Laura Bailey, model, writer and contributing editor to British Vogue, has a great eye for pictures. She’s just spent two days with the new Hasselblad X1D on the Swedish island of Marstrand, hunting for exquisite detail.
Despite her hectic daily schedule, model and writer Laura Bailey still finds time to indulge in her love for imagery, and whenever she spots something that appeals to her visual instinct it’s natural for her to want to record it. “I take pictures all the time,” she says, “often quite lazily on my phone or even an old film compact camera.”
Given her considerable experience of life on both sides of the lens Hasselblad was intrigued to find out how Laura would cope with a model as revolutionary as the new X1D, which, along with being the world’s first digital, mirrorless medium format camera, also happens to be lightweight, flexible, capable of delivering stunning 50MP quality and is incredibly easy to use straight out of the box.
It’s the perfect camera to partner someone seeking an inspiring location to hunt down documentary-style pictures. The challenge to Laura was to spend twenty-four hours on the Swedish island of Marstrand (45km north of Gothenburg) to see what she would come back with.
“The idea of a trip to a strange place with a brand new and sophisticated camera was both daunting and thrilling at the same time,” says Laura. “And I can’t resist a dare, especially when it’s a creative dare, so I was delighted to be asked. I didn’t really travel with a plan because everything was new, so I had no choice but to explore and experiment and trust my instincts, just making it up as I went along.”
Following a speedy boat ride around the coast of the island to orientate herself, Laura and her X1D set off to explore. She was struck by the sense of peacefulness that she encountered, as well as the pastel palette and the quirky details and clues to daily life that flourish on Marstrand. “I came across pale thin lamps illuminating fading flowers behind windows,” says Laura.
“Empty chairs, abandoned ashtrays and shuttered egg-yolk yellow and brick red cottages beside the sea. The island felt a little like a film set, with most houses empty and just the ebb and flow of school trips arriving by ferry and a few tourists pottering around craft stores eating cinnamon buns.
“Normally I love to shoot portraits and movement, but in this place, I focused on the stillness I felt and witnessed. I drifted too far along the rocks, happily lost, before backtracking and zigzagging back and forth observing simply the change in the light and the kindness of strangers. I became a voyeur imagining the characters and stories past and present of a sleepy island in the Swedish sun.”
Throughout, the X1D was the perfect ally, always by her side, and it felt natural in her hands from the off, easy to come to terms with, quick to respond. “I loved shooting with it,” Laura confirms. “We quickly became friends, the X1D and I, thanks to the camera’s ease of navigation and its lightweight body. It was intuitive, responsive and stylish, and I felt free and safe to take risks and experiment, and the quality of the images was immediately apparent.
“I look forward to working more with the Hasselblad X1D both on home ground and international adventures. It inspired me to master the technical aspects while giving me encouragement to trust my eye on the run and to consider new artistic possibilities.”