If you bought my DVD, you would know that the relationship I have with Stylist Rodney Burns is beyond special. Rodney has surpassed most “industry working friendships” and become like a family member to me. Where my real family has failed me, my close friends have become like a surrogate family. Rodney is one of those people. He’s like a brother…I really cherish knowing him. All that love stuff aside, we also happen to work really, really well together and totally “get” each others aesthetic. So collaborating with him is pure bliss.
I arrived in LA last January really broken. For personal reasons I won’t go into, I needed to get the fuck out of NYC for a bit and be around my surrogate family. I needed to go home. The best way I know how to deal with emotional pain is to jump head first into work. So 12 hours off the plane I’m at Church Boutique and giving my friend Rodney a huge hug. I think it while I was hugging him that I spotted an original, turn of the century, authentic Opium bed. Okay. So my mind starts ticking: “must shoot this bed”. I have a casting at Photogenics a few days later to see who’s in town and it’s on this day I met Lucy McIntosh. She’s absolutely beautiful and I know I have to shoot her. I take her card and I go back to Rodney to show it to him and he starts showing me clothes and we start verbally hashing out a story board. I go back to my best friend’s house in Silverlake where I’m staying and put together an actual mood board. I have no magazine assignment for this story but I don’t care. I know it’ll get picked up by someone. I reach out to make up artist Camille Clark through Facebook. I tell her I’m in town and I have some shoots coming up and I’d love for her to be on them with me. I reach out to her agent to get her schedule. I actually booked this shoot around Camille’s schedule because I really wanted to work with Camille. I didn’t have a hair stylist on this shoot so I reached out to Timothy Priano. Randi Petersen did the hair. Beth Fricke, also with Artists by Timothy Priano, happened to be at Photogenics the day of my casting and was definitely amped to work with me again. So Beth came on as manicurist for the shoot. Any chance I can get to work with Beth, I take it. She’s hilarious and also an amazing manicurist.
My best friend, Sedi Pak, does the fabulous Fashion Backdrops which are mentioned on the DVD and in other posts. She made me a Gothic inspired wallpaper/stenciled backdrop especially for this shoot! We hung the backdrop behind the bed and lit the set with available light through the windows and doors, and one big ol’ flashlight. Yep, you read that right. Those big, ugly, canister type flashlights you can get at Home Depot, that was one of our main lighting sources. This shoot was the first one of a series of me going back to my original vision, the vision that had me inspired to shoot fashion in the first place. So this shoot is really special to me!
I used the Nikon D300 with a Nikon PC-E Micro Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D Manual Focus Lens. That enabled me to manipulate my focus. I shot at higher ISO’s because I wanted noise and also to allow for the available light. I also shot pretty wide because I wasn’t using very strong light, so my apertures were around f2.8.
I submitted this story to 1968 Magazine and they accepted it. I was pleasantly surprised by the title they chose, “Lucy of the Golden Dawn” as my library is full of Golden Dawn books and I did have an Occult idea in mind when I shot this story. I provided them with the clothing credits and the crew credits. Even though I didn’t have a magazine backing this story when I shot it, I knew I wanted to publish it eventually so I made sure that the clothing credits were were taken while I shot it. That’s important to remember when you’re shooting on spec or for submission. Always have your stylist keep careful record of the clothing and accessories used in each shot so you can give that to the magazine if your story is accepted. I’ve been asked a zillion times to write a blog post about how to submit. And I’m just not going to do it. You should all know that it just takes research. Find magazines that take submissions, read up on their guidelines and then submit. I’m willing to help out as much as I can but I’m not going to hold your hand throughout every step. There’s more glory in doing the hard work yourself and then reaping the rewards from that hard work. So go for it! I know you can do it!!
This shoot was the beginning of a new phase for me. Or the beginning of going back to my roots! It’s the first chapter to the new book that I’ve been working on this entire year. I’m very pleased 1968 Magazine picked the story up! And from seeing the other photographer’s they showcased, I’m in very good company!
On a different note, we had our NYC Workshop last weekend and it was a huge success! 15 people came together at Sun Studios to learn about lighting, retouching and the business of fashion photography. The group were an awesome bunch of people! We’re thinking of having another one very soon here in NYC so keep your eyes on the blog for the latest updates! xoxo