Tag Archives: portrait

Studied.

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I was watching the U.S. Presidential debate live last night, in bed with a glass of red wine, around 4am French time. As I listened to Hillary Clinton speak (looking chic as F in Ralph Lauren, IMO) I was so impressed with how knowledgable and studied she is. Dedicating your life to anything, especially in her case of public service for 30 years, is a huge statement to passion, purpose and incredible knowledge on the subject. I was contemplating how that related to my own purpose