A collaboration with designer Ken Kumagai, who was graduating from fashion school at the time, and model Philipp Oberthaler. He was nominated for the Austrian Fashion Awards 14, for which the submission of editorial-ready photography was a requisite. The collection was shown on the runway during Vienna Fashion Week.

Seeing coverage of events such as Pitti Uomo originally sparked my interest in picking up the craft, so I was eager to jump at the opportunity to work with a future industry professional. We only had the clothes themselves to use and next to no budget. First was drafting a storyline.

Finding a model and location that suited the theme was a challenge, considering baseball is not wide-spread in Austria at all. Eventually, we decided on making the training grounds of the city’s biggest club, the Vienna Wanderers, the place of the shoot. Its unique elements added to the mood, including the dug-out, bases, and light fixtures.

The collection was centred around the idea of youthful quirkiness and an appreciation for the prevalence of sports influencing people’s personal style. In Japan, baseball is as celebrated as it is in the United States. It tells of Spring season tournaments and unhindered ambition.

Shot using a 50mm prime lens on a MFT system to amply let the background speak, I lit the model artificially using a single mounted umbrella to help with the overcast weather and provide some separation.

While Philipp’s features were more suited to a gritty aesthetic, contrasting the lighter impression of the clothes itself turned into a point of interest. Post-processing was mostly tailored to the model, keeping retouching and grading to a minimum, even shifting many shots to the monochrome spectrum.

To meet submission standards, as it was supposed to act as a teaser for the runway show, we curated a number of full-colour shots that Ken was happy with and sent them on their way. This presentation comprises my own selection.

I am thankful to have received the chance to get involved with this project, and have learnt a lot from working together with such a promising creative. Although the Austrian fashion prize went to another rising designer, Ken later was fortunate enough to join the staff of a world-renown cult label, soon after returning to his homeland.


Kenneth Itamah