Monif C is not the first plus sized brand I've had the pleasure to work with; it's not the first plus swimwear line I've worked with. But what set this project apart for me personally was the was the palpable sexual energy. On the one hand this should have been pretty obvious, I was shooting swimwear; barring robes, what you see here is what our lovely models (and they are lovely, classy, hardworking women) ran around in for most of the day. On the other hand this shoot was a huge wake up call.Read More
By now the name Ananda Khan shouldn't be unusual to you (those of you who read this or look at the crew lines on most of my projects/instagram): Ananda is an incredibly talented hair and makeup artist currently represented by Big Leo and a long time member of my creative team. Over the past several years of working together we have become very close friends, and a huge part of our relationship is that she is one of my many feminist touchstones (even though that word makes her a little twitchy, we're still working on that). We've had many a conversation surrounding the themes of feminism and equality in media and how we approach those issues in our careers. She has told me several stories about feeling as though she was hired because the client had booked one or two black models to walk in a runway show, or how she was told at the beginning of her career not to put too many black girls in her book because it would make her look unprofessional when she was already going to be judged on her appearance.Read More
In a previous post where I shared the story behind the Sidewalk editorial for Hope Street Magazine, I talked a little about the new team members that I've started to work quite closely with, namely Jenny Haapala and the lovely ladies (and Derek) atMarilyn. You may have noticed how strongly I feel about the importance of having a strong and diverse team, and how much I believe in surrounding myself with talented and motivated artists who not only elevate my work through their respective expertise, but who also are always challenging me to achieve more and create stronger images and stories. So on the heels of one successful project I got the team back together for a denim and beauty test.Read More
Now that I've shared the experience of making Sidewalk, I have to take a minute to share part of the editing process. Retouching is a reality of all the work that I do, and most of the time it comes down to knowing when to stop. It's about knowing what to change to fix the clothes or imperfections in skin or hair without ruining the image by making the model something fake and plastic rather than a dynamic, living, breathing human being
Since the idea behind the shoot was to explore the 70's inspired designs, toning the images as though I was using vintage film was a part of my mind from the beginning: enter VSCO film packs. I have long been a huge fan of VSCO Cam. I was first introduced to the app a couple years ago and have never looked back. It had all the tones, life, and intricacies of film without the kitchie foolishness of other apps that only distracts from the images. And so, like I said, I was hooked. The more I used it, the more I loved it, and it swiftly became an integral part of my social media workflow. When I started to hear about the film packs for desktop I was intregued, but at that point I couldn't see how to include it in my work. As a fashion photographer, much of the work I was doing at the time was highly technical and was not the right venue for the film packs. But here seemed to be the perfect opportunity to see what these products could do and if they could be as strong an asset to my workflow as the mobile app has with social. In working wth the presets the most challenging part of the editing of this shoot turned out to be choosing which presets to use and how to manipulate them to bring out just the right mood (the selection is pretty impressive).
And so without further ado, here is the full story from Hope Street Magazine as well as some of my favorite images that I had to share with you as well.
Over this past summer I started pitching editorial ideas based on the trends shown at the fall shows (being relevant makes editors love you more), and one movement that caught my eye was the fashion world’s rediscovered love of all things 70’s from boho femininity to all the glamour of classic Halston (and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping anytime soon). As I was reviewing the collections, the imagery that was running through my mind wasn’t the gloss of modern editorials (not that I don't love it), but classic movie scenes and Diana Vreeland Vogue spreads, with all the glorious color and depth of classic films. So from the very beginning I started pitching the story of a girl exploring the West Village (which ended up being the meatpacking district) with the plan of trying to mimic the effects of those iconic films.
The first publication to get back to me was Hope Street. I initially discovered them via their instagram and the more research I did the more impressed I was with their print and digital platforms, the more motivated I was to work with them. So needless to say, receiving the email from their digital editor about their interest in the story absolutely made my day.
Acceptance letter in hand I went looking for a crew that would work for the story as well as push me as I photographer to deliver something a bit outside my comfort zone. The first call was for a wardrobe stylist, and after yet some more research, I reached out to Jenny Haapala. Jenny's work is strong, direct, and unapologetic, she creates bold memorable looks which made perfect sense once I met her in real life. The next challenge was finding the right model for the shoot, I reached out to agencies across the city and couldn't quite fine the right fit. So I called Marilyn for the first time and after a few lovely emails with different members of the New York team, I found Maud LeFort. Nikki Fontaine rounded out the team as our stellar hair and makeup artist. We worked together on a shoot for Dapifer Magazine earlier in the summer and I was thrilled to be able to add her to the team for this project.
The afternoon before the shoot Jenny invited me over to the studio to look though the wardrobe. She was concerned that the clothes that she was able to pull didn't exactly match the story that I had in my head. The clothes weren't quite as soft and classically romantic as we had originally planned. Instead she had pulled an incredible collection of styles that were stronger, more structured, almost like the cooler older sister of the character that I had initially imagined in my mind. So I left her studio and went for one last location scouting mission of the West Village and Meat Packing to plan out shots with the clothes fresh in my mind. This was the first time I've ever had this opportunity and it might be my new favorite way to work. It allowed me to work through my anxiety and story development in the comfort of my own head without detracting from the shoot day itself.
Early the next morning walking to set (and after grabbing a couple cases of water) my biggest worry was that the team might melt. We were shooting wool in 95 degree summer New York City humidity. Maud, if you're reading this, I'm still really sorry. Thank you for hanging in there. Continue to scroll through for a peek behind the scenes at this project.