” In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, Oh there’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York. These streets will make you feel brand new. Big lights will inspire you, let’s hear it for New York…”-Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys
I’ve been to New York City four times already and there is always something new and exciting to see and explore. I chose the lyrics from Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind song, as cliché as it may sound, because it really embodies what I experience whenever I’m in NYC. I really get so much inspiration whenever I go there. Walking around the streets and absorbing all the culture around me gives me a new perspective on how I see things. This always translates into inspiring me as a photographer.
In my recent trip last May. I made it a point to make a personal project, which, I believe every photographer needs to do periodically in order to sharpen one’s creative mind. I wanted to do a Bridal Fashion Shoot in NYC. The challenge was two primary things – People and Location. I wanted to work with models who are building their portfolio. Also, I was looking for a location that was not over used.
NYC will never run out of models since its one of the fashion capitals in the world but where do I find them? Model Mayhem is a great resource for creative collaboration. It’s like a Facebook for creatives such photographers, models, stylists and make-up artist. You just sign up and begin connecting. A word of caution, moderators also do a background check and review one’s portfolio. We want to keep the site a place for professionals and avoid posers who just want to hook up.
Eventually, I was able to build the team after I made an announcement at Model Mayhem that I was looking to collaborate for a Bridal fashion shoot. It was an international team – A Russian, Canadian, New Yorker and Filipino worked on this shoot. Our first task was to meet and do a pre-production meeting and discuss what we will be doing during shoot day like the theme, clothes to wear and location. We met at the scenic Union Square ( a must-see area in NYC) where I also took a few snaps to study their face and body features.
Before I go on with the actual shoot. Here’s the folks that made this possible:
Svetlana Danilina – She’s from Moscow, Russia and pursuing a modelling career in NYC. She kind of resembles the actress Milla Jovovich, think Resident Evil movies. And when I told her about it, she told me she gets that a lot from people. For more of her portfolio visit her model mayhem site
Alex Nazar – He’s from Quebec, Canada pursuing an acting and modeling career in NYC.
Reneé Strong – She’s a hair and make-up artist based in Brooklyn. We owe a lot to her since she offered to do the hair and make-up of Svet and Alex at her salon. Most importantly, she also had a few bridal gowns she invested in for her bridal make-up portfolio. It would not have been a bridal shoot without a wedding gown right? Here’s more of her work – facesbyredience.com
Since Reneé’s salon was in Brooklyn. We decided to look for a location that was close by and she recommended Prospect park. When you think of NYC, one would always think about Central Park. However, there are so many parks that one can explore around the city and Prospect park offered a change of common scenery. I think my post is also timely since Brooklyn is also experiencing a revival of sorts since they also now have the Brooklyn Nets with their new home at the Barclays arena. So there’s a lot of buzz and excitement in the area.
It’s really a dream of mine to put together this fashion shoot in one of my favorite cities in the world. Enjoy the images!
Thank you again Alex, Svetlana and Reneé for this cool collaboration! It was an honor working with you guys. If anyone would like to work on a fashion, beauty or editorial project. I’d like to make this also an open invitation with all you creatives out there. Let’s do something edgy and creative! Just email me or give a comment on this post on how I can contact you.
By the way watch out for the next blog post. I’m not yet done with Svetlana and Alex. I also had to help them update their model folios so watch out for that!