Yet Another One of Those "Nude Water Buffalo" Epic Fashion Shoot Videos

Certifiably insane UK shooter Drew Gardner, who has more imagination in his left pinky fingernail than I do in my whole body, released a full-length, behind-the-scenes DVD in the UK last month. Thanks to MPEX, it is now available as an import in the USA.

If you are one of those "dream big" type of photographers (or want to see just what it takes to make these kinds of shots) hit the jump for more info -- including a trailer.

Long story short, it is a soup-to-nuts look at two fairly complex shoots in his forest fashion/fantasy series. This is big-light stuff (Elinchrom Rangers) on medium format digital.

Here is a short promo clip:

The first of the two shoots on the video are the badger shot excerpted above. The second is a shoot with a model on a water buffalo that resulted in the stunning photo seen on the cover (NSFW-ish) of the DVD.

Nothing is held back. Prep, shooting, lighting, dealing with problems, post production -- it's all there.

FWIW, Drew was teaching a class on the "big idea" kind of shoot last week in Dubai, except for it was scheduled at the same time as a rare, driving rainstorm in the normally arid city.

That did not stop him dragging the 1200 WS (sponsor-owned) Profoto 7B's (along with his mortified class) out into the rain to shoot, either. They drew the short straw on the weather, and ended up airing a montage of rain shots that was the feel-good hit of the closing night slideshow.

Equal parts madness and brilliance -- just like Drew's video. It is available at The Flash Centre in the UK for £20.00, and at MPEX for $24.99, respectively.

NOTE: As mentioned above, the video a bit NSFW-ish with a decent amount of "side nakedness" in the second shoot -- and a few moments of "front nakedness," too. I checked very carefully because I am a thorough kind of guy. The cover photo gives you a good idea of the extent of most of it. And to be clear, Drew remains fully clothed throughout.


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Blogger Erez Avraham said...

great lighting but a stupid image, getting a nude girl on a water buffalo is great if you want to do something no one did before , but why?

April 09, 2009 11:02 PM  
Anonymous James said...

When I get reincarnated I want to be a water buffalo...

April 10, 2009 12:46 AM  
OpenID punongbisyonaryo said...

I liked the first shot with the badgers. It's funny but seriously thought out. I myself would like to become a photographer known for not holding back. 9 months ago, I started a photo project with my buddies. While not really "big", I really learned a lot from the experience with off-camera lighting and light modifiers (and you'll see it from the differences in the quality of the shots). Guys, if you could check it out the video at my site it would really make me happy.

April 10, 2009 1:22 AM  
Blogger C said...

Just: "Wow". Amazing work!

April 10, 2009 1:45 AM  
Blogger flowremix said...

that is awesome...where can i get that cool looking attachment/tripod with the laptop holder while shooting tethered on location. Thats my first time seeing that.

April 10, 2009 3:15 AM  
Blogger Eugene Khoo said...

Hmmm, I have 2nd thoughts about buying this. Opinions seem mixed.

April 10, 2009 3:45 AM  
Blogger Michael Zelbel said...

I wish one day I will be as creative as him. He has got wonderful ideas and great skills. I already ordered the DVD. Hope it arrives soon.

April 10, 2009 5:54 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

I've been following Drew's work for a couple of years now and bought the DVD. I have watched it and re-watched it. If you want to see what goes on at a real shoot, check it out. Inspiring and fun.

April 10, 2009 7:46 AM  
Blogger Justin Sutcliffe said...

Glad this disc has been reviewed on Strobist. As a World Press winning photojournalist I have to bow to the awesome techniques that are covered and how the nuts and bolts of a shoot get put together. I have learnt a great deal from Drew's lighting knowledge and the of course the regular fantastic advice from the strobist site.

It is not a photoshop DVD, more a real world guide and inspiration to tackle big projects.

Please keep up the great work.

April 10, 2009 8:11 AM  
Blogger lpem said...

I've already bought and viewed this DVD and all I can say is AWESOME! What I really got from the DVD is there's so much more to photography than F stops. Drew's adventures in the forest taught me that technical ability is only one aspect to great photography its also about imagination, personality, energy and determination and that's what sets people like Drew apart from the rest. If you're looking for adventure and inspiration and you're curious about what it really takes to pull off a big shoot you won't be disappointed. Enjoy the journey.

April 10, 2009 8:27 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Interesting shot, very creative... But it blows my mind that anyone would cough up the money for a naked woman on a water buffalo photo shoot. Dave, can you give us some wisdom on how people go from low paid gigs to crazy high dollar buffalo photography?

April 10, 2009 8:31 AM  
Anonymous Eric Baines said...


Stupid image? Seriously? I think it is friggin' awesome.

Please post links to your portfolio so we can all see what Drew should have shot instead, LOL.


April 10, 2009 9:07 AM  
Blogger cny said...


If you had taken but a few seconds before making your comment, you could have easily found @Erez's portfolio. And, whether you agree with his opinion or not, he is entitled to have one.

By the way, where is your portfolio? I'd like to see it to validate the worthiness of your opinion on Drew's work.

