As the head of Passarella Death Squad, Danny Broddle has given the world a series of youthful, club-friendly T-shirts with images of nude or scantily clad models in compromising poses, printed on luxurious Japanese fabrics. Broddle also records dance tracks with Emilie Albisser and Kingsley Gratrick under the moniker Passarella Death Squad.Broddle’s Pop Shots layout focused on his appreciation for fashion and his penchant for leggy, doe-eyed models, not to mention the leather, lace, and latex that were part of the elaborate wardrobe worn by Maria, Vika, and Anita.
Did this process feel different than the shoots you’ve produced for the more traditional fashion books?
The stakes are always high when you create a photo shoot, but as I was going out to a new audience that perhaps doesn’t know what Passarella is about, I really wanted to impress. In that respect, the stakes were higher.
Were you dealing with any unexpected nerves, or was it business as usual?
It wasn’t straightforward. It took months of planning. I wanted to create the best work I could.
Your initial pitch was to use London as a backdrop in the images. Why the sudden change?
The London idea was a great starting point. Passarella is based in London; Penthouse was launched in London. But over time a new, more challenging idea began to form, and I just went with it.
Tell me about your goal. How were you trying to communicate your vision of beauty and sexuality?
My creative vision was all about how “we” visualize and represent sexuality … and how that form is now primarily portrayed via the internet. The aim was to incorporate those elements into the shoot, to take beautiful women and the chaotic nature of the information we are fed in our daily lives and create a representation of that.
I’m not exactly sure where you’re going with this.
My understanding of beauty exists between two forms, the real and the unreal. Although I am consciously aware that digital beauty is a fabrication—it’s a manipulation of a human form in order to create something “better” or more perfect than it already is. There are many occasions where the digital beauty we’re presented with is more alluring than reality, and I find that an interesting reflection of where we are as a society now.
So is your ideal woman a digital fabrication of beauty?
Visually it’s Ursa in Superman 2, played by the British actress Sarah Douglas: independent, assertive, and strong, but delicate and dramatic. She is a challenge and a reward.
Was there a narrative to your shoot, or were you more focused on producing individual images?
It was really a mixture of the two, but I was focused more on the individual imagery. You can find a narrative in there, but I like the viewer bringing their own narrative to the pictures. That’s the nature of the internet. There isn’t one clear narrative. It’s a rabbit hole, and many pathways can be taken.
How do you approach conveying a vision that abstract?
The theme comes first. I know what I wanted to set out for. From there, I started to plan the setting, models, clothing, and so on.
Do you think the pictures do it justice?
The girls themselves in reality are very beautiful, but they’re just one part in the whole connection of the shoot and my idea of exploring beauty as a digitally enhanced vision. Part real, part fabrication. The shoot achieves this.
What were you looking for when you cast Vika, Maria, and Anita as models?
A cross of innocence, delicacy, and sexuality. There was something unconventional about all of them.
All three girls definitely have some–thing alluring but slightly unconventional about them. Maria is very innocent looking, youthful and almost doll-like in her appearance. There was something sexy about her, but there was also something innocent and pure. Vika was more the ideal female, more “real” as opposed to the unreality of Maria. Anita was a little more of a vixen, a woman at ease with her body and her sexuality.
Was there a standout feature that attracted you to each of them?
The eyes. Eyes are very important; they say a lot. They have an obvious power and allure that captures the strongest of people—the strength to sedate, numb, enliven, and destruct. I wanted to keep the models quite innocent in the shoot. The clean background enabled me to have a texture I could manipulate and push in different directions.
They each have that classic fashion-model vibe. Was this by design?
It was, and it was mostly done because of the environment I ordinarily work in. It’s usually something that’s done almost subconsciously, but for this shoot I wanted to be very consciously aware of what type of model I was aiming to work with. Dark, wide eyes. Long legs.
Does this mean we should pay extra attention to the clothing they’re wearing?
Every aspect of the shoot matters. There aren’t really any things that are more important than the next. The clothes act as a palette, a texture, a layer.
But I imagine it’s really more about how you manipulated the images afterward.
The post work was very important. I wanted to create a world that isn’t necessarily real. It’s about a fantasy. It’s about creating something that isn’t the everyday reality. I took the conventional way of presenting the female form and fused it with more contemporary ideals. It’s about how we can turn something real into something more.
Did you discover anything new about your personal preferences while working on the shoot?
I always enjoy working with beautiful models. This shoot was no exception.
And are the photos an accurate reflection of your deep, dark, private thoughts?
I’m very happy with the shoot. I aimed to deliver a futuristic vision of fashion and beauty. To have an undeniable desire to touch, speak, and share everything with her. For her to push your sensitive buttons in places that make you move.
In hindsight, would you have done anything differently?
I’ve yet to work on any project where I didn’t wish at some point I’d done something differently, simply because you can always think of better, more efficient ways of working in hindsight. But all things considered, I’m thrilled with what we have created for you, and I hope your readers like our work.