April is here and even though here in New York it really doesn't feel like spring, swim collections have launched, and I'm happy to say that Ive worked on a couple of them. Here are some of my favorite images from my shoot for Penbrook Swim with Cat Darling of Major Models and Ananda Khan of Big Leo Productions. I hope you enjoy.Read More
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.
Looking back October really was the month of bridal extravaganza with Ivy and Aster. Starting with New York Bridal Week, the bridal lookbook shoot and presentation, (and editing, retouching, and deliveries) and finally the bridesmaids collection. So it only made sense that we get the team - Ananda Khan of Big Leo and Bloom Brides and Ren Kelly of APM Models - back together for this last project.
Working with one team (with hardly any crew changes) on multiple back to back projects is always an interesting experience. Most of the time the I will work with the same group of hair and makeup artists and stylists, but the models change almost every shoot, so you are forging a (potentially very intimate) working relationship with a total stranger in minutes that can last only hours. Having the time to develop familiarity over multiple days of shooting is a rare treat and always makes the shoots much more comfortable and feel less like work.
I hope you enjoy this peek behind the scenes and scroll down to see some of my favorite images from this shoot.
Mia Tucker Williams is a talented stylist who I've been working with for years, so when one Friday evening she called me in a mild panic because they somehow lost their photographer for a portrait shoot with Chantelle Fraser the next morning, it didn't take much convincing to get me on board. Chantelle's publicist had reached out to Mia about an ongoing collaboration in the Spring and when they were contacted by Panache Magazine in Jamaica about running a feature on Chantelle, she called Mia, who then called me (the production phone tree at work). Chantelle Fraser is the CEO of Flawless NYC, a vegan beauty and lifestyle blogger, and one of the stars of Bravo's hit reality show, Blood, Sweat, and Heels. I didn't really have anything else going on so it seemed like a nice way to spend a Saturday morning in June.
We met at Chantelle's house the next day and shot the story in her backyard. Working with Chantelle was a very lovely experience. The London native and CEO was a gracious host and willing model (as was Milkshake, her west highland terrier). Here are some of my favorite images from the shoot, and don't forget to check out the article in Panache Magazine.
Earlier this year I collaborated with the team at Downtown Magazine to produce and photograph a number of projects for the Spring/5th Anniversary Issue. The first of those projects was the Beauty Spread.
Ananda Khan is definitely a name you've heard before if you've checked out any of the other stories on this blog. Ananda and I have been working together on shoots for the last two years on both commercial and editorial projects. Her work has always been impeccable and I knew that she was the right person to bring onto this project. I wanted to make something beautiful and worthy of the publication and as this was the first beauty story I'd shot in years I wanted to make sure it would be a success. I think she did a pretty fantastic job. One of the surprises from this shoot was the level of detail that absorbed us during the shoot. On a fashion shoot the beauty evolves with the story and while it is an integral component it is not the only one, and there is considerably more movement to contend with in the maintenance of a look throughout the day. However on a beauty shoot the devil really is in the beauty details, the range of subtle adjustments and alterations that comprise changing a look have a magic of their own and Ananda was not only patient with me through this discovery, but she was also indulgent of my directing when we'd pause while she was adjusting the hair because she'd built something potentially unintentional and simultaneously breathtaking.
Dawn Nicole was a suggestion from the publisher. Dawn had collaborated with Downtown Magazine in the past and Grace Capobianco trusted her to deliver high quality work and fit in with the rest of our team. After several phone calls, text messages, and pinterest mood boards I understood all the hype, since she's the real deal. Dawn has an incredible eye for detail and the kind of personality that allowed her to fit seamlessly in with Ananda and myself (who at this point have a kind of telepathic shorthand, with lots of facial expressions that ranges from the comical to the intimidating). She is very open as an artist and a person, willing and eager to contribute new ideas and expanding on concepts in ways that I wouldn't necessarily have considered based on her individual wealth of techical knowledge and differing creative inspiration. She was also willing to work organically experimenting with color and opacity within the theme, and by the end of the shoot the three of us were shooting and spinning off so many different ideas that the model had to remind us that she had a schedule to keep even though we were all getting trigger happy.
Speaking of our model, for this project we were lucky enough to book the stunning Vero Ulianova from Q Models. In the week or so before this shoot I was pouring over model books comparing the girls and searching for someone who I could imagine working for this project. This city is full of incredibly beautiful professional models (in addition of course to regular women who do not spend their life in front of a camera lens), and the decision to work with one person over another often comes down to logistics and personality. However I think that one of the biggest qualifiers for me is if I can believe that the woman looking back at me from the portfolio, which is in itself a collection of her pretending to be any number of vastly different characters with the styling to match, could also be my next story's specific character. I kept coming back to Vero's book and was thrilled when I spoke with her agent and he said that she'd be available to join us.
On a rainy afternoon in February Vero showed up to my door. Did I mention that we shot this story in my deconstructed living room? First shock was that she was a redhead (the images from her book led me to believe she was a blonde with shorter hair). Second shock (and a great one) was that she just as stunning standing with no makeup in my badly lit hallway as she was in the beautifully styled and curated portfolio. This is not always the case, but that's a story for another day. Pleasant surprise: she wasn't overly surprised my the state of the apartment, the team, or the fact the styling tools and makeup were carefully organized (which looks to the uninitiated like strewn) across every flat surface in the room except where the french press was brewing, because well coffee. While Ananda and Dawn were getting to work and we were all chatting Vero showed herself to be an intelligent and well traveled woman with interesting insights into living abroad and the culture shock of this crazy city we all call home. On set she was responsive, unafraid to try new things and offering a range of subtle variety through each look to make sure that we were on track to have a full and well developed story, in short she was a joy to work with.
Here are some of my favorite images from our afternoon shooting together.