April 10, 2009 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Eric Baines said...


Fair enough. I guess I was mostly reacting to the arrogance of one photographer calling another's work 'stupid.' Maybe it is a genre thing. Maybe many fashion photographers would think Erez's wedding pictures were 'stupid.' But to blurt out such a meaningless and condescending characterization in a comment says more about the commenter than the other photographer's work.


April 10, 2009 11:38 AM  
Blogger Diego Lorenzo Jose said...

Fantastic looking stuff. Very fantasy-like.

I have a question about using that tripod setup with the laptop thing: Won't that be a real pain to adjust? What if I want to move it, adjust the height etc?

April 10, 2009 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Glib Ivashkevych said...

Europe and a buffalo?:) It's interesting and, actually, NOT stupid. And of course these images are not meaningless.

Thanks for review

April 10, 2009 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Badger? oops I thought was a SKUNK!
Great ideas--What would Lady Gidiva do if she lived in India? Hum...and the opening...looks more like a horror film than a fashion shoot--perhaps a job for CSI

April 10, 2009 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there: this is not really a comment for this section, just an interesting note on lighting, from the Seattle Craigslist site:
That's how they did it in the good old days.

April 10, 2009 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Sndr said...

Rent a badger?
Rent a skunk?
Rent a water buffalo?

April 11, 2009 3:38 AM  
Blogger Shadi Eideh / شادي عيدة said...

I've done his Dubai workshop recently. The guy is as crazy as it gets and as creative as it gets. Yes you need to know the technical stuff and know it by heart in order to shift to over-drive and start getting water buffaloes and nude women in single thoughts. To me the Hobby/Gardner knowledge combo is the best a photographer can absorb to ...well..become a photographer.

April 11, 2009 8:06 AM  
Blogger Robert said...


I have a similar setup, but I use a Manfrotto 183 instead of the Gitzo platform because it is less expensive and sturdier.

April 11, 2009 2:27 PM  
Blogger mattfogarty said...

I'm not sure it is so earth shattering that the water buffalo is nude...isn't that generally the state they find themselves in?

April 11, 2009 3:39 PM  
Blogger Michael Gratton said...

Nice lighting and coloring and all, but the concept seems a bit absurd. Naked girl on a water buffalo - not for me. . .

April 11, 2009 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Graham McBride said...

He comes up with some really simple yet great ideas... Looking forward to his DVD

April 11, 2009 10:58 PM  
Blogger TomC said...

> By the way, where is your portfolio? I'd
> like to see it to validate the worthiness
> of your opinion on Drew's work.

Eric didn't put anyone down. Erez called the photo with the water buffalo stupid. If someone wants to rag on a photo, asking them if they can do better is fair game in my opinion.

For what it's worth, I am very impressed with that dude and his water buffalo picture. Amazing light and a very original idea.

April 12, 2009 1:16 PM  
Anonymous gamini said...

Technically great and clever. Lots of high tech equipment. Is this art ? Not really.

April 12, 2009 10:44 PM  
Anonymous Sean Tobin said...

At what point as a photographer do you wake up and say, "I get it. I need 7 assistants, 4 hasselblads, a water buffalo, and I finally have a use for this badger."? I'd love to be there someday.

April 13, 2009 3:54 AM  
Anonymous Smithy from Oz said...

Nice looking image but completely pointless. Plus he photoshoped the buffalos handler out of the final pic. I imagine there is a pile more photoshoping in there as well.
Not my taste but then again after 28 years as a pro photographer in the media world most of the work that people idolize I view as the Emperors new clothes..Everyone thinks it's good just because it was shot by someone who they have been told is the next big thing. Not many people see that the Emperor is naked. If anyone violently disagrees I'm happy to provide a link to my folio just to show I know a thing or two about this photographic caper.

April 13, 2009 6:16 AM  
Blogger RyanM said...

I'd like to answer the first comment on this post by Erez

"Because he can" !

April 14, 2009 5:54 AM  
Blogger Jack Myers said...

I agree with the others, it's a great DVD with nice production values. If you've done some studio work, then you can really appreciate taking that whole set up into the woodlands. Drew makes it look way, way too easy, the mark of a true pro I suppose. It's a great DVD for the less experienced, as it sets a great standard to live up to, and for the semi-pro or pro it's just inspirational (and enviable :) ) The price is right, and delivery was fast. Well worth the money.

April 14, 2009 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was very disappointed at the short length of the "film". I was especially disappointed with the Water Buffalo chapters. He spent almost no time at all talking about the lighting and the thought process he went through to set everything up and work out the shot. And then he followed that up with a rather terse run-through of the post-processing. It lacked meat and it only served up french fries.

The Badger chapter was better, but not worth $30. Certainly someone can come up with a better value...

April 18, 2009 1:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I bought the video and I am not impressed. The whole 72 minutes boils down to one line:

"Set up your lights one by one, to see what overall effect they have on the final image, before taking it."

There, just saved you £20+

Dave UK

April 20, 2009 8:31 AM  

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