nikki fontaine

Sidewalk for Hope Street Magazine

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.

Making of Sidewalk for Hope Street Magazine

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.

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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. 

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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.

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Melt Away with Me..Full Edit

In a previous post when I was telling the story of the making of this shoot I promised an extended edit beyond the published story that ran in The Dapifer.  And here they are now.  I hope you enjoy!

Photography: Adrianna Favero

Wardrobe Stylist: Alex Vinash

Makeup Artist/Hair Stylist: Jon Lieckfelt

Hair and Makeup Assistant: Nikki Fontaine

Model: Allie Silva (New York Models)

Making of Melt Away with me for Dapifer Magazine

Living in this city, and working in this industry, ideas for stories are all around me.  Many come and go, but some stick with me, and this one did for over a year.  Some stories get picked up immediately, but many (due to style, timing, or production issues) get shelved.  That was certainly the case for "Melt Away With Me," my recent editorial for The Dapifer Online, which is part of the reason I'm so excited to share the story of the shoot and the full edit with you here (full edit coming soon).  I love that something that has lived for so long in my mind eventually has a home in the world. 

 As I said I am often inspired by the world around me, and working in this city and this industry there is a definite disconnect with the fantasies that we create in fashion and the lives that we live working in fashion, especially at the beginning, before someone becomes that overnight success ten years in the making.   I wanted to tell the story of a girl who was fabulous and stylish, but didn't have the money yet to live the high life.  So instead of Bali or Ibiza she made her rooftop a staycation worthy destination.  

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At first I had no intention of working on this story this summer, it was one of the many editorial pitches that I'd try to pitch last summer and it just didn't resonate with editors and the timing was wrong.  But then I met Alex.  Alex Vinash is a fashion designer and stylist from Argentina currently living and working in NYC.  We'd connected over LinkedIn last fall, but never quite managed to connect, until he invited me to attend his fashion show at the beginning of the summer.  Our brief post-show chat turned into a coffee meeting in his studio, and there surrounded by his collections and twinkle lights we went ten rounds of editorial ideas back and forth.  I remember leaving the meeting overwhelmed with creative inspiration and excited for all the things we could create together.  

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This was the first story that found a home at a magazine and after a flurry of emails with Alex we had a location and a team, and coincidentally a stunning day for the shoot.  Alex reached out to Jon Lieckfelt to act as our key hair and makeup artist.  Alex had been following Jon's work for quite some time and when I asked about his recommendations for artists to round out our team, Jon was the first and only call.  Jon is a celebrity makeup artist and hair stylist with 25 years of experience in movies, TV, and editorial and commercial print work.  His approach to beauty is meticulous and the results seem effortless.  It was incredible watching him work and his interpretations of the overall creative direction.   Nikki Fontaine joined our team as Jon's assistant, and they are an impressive team.  Nikki is a talented hair and makeup artist in her own right (as you'll see in some upcoming posts)  

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The last piece of the puzzle was finding the right model.  And we found our muse in the form of Allie Silva, a Norwegian and African American model from Atlanta represented by New York Models.  I had seen her portfolio several times and was always fascinated by her look, but never had quite the right project for her, until this summer.  She was fantastic to work with, a trooper who was both flexible and patient and invested in working with us to get the right feel for the tory.  Here is a look behind the scenes at this wonderful shoot in the sun.

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