There is always some kind of curiosity about what your apartment neighbours are getting up to. Are they really playing skittles in their hallway at midnight and does the girl upstairs really wear 10-inch heeled wooden clogs as she dances across the bedroom at 3:47 am?
One creative media and photography duo took that curiosity a step further and created a huge Rear Window-esque set and composite large format image based on what goes on behind each of the windows of an apartment. The result is both clever and amusing and beautifully executed. DIYP caught up with Jada and David to discover how they made their “Human Storage Apartment”.
Jada and David Parrish are mixed media artists whose work explores the connection between painting, sculpture, motion, and photography. They use plywood and paint to construct sets that manipulate perspective and create optical illusions. The work they create immediately grabs the eye, with its vibrant colour palette and wry humour.
“We enjoy creating situations for our subjects that blur the line between reality and dreams,” says Jada. Equally, while their work has a slightly surreal element, it still highlights elements of the human experience. Thir work is both relatable and unforgettable.
They are also prolific. “We spent 2021 building 100 sets and doing 100 shoots on them,” Jada tells DIYP. “For set number 50, we really wanted to go big with it.”
Jada and David’s studio is next to a large apartment complex. One day they were staring out the window at it and started talking about how apartments are really just storage units for humans. “We ran with that concept and began to make up stories about all the different types of people that could be living inside the apartments,” Jada says. “We wanted to bring that concept to life through one of our sets.” To do this they decided to create mini-scenes inside each apartment window that would then be edited together to create the final image.
They started work and built a set to look like an apartment window. Jada and David then came up with 11 scenes to photograph in the window. They developed a storyline for each of the characters and styled the looks. The scenes in each apartment window loosely connect to each other. They painted the apartment a different color between shoots to emphasize the distinct personality of the characters in each apartment.
All 11 shoots were photographed using a Canon 5D Mark IV with Tokina 16-28mm lens over a two-day period. “Posing was crucial,” Jada says, “because we really wanted the characters in the scenes to be reacting to each other.” For lighting they used Paul c buff Digi bees, being careful to keep everything exactly the same for each shot. So a tripod and tethering were essential to the project.
After photographing all of the scenes, the pair built a fake door and photographed that. Then everything went into photoshop, and they started editing the shoots together to create the final image.
“Photoshopping the scenes together to create the final image was definitely the most challenging aspect,” says Jada. “First, we had to determine the layout because certain scenes needed to be next to each other. It took a lot of photoshop work to polish everything up and create one final image.”
But all of the attention to detail paid off. The final image is a beautifully put-together view of an apartment building. All of the occupants are up to various different things, from the slightly risqué to the everyday.
Jada and David have several exciting projects lined up for the future so we can expect to see more creative work to inspire us to dream big. They are currently working with fashion editorials and large brands, but also make sure that they find time to push their own creative boundaries and keep making personal work.