Model: Divani IG: @theedivani 

Hair: Ashley @alstyling

I’ve been doing model tests at my studio every Monday for the past couple of months.  It’s a creative endeavor with no real endgame.  Usually, I don’t know how I’m going to shoot the model(s) until I get to the studio and meet her in person.  I’ve been experimenting with light, props, wardrobe, posing and anything I can else that comes to mind at that moment.  Sometimes I shoot with a full team -hair, makeup, styling and nail tech.  Other times it’s just me and the model.  It’s about being creative. It’s not about seeing how many people I can bring into my studio for a shoot.

I created a hashtag on Instagram where all these images are grouped. It’s #ModelTestMonday. I’m curious to see how many different shots I can create over the course of the next 6 months or so.

LOS SCANDALOS

I’m back from LA -one of my favorite places.  Actually I’m back from both San Diego and LA.  I went to SD to photograph a great artist named Michael “Monstro” Amorillo.  He’s currently working on a children’s book about a sea monster who can’t swim.  I’ll post some images of Michael in a future post.

Los Angeles was the main destination.  And the main reason for the trip was to train BJJ at 10th Planet.  The vibe there is so cool, and the head instructor, Eddie Bravo, is the closest thing to a rock star that you’ll find on a jiu jitsu mat.  I always feel like I’m home when I’m training there.  I put my daughter into classes at the Gracie Academy in Torrance.  The quality of instruction there is second to none and she really feels comfortable there. I  wish we had a kids jiu jitsu program of that quality here in NYC.  I might just have to start my own…

We also made a stop at the Leica gallery.  Nots sure why.  I own 2 of their bodies and several lenses. Not much left for me to buy from them at this point.  But there is that Monochrom -an $8,000 camera that shoots black and white only.  My wife was looking at an exhibit of black and white portraits shot with shallow depth of field.  She asked why I never shot her that way.  I told her, I don’t own a Monochrom and maybe she should get me one 😉

Knowing that wasn’t likely to happen, I asked to borrow the camera from the gallery for a few minutes.  I created the B&W shots you see here a few minutes later.  

Beauty Test Shoot with Ella and Kylie

Model: @kyealexis | Model: @banella | Fashion Stylist: @desyreenicole | Nails @tiana_hardy | Makeup: @beautyqueensandco | Hair: @alstyling

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.

So many great little moments happening all around you on the subway.  You just have to be focused on finding them.

The art of being invisible to you subjects.  I’ve gotten pretty good at it over the years.  Although I must confess, it would be easier if I were using an iPhone. Shooting with a manual focus Leica isn’t the most discreet approach one might take to shoot strangers.

More from the streets and subways of New York.

Visited the African Burial Ground National Monument with my wife and daughter for the first time a few days ago.  I really respect the people who protested against the city just building over the burial ground when it was first discovered years ago.  Often it seems easy to dismiss anyone who is outside holding a sign and screaming, but sometimes when you look into it you realize that protest is a vital force in keeping cities, governments and people on the right path.