This was a personal project that came about through my friend Kat's involvement with The 501st Legion, defined on their website as "a Star Wars fan club dedicated to celebrating the Star Wars universe through costuming; specifically the costumes and characters of the Stormtrooper and other Imperial forces, as well as non-affiliated villains and denizens. The Legion is an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity within which to operate. The Legion seeks to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work."
Quite different from cosplay, one of the things that really defines the 501st is the sheer quality of their costumes, they are all at least as goods as, if not actually better than, costumes from the actual films themselves.
So I shot two types of images, ones in full costume looking as filmic and iconic as possible, and also a series of shots of the people behind the masks, 'lids off', showing the individuals whose passion and enthusiasm brings these characters to life.
I have seen quite a few shoots of Stormtroopers in ordinary situations, ie. in a cafe or at a bus stop, and didn't want to go down that route. I wanted to honour these guys' eye for detail and dedication to the Star Wars universe by keeping them in that world, and decided that one of the most iconic environments from the original films was the interior of the Death star.
Building a full size replica Death Star set was not possible, so i studied images of the original set and persuaded a graphic designer friend to recreate some wall panels for me in Adobe Illustrator, with various panel shapes and the iconic lozenge shaped wall lights, just as simple, flat shapes.
With a bit of bevelling and terxturing work in photoshop I could turn these into a nice 3D environment to place my characters into, recognisable as an Imperial setting but not so extravagant that it would detract from the people themselves.