloons during the day and the final composition was made up of just 2 images.

The creative director (Ray Swan at ROTHCO) and I were really pleased with the authenticity of the final execution. This was all made possible by the genuine explosion of liquid!

 

007 For Women Eau de Parfum Exploding Red Rose Explosive Top 5 Explosive Photoshoots

4. 007 Fragrance

  • Hasselblad H4D-60
  • Lens HC 120 (120mm)
  • f/22, ISO 50, 1/750 sec

In collaboration with Grey London, our aim for this shoot was to represent the intensity of the fragrance.

For this, we commissioned a special effects team who are qualified to deal with high explosives. They created bespoke rigs that could be attached to each flower and timed the explosions to a millionth of a second.

During the day, we exploded 20 flowers and the final flower compositions eventually had minimal retouching.

Overall, a really beautiful shoot!

 

Jonathan Knowles Advertising Environment Ocean Risk Summit Exploding Balloon Water Splash Planet Earth Top 5 Explosive Photoshoots

3. Ocean Risk Summit

  • Hasselblad H6D-100c
  • Lens HC 50 (50mm)
  • f/18, ISO 100, 1.6 sec

This shoot took a similar approach to the Appleman’s Cider project. Atomic London created a brilliant concept that focussed on the burst and liquid splashes of the exploding planet Earth.

So, we filled blue balloons with water and used the air rifle to shoot straight through each balloon, causing the explosion and water splashes.

The main challenge on this shoot was that we needed the spherical shape of the planet Earth to stay in tact. To achieve this, we shot from below so that we could work with the force of gravity to capture the balloon whilst it remained a fully round object.

 

graff diamonds luxury jewellery paint explosion colourful

2. Graff Diamonds

  • Hasselblad H4D-60
  • Lens HC 150 (150mm)
  • f/19, ISO 50, 1/750 sec

Brave New World commissioned us to shoot a stunning colour explosion editorial for Graff Diamonds.

We arranged for the special effects crew to assist with exploding a vibrant range of colourful powders that would feature proudly in the background of the classic jewellery shot.

The crew created a rig which they attached balls of condensed coloured powder to. Timed to a millionth of a second, the crew activated the high explosive to explode each ball of powder.

We always have to work very accurately with the special effects crew to ensure we capture the explosion at a very precise moment. This means numerous takes until we get it right…

On this day, we exploded around 30 in total and the whole studio had to be protected with plastic because of the mess created.

Click here to see our Behind The Scenes film of the Graff Diamonds shoot

 

Advertising Campaign for Dole Exploding Pineapple

1. Dole

  • Hasselblad H6D-100c
  • Lens HC 150 (150mm)
  • f/20, ISO 100, 1/750 sec

This is my favourite of our top 5 explosive photoshoots.

Similar to the exploding powders and flowers shoots, we worked with the special effects crew to explode whole fruits for Dole’s frozen fruit range.

101 London were looking for authenticity, so the genuine explosion route was undeniably the best option for achieving this. The challenge here was to capture the fruits at the precise moment where they had started to break up, but were still very much recognisable as the fruits that they are.

Got an explosive idea? Contact us today to see if we can make it happen…

 

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