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
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
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.
I was first introduced to Gemma Redux and the line's fantastic designer, Rachel Dooley, back in early 2011 when I covered the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) presentation during Fall 2011 New York Fashion Week for modacycle.com. I was captivated by the strength of the collection as well as Rachel's overwhelming enthusiasm and talent. A couple months later we worked together on a Designer Dossier project for the same publication. Following that project we lost touch briefly, each focusing on our respective careers.
So a year goes by, and there I was admiring her work from a far, always encouraging stylists to pull from her, when I got a call about collaborating on a small lookbook. I of course jumped at the chance to work with her again. Here are some highlights from our second project together, her Spring 2013 collection that is now live on her website.
Photographer: Adrianna Favero
Hair and Makeup: Tiffany Leigh Patton
Model: September Raines (Red Model Management)