For those of you out there who love athleasure, and look for opportunities to live life in the most comfortable fabrics out there I recommend checking out Anje. Earlier this year Angela Brasington, the line's designer, and I connected and teamed up for a shoot showcasing some of the pieces from her newest Modal collection. So one, chilly morning in early February we met up with the stunning Kate Michael in SOHO for a quick shoot. Here are some of my favorite images from the project.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.
Its official, wedding season has officially begun for those of us with friends of marrying age, and while I'm no stranger to the years of multiple weddings where every vacation revolves around a different friend's nuptials, this year the term wedding season took on a very different meaning for me. This year wedding season started in March with the three-day shoot for the Justin AlexanderSignature collection at the Metropolitan building in Long Island City. The first day of the shoot was all about final scouting and pre for the subsequent few days and shooting the sales images for the collection that is currently gracing their website. While the next two days were dedicated to shooting sales and advertising images for Spring 2016 (this is code for I can't show you any of those images now, but hopefully soon...).
During the initial planning process I had the pleasure of meeting with the entire Justin Alexander team at their headquarters in New Jersey. Watching the team run through the line was a rare experience to get a feel for the identity of the line as described by the talented people who had created it. In between discussing plans and budgets Terri Hilferty, the line's creative director, was showing off the various intricacies and highlights of different pieces and anecdotes behind their creation (including a gown requiring 300 man hours of beading). The excitement and passion for their industry and their designs was evident and I was thrilled to be working with such focused and dedicated artists and professionals.
The Metropolitan Building began its life as an electrical factory in 1909. In 1980 the building was purchased by Elenor Ambos as a storage space for her furniture rental business, who subsequently transformed the space into an event and production venue. The building has been used for shoots in Vogue Italia, Elle Mexico, Bal Harbour, and Italian Vanity Fair, among others. We spent the three days shooting on their third floor, here's our little tour our sets...
Elena Miglino and Cristina Veneziale joined the team as the makeup artist and hair stylist respectively. Elena and Cristina had worked with the Justin Alexander team on several previous shoots for other collections and were by this point respected and valued members of the team, and for very good reason, their work is impeccable. It was helpful working with a creative team with such a strong grasp of the visual character and personality of both the client and the specific collection as they helped me as well to put the rest of the fantasy together. It should also be noted here that they are excellent on set DJs.
Keisha Lall of Elite Models was the face of this collection. Keisha hails from the UK and was in the middle of a weeks of traveling during this shoot. Keisha was fantastic to work with, in addition to being stunning and a talented model, Keisha is also a sweet, extremely intelligent woman with an incredible work ethic. Over the course of three long, freezing days on set I don't think she had a single negative thing to say the entire time. Here are a few of the behind the scenes shots from the shoot.
Stay tuned for highlights from the current collection.
One of the interesting things that I have found in my career is that it often takes one incredible project or client to open my eyes to a new/previously unexplored section of the fashion industry and in so doing opens my eyes and enchants me with new possibilities for creativity and storytelling. One such client is Ivy and Aster. If you take a look through my website or earlier posts you'll see that we've teamed up several times in the past several months to shoot her Fall 2015 runway show, her full 2015 lookbook and advertising campaign (which ran in Martha Stewart Weddings, Inside Weddings, Weddings Unveiled, and the Knot), and her bridesmaids 2015 collection. I've always been drawn to high fashion formal and evening wear since I first started experimenting with photography. And while Ivy and Aster is not the first bridal line I've ever worked for, Jessica Brown's belief that my visual aesthetic would match her brand and the collaboration that we developed over the course of each individual project allowed me to more fully explore different aspects of intimacy, femininity, and romance that I have always been drawn to in my work and real life.
I've mentioned before that one of the things that makes this line so special is that it is designed for a bride who is looking for something a little more personal than what many throughout the market are offering. This line speaks to the woman looking for a gown that satisifies her yearning for fantasy and wanderlust, to a woman who doesn't take herself too seriously, and Jessica Brown's collections never fail to deliver. From the delicate detailing to the beautiful production these gowns are fanciful and sexy, and most importantly transport the bride rather than overwhelm her.
For this new collection we decided to shoot in their booth at the New York Bridal Market, which was of course fully decorated with props, flowers, marquees, and vintage wallpaper. When you walk into their booth/on set, everything about the space supported the brand and the world that they had created for the buyers, editors, and for me to capture and share. I spent the afternoon of the last day of the show working with them and entertaining buyers and editors with the spectacle of the shoot. Ashley Vasicek joined us as the face (and very playful personality of the line) and was an absolute pleasure to work with. Here are some of my favorite images from the collection as well as from behind the scenes.
By now you've seen my posts about previous work with Jessica Brown's beautiful Ivy and Aster including their runway show during bridal market in September and their 2015 Bridal Lookbook and Campaign that I photographed in October and that was recently published in magazines across the country earlier this year. In November I had the pleasure of working with them again on their bridesmaid line. Earlier this week I shared with you a peek behind the scenes, now here is a little more... For this shoot we worked with Eli of Wilhelmina Models. We first had the pleasure of working with her during the runway show and Jessica knew she was the perfect person to be the face of this collection. In addition to the fantastic hair she was an absolute pleasure to work with. She was a total professional and aside from the joking and the dance parties behind the scenes (and eventually on set), as soon as she walked in front of the camera she was on, and it was impressive to see.
One of the big reasons that Eli was the perfect fit was that she is beautiful in a way that is not often seen in fashion. She is sexy and beautiful in a joyful kind of way. She exudes an infectious and genuine happiness that comes across in the images, and that is something that cannot be faked in photoshop.
From a personal standpoint I was excited to work with someone who didn't look like anyone else. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is one of the most diverse places that I have ever visited or lived. I was surrounded with different cultures and ethnicities and was captivated by the beauty and the intricacies of the variety. It wasn't until I moved away to college that I realized that the rest of the world is not blessed with that diversity or the opportunities that it brings. I was raised that there can be beauty in just about anything, and that often our differences are the things that are most captivating. There has been a lot of criticism of the fashion world and its startling lack of diversity. It's exciting to work with a client who embraces diversity for her collections, and by doing so and chooses the right girl, rather than just the accepted ethnicity. This reminds us that beauty has no defining ethnic characteristics and neither does her target market. Women from every walk of life get married, they all want to have their friends around them, and they all want to feel beautiful. Why should they feel excluded by the people offering to fill this need because of the color of their skin?