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For me, the Upstate of South Carolina can be a magical place full of history and mystery. Never has that magic come to life as it did several months ago. I had taken my kids to Poinsett Bridge for a day of hiking and I spotted a group of men dressed in medieval costumes. They appeared to be acting out a scene from “Lord of the Rings”. I stood there for several minutes trying to figure out what this was all about, then I spotted the photographer.
My curiosity took over and I introduced myself. The group of costumed men were with the Fell and Fair Production Company based right here in the Upstate. They had commissioned New York photographer, Nicolas Bruno, to do a series of photo shoots for their company, and Mr. Bruno graciously agreed to answer my questions for this story.
Q: Were you familiar with the Upstate before your visit?
I am a resident of New York, so South Carolina has remained a mystery to me until the last few years. When I come to shoot for Fell & Fair, we normally stick around the Anderson area for photographs. We adventured out to the bridge this time after doing some research on areas that are historically fitting and on the way back from the airport. I was stunned by the ethereal vibe of Poinsett Bridge and its running waters. I fed off the positive energy while shooting our latest photo shoot. It’s certainly on the top of my to-do list to return here for art, exploration, and even unwinding next to the stream.
Q: How did Fell & Fair find you?
I have been building a presence on Instagram for the past few years through my fine art photography career, and occasionally I showcase my costuming work on the page. Fell & Fair had been taking off at the same time as my rise on social media, and we both noticed our costuming work and photographs being featured on similar pages and hashtags. Zan and I reached out to each other and spoke about everything that we hold dear, what our aspirations for creating are, and many other topics that formed our bond. Our online friendship was kindled, and after gathering many ideas for the future, he invited me and a bunch of other Fell & Fair members to our first annual Gathering where I met everyone for the first time. It’s been an inspiring road to creation ever since then.
Q: How many different locations did you visit for the photo shoot?
We are always seeking out timeless locations for the backdrops of our photographs. We will wander miles into the woods with pounds of armor and gear for the perfect shot. For this ranger photo shoot, we traveled up and down the Poinsett Bridge stream, weaving through the bridge and ending up at the lower basin below for the final shots before sundown. I had just arrived that afternoon from New York, so we did our best to get a many photographs as we could while we had light. We returned back to the studio in Anderson to plan for the rest of the shoots we had conceptualized for the week.
Q: Were you able to visit other locations in the Upstate not related to the photo shoot?
We had spent the remaining light hours making sure we captured as much as we could at Poinsett Bridge and unfortunately did not have time to explore other areas. For our Gathering in October, we hope to return to the UPstate and explore the many things it has to offer.
Q: Did other members of the public (besides my children and me) come across the photo shoot? What were their reactions?
There were many curious explorers that watched from within the trees with excitement and confusion. If I were not accustomed to seeing multiple armor-clad men in the woods, I’d be confused too. We always are invitational of onlookers to come interact with our productions and learn more about what we do. We may look terrifying in our garb, but we’re all nice people wishing to share the culture with whoever wishes to listen.
Q: How would you describe the genre of photography you specialize in?
My personal photography focuses on surreal self-portraiture that focuses on the translation of dream journal entries into works of art. I apply my techniques and aesthetic to the creation of Fell & Fair’s photographs, where I lend my dream like execution of artwork to their historical recreation and fantasy storytelling imagery.
Q: What other cities have you visited for work-related travel?
I am able to work remotely and locally for most of my clients, but recently I have been traveling more for shoots. Aside from Fell & Fair projects, I have traveled to Ohio, Italy, Maine, and other areas for photo projects. This October, I will be traveling to Syracuse, New York to shoot for Burgschneider, a partner of Fell & Fair and purveyor of historical Viking clothing, for a photo campaign focusing on a new collection of women’s Viking clothing.
Q: Final Thoughts?
You do not have to have the world’s most fancy camera or big budget production to have a spectacular outcome. At Fell & Fair, we work with what we can get our hands on, and if we can’t find what we need, we’ll make it ourselves. If ou have a few friends and a common goal, it’s amazing what you can make together with time and patience. I encourage those who are adventuring into the world of art and production to continue experimenting with anything they can get their hands on, whether it be a point-and-shoot camera, your smart phone camera, or even a film camera from the thrift store. Ask your brother or sister to be your model, or better yet, be your own model. Grab a needle and thread and see what you can make from some old clothes. You may surprise yourself with what you create.
So, this month, while you’re out hunting autumn leaves, keep an eye out for Nicolas and the crew from Fell & Fair Productions. They are all incredibly nice and the images are epic.
Nicolas, thank you for sharing with us!
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON NICOLAS BRUNO, AND TO VIEW HIS PORTFOLIO PLEASE VISIT HIS WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON FELL & FAIR PRODUCTIONS, PLEASE VISIT THEIR WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Heather Kitchen, Editor-In-Chief
Heather is the editor-in-chief of Upstate Exposures Magazine. She is also the owner of Heather Kitchen Images professional photography based in Inman, South Carolina.