Nicola Bernardi’s “What the Duck is Going on?!” Contrasts Rubber Ducks with the Ad Look

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All images by Nicola Bernardi. Used with permission.

Nicola Bernardi is a Melbourne based photographer recently featured on the site in our Creating the Photograph segment for an image from his “What the Duck is Going On” series. He began the series when working as an assistant for another photographer. “At the time, I was focused on that part of being a professional to the point I thought I has lost of bit of that humor and quirkiness that defines who I am as photographer.” says Mr. Bernardi. Understandably, one can become very caught up with improving oneself at certain stages in their career.

One day, Nicola got a hold of a photo of 14 foot tall inflatable ducks in the Hong Kong harbor. And from there, he spurred the idea to create images of bathtubs filled with ducks.

“I immediately thought that a bathtub filled with rubber ducks would have made a killer portrait and before I knew it, I had ordered 251 rubber ducks online.”

Nicola went about gathering some of the wackiest people that he knows–which included his roommate that always looks very serious, a cabaret artist, a drinking buddy, and a burlesque performer. He really wanted to put the viewers right there in the scene and so decided to shoot them all with a wide angle 20mm Nikkor lens. It allowed him to present the bathrooms as grand and larger than they really are. “Trust me, I was the overly big photographer shooting less than a meter away from the subject, crouching and taking the weirdest positions not to get my own limbs in the shot.” says Mr. Bernardi.

He wanted the images to look very advertisement-oriented, and by using a couple of speedlights he started building a very strong contrast with his subjects’ humorous nature. More of the images are after the jump.

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