Editorial

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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Visionary Women for Downtown Magazine

Downtown Magazine, as the name suggests, is a fashion and lifestyle magazine focusing on downtown Manhattan. For the Holiday 2014 issue the editors wanted to highlight female visionaries of downtown Manhattan.  I was thrilled to be involved with this project and was lucky enough to photograph four of these impressive ladies. InsightsDowntownHoliday2014

The first was Faith Hope Consolo, the reputed commercial real estate queen of NYC. Faith works with retail brands and helps them rent and transform retail spaces into retail destinations. From international brands to New York luxury brands (think Yves Saint Laurent, Manolo Blank, and Cartier), she has helped her clients create their brand's physical manifestation. We photographed her at Bond No9's NOHO flagship store.  Faith has been friends with the fragrance company's creator and mastermind, Laurice Rahme, for years and helped her to secure the space for the Bond Street location as well as the High Line boutique. Two of the brand's fragrances are actually named after her, Faith and Hope respectively. I was tagged for this project less than 24 hours before the shoot and wasn't entirely sure what I was walking into, but when Faith appeared I knew we were in for something special. I didn't expect to have much time to photograph her, but after promising not to make her stand our in the heat we started swapping stories and jokes, although she really had us all in stitches with her unbelievably hilarious, horrible date stories.  But all kidding aside this woman is a powerhouse.  She is the Chairman of Douglas Elliman's Retail Leasing and Sales Division and was one of the first women (definitely one of the most successful) to succeed in the male-dominated world of commercial real estate.  Now at the top of her game she has founded New York Commercial Real Estate Women to empower women in the field through mentoring and apprenticeship opportunities.  This is a woman who knows herself and her abilities and trusts her instincts.  If this was a taste of what the rest of the sessions would be like, I couldn't wait for the next shoot.  There were so many great shots from this session that I had to include a few extras.

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Photographing Sallie Krawcheck was probably the fastest of the portrait sessions owing to some very hectic schedules and shooting around unruly crowds of tourists on Wall Street.   Since I wasn't present for the interview I struck up a conversation to lighten the mood and get to know a bit about the woman behind the figure, and started with a pretty basic question, what do you do?  Sallie gave me the best answer I've heard recently, "whatever I want."  A 20-year veteran of Wall Street working for Meryl Lynch, Bank of America,  and CFO of CitiGroup, she has essentially retired from corporate finance to begin several projects as a consultant, focusing her time and energies to the projects and causes that she is passionate about, which is currently working to help empower and unite professional women around the world.  Her current major project is as chair of the Ellevate Network.  Ellevate is a global community of women at all levels of business that strives to empower its members through offering networking and educational opportunities as well as invest in companies that a focused in gender equality in business.  As she eloquently puts it, investing in women is just smart business.

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Dr. Laura Forese, the current President of the New York Presbyterian Healthcare System.  She began her medical career as a orothopedic surgeon before making the move to hospital administration including the position of COO of New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital.  She was kind enough to take us on a small tour of her hospital and talk a little about how she got into medicine in the first place.   According to her the thing she loved about orthopedic was that you could make an immediate effect on someone's life.  Throughout her career she has distinguished herself both as a doctor and an administrator, working to bring both preventative medicine and acute care resources to new members of the New York Presbyterian/ Weil Cornell healthcare system. 20140825_Downtown_Visionaries_EdieLutnick-8174 20140825_Downtown_Visionaries_EdieLutnick-8151

Edie Lutnick was our final participant.  Hers was probably the most moving of all the sessions I photographed.  At one point in her life she was a name partner and labor lawyer working out of an office on the 101st floor of World Trade Tower One.  On September 11th she lost her brother and 657 friends and colleagues at Cantor Fitzgerald.  Three days later she stepped away from her practice to work with her brother the CEO and Chairman of Cantor Fitzgerald to found the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund.  At first it was a way to help the 658 families of the deceased employees and has since grown to a completely not for profit charity focused on addressing the "short and long-term needs of victims of terrorism, natural disasters, and emergencies."  She freely admits that as much as they have been able to give to others she is equally thankful for the opportunity to help and to turn her overwhelming grief into something positive and constructive that can help others through their own personal tragedies.  The Relief Fund is different from many other charities by giving direct financial assistance to those in need because as she puts it, only you know what's best for your family.  Thirteen years later the Fund is still growing to take on new causes and challenges and is currently partnering with 200+ charities to help those in need around the world.

On a personal note this series of projects deeply resonated with me.  Since arriving in New York I have devoted the majority of my time to fashion work rather than portraiture, and so to have the magazine's publisher, Grace Capobianco, call me and tell me that she thought that I would be the perfect person for this project was a huge compliment.  However, beyond professional pride this project held a much more personal significance.  The "lean in" concept may be one that only recently pierced the wider public consciousness, but growing up it wasn't a concept, it was just what you did.  You work hard and you excel.  You follow your passion to your purpose and you do your best.  Growing up I was surrounded by an army of strong, talented, driven, uncompromising, and incredibly encouraging women.  I was raised that I could do whatever I wanted as long as I was willing to work for it.  They told me stories about starting out is the 70's when there were relatively few women in the corporate workforce and about the lack of female role models. That generation of women are now positioned to be our role models, they have a wealth of knowledge and inspiration to give.  Moving to New York, starting my own business and getting a look at the "real world" (or at least my version of it) was a profound education, and more and more I find myself thinking about my mother and her friends who encouraged and supported me.  There are moments when I think that we've come so far, and moments when I think  of how much farther we have to go.  Then over the course of a month I worked with these incredible women.  They have excelled through their talent, intelligence, creativity, persistence, and resilience.  And now they are all focused on encouraging others to follow them and excel.