We love being able to work creatively on portfolio pieces with photographers at the best of times, but when it leads to something more it’s even better. So we are especially happy about the fact that these dynamic images we worked on with photographer Neal Grundy and agency Contexta for Swiss shoe brand Vögele Shoes were born out of a collaborative test shoot between Neal and our retouch artist Vahakn Vorperian.

It all started with a portfolio piece that Neal and Vahakn worked on together – Neal was keen to do some test shots with a unique and intricate ink-in-water technique, and Vahakn was actively looking for an experimental project to get stuck into, so this was a match made in heaven. Together, Neal and Vahakn produced a stunning set of images, bursting with colour, which were featured in Sneakers Magazine


The series tickled the fancy of the Creative team at major Swiss advertising agency Contexta, who spotted the editorial in the magazine and thought it would be a perfect fit for an Advertising Launch campaign they were putting together for Vogele Shoes. So Neal and Vahakn teamed up once again to recreate the image style, this time promoting the Swiss brand’s new range of footwear.

Neal definitely recognised the benefits of working together in this way, commenting “Having worked with Vahakn so successfully previously, I was able to easily and confidently pitch for the advertising campaign.  I knew exactly what could be achieved and how long it would take to produce the work. Plus we were both familiar and confident with the process required to achieve the results.”

This is the sort of project Vahakn really likes to sink his teeth into – he explains, ‘‘Working collaboratively with a photographer on a personal project lends itself to being more creative than what is sometimes possible when dealing with a commercial brief. Neal’s idea was simple yet dynamic, and I loved the concept’.


The result is a bold, vibrant series of images with a beautiful depth of colour that really grabs the viewer’s attention.

Projects like this excite us, because it reminds us how important it is to keep up our tradition of working on personal projects. Vahakn agrees – “It’s vital for us – photographers, art directors and retouchers – as a creative community to work together on collaborative projects so that we can keep our creativity active and also form a robust creative team.”

You can check out more of Vahakn’s retouch work here!

Got a retouch project you’d like to team up on?

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Client: Vogele Shoes
: Vahakn Vorperian
Photographer: Neal Grundy