I met first met Marissa at Unique Photo where I was presenting a seminar on studio lighting. She was 17 at the time, but she did a great job posing in front of 20 or so photographers who were present. By the time we shot this spread a couple of months later, Marissa had tunred 18. I think my model release was the first one she ever signed for herself.
Why We Create: Carmen Lilly, fashion stylist. @stylecarmen
I met Carmen when I was the house photographer for BET’s 106 & Park. She was the stylist for Rocsi Diaz, who is now a host on Extra. I used to watch Carmen use her phone to photograph Rocsi’s look of the day during commercial breaks on set. It seemed to take her forever to get it done and the photographs weren’t very good. While the iPhone camera is indeed amazing in most situations, it failed at capturing the correct white balance in the mixed lighting setup at BET. So I offered to take the look of the day images for Carmen. I felt BET should have these images as part of their daily take anyway.
Carmen left BET about a year before I did, but we always stayed in touch. We’ve done a few shoots at my studio. You can find a goth shoot we did if you scroll to my previous posts from the past few months. Carmen is an amazing stylist with true vision. Like me, she lives in Brooklyn with her spouse. She has a daughter who is about 5 years younger than mine, and when I see her, it makes me miss the days when I could just pick up my daughter (literally) and carry her with me wherever I wanted to go. (These days it’s more like, “Do you want to come with me into the city?”)
This video is part of a series I’m doing called, “Why We Create”. I love the combination of stills and video but it takes forever to shoot the content and even longer to do the edit on the computer. The images of Carmen and her daughter run for maybe 10 seconds in the video, but they took me hours to shoot. But I’m choosing to make this video series. Can’t really complain about the workload 😉
My favorite city. I shot these images of Kimera Morrell on a rooftop in downtown Los Angeles. She’s an ex New Jersey resident whom I’ve shot several times in my studio.
We didn’t have permission to be here and our shoot took about 4 hours. During that period, not one person came up to use the roof nor did anyone come up to tell us to leave. Things would be different in NYC. Any location with cool backgrounds and great lighting would have dozens of photographers setting up camp daily.
All images were shot on the Leica M9 and Leica M240 cameras. The M9 is such a great camera, that it is still the first camera I reach for when the light is good. Using it is much like using the M240, even though the M240 is a more advanced camera. I give Leica a lot of credit for creating a camera like the M9 that is still worthwhile even when its superior successor is released.
Beauty Test Shoot with Ella and Kylie
The model in the first 2 images, Ella, wasn’t originally part of this shoot. She was only there as a friend of the stylist. When one of the agency models cancelled at the last minute, I drafted her into the shoot. She had never done a shoot before and was understandably nervous. I explained to her that she needs to accept the fact that she belongs here in front of my camera. Often you see a model’s comp card and decide to book her. When she arrives, she’s not what you expected and you’re only shooting her out of obligation. If someone drafts you for a shoot right there on the spot and you aren’t even a model, then you have to appreciate the reality that you do indeed belong there and you’re not being photographed out of some sense of obligation.
The second model, Kylie is from Wilhelmina (Miami). As you can see from the final image, she’s packed and ready to go South.
I’ve been trying to add a manicurist to all my tests lately. Nails have become a big thing over the past couple of years. Also trying to experiment a bit more with color. For the past year or so, I’ve done most of my studio work on white seamless. Channeling my inner Avedon, I suppose… But lately I’ve been going back to a little color in my lighting. Still can’t seem to make myself pull out a roll of pink or red or blue seamless from the closet though.
The camera is expensive but the flare is free. #Leica, right out of the camera.
Please don’t feed the models.