This is our third Friday Feature, where we give one AUB student a feature article, and we interview them to find out a little more about them and their work.

This week’s Friday Feature is with 2nd Year BA (Hons) Commercial Photography Johnny Fonseca.

His latest project ‘Grace’ is about going against a ‘monster’ persona and choosing to be graceful but the downside to that is when you act with grace people will take you for a mug anyway, so you end up having to fight for the most basic of human privileges. In this project he produced stills and a short video (which you can watch above) to tell that narrative.

Johnny Fonseca - Grace

How did you go about sourcing a team for your project?

“Well Initially I was only going to shoot a fashion editorial for GRACE however when my good friend Jacob Banks heard about my idea for the shoot he explained how he felt it would work perfectly in a music video context and that if I was interested in doing something together. Directing has always been a goal that I wanted to venture into and being at University I felt there was nothing holding me back. I then set out to form an AUB team to create this production. I already had a few people on board for my fashion editorial being the MUAH Lizzie Checkley and Graphic Design Izzi Hays so I just expanded. I then began sourcing people who I have worked with previously so I contacted Kostadin Stoimenov to work on the camera and cinematography alongside Han Phan, Noah Aldhous was also brought in by Han. With the set design I also previously worked with Lania Karim on my photoshoots and I knew how fast and efficient she could create these set designs in her mind and then get them down in real life with a little to no budget, she brought Amanda Achungo so ease the workload and together they formed the set. Mark Harris has been recommended to me by multiple students about his astounding work on Sound, after explaining the project he was more than happy to join the team. We had a little illustration cameo of a certain aesthetic which Lania and Amanda were after, Raman Aso’s work was exactly in line of the vision we had. Lastly Rebekah Igor heard about the project when it was still in the fashion editorial stages so she was even more persuaded to join in after I explained we were shooting a fashion editorial as well as a music video.”

Johnny Fonseca - Grace

Was this film created for university or was it a personal project?

“Both, Initially I was only shooting a fashion editorial however the opportunity presented itself so I had to work fast in terms of if I wanted to grab it or just leave it. I had round about two weeks to form a team, plan, and shoot a music video and fashion editorial. Saying that I knew the opportunity was exactly what I needed to void into the directing angle so I had to take it and find a way to bring it in to the work.”

Johnny Fonseca - Grace

How do you balance both Work and University?

“Bringing it in to my university practise, even if it’s sketchbook work a shoot is a shoot and something I am doing to practise. When I was doing my sketchbook I had test shoots from models I had worked with which didn’t necessary link to the project itself but it does to the practise. However, I recently did have a commission during my final 2nd year hand in and that was stressful, I rarely try and drop a good opportunity and I will do as much as I can to do it (It meant I couldn’t go out for a bit and sit in my room and listen to my house pre-drink.) However, in the end after I handed in a few days early and finishing the commission I felt such a relieve as I not only did my hand-in but also completed a commission as well as forming more connections in the industry. But going back to the question I guess I make the time, if it means staying up a bit later or going to uni for a bit longer I will do it. I am also a big fan of to do lists – even putting stuff like ‘Do Laundry’ and crossing that off is the best feeling, try it.”

Johnny Fonseca - Grace

Do you think collaboration is an important part of creativity if so why?

“100% I have formed some of the best connections in AUB who I continue to work alongside whether it’s test shoots with agencies or even commissions that I am able to get people involved. I haven’t had a project where I haven’t collaborated with at least one person. I have noticed the more time I am at AUB the more I broaden my collaborations across other courses and not just the conventional Make-Up and Fashion. In general collaborating is the pinnacle of Arts University in my point and AUB is the best place to do it.”

What was the hardest & easiest part of this collaboration?

“Sometimes selling your ideas can be hard as you have this huge vision in your head but it’s hard to channel it to a team – this will improve the more you collaborate. I do sometimes find that the hardest part of collaborating is that sometimes you might not get on and that’s ok, personalities and styles can clash and it might never be more than a one-time thing but It will be a learning curve.”

Johnny Fonseca - Grace

The team for making ‘Grace’:

Starring: Jacob Banks & Aimee Charlesworth
Director: Johnny Fonseca
Director of Photography: Koko Stoimenov
Camera Assistant: Han Phan
Production Design: Lania Karim & Amanda Achungo
Sound Design: Mark Harris
Gaffer: Noah Aldhous
Make-Up & Hair: Lizzie Checkley
Styling: Rebekha Igor
Illustrations: Raman Aso
Graphics: Izzi Hays

More of Johnny’s work check out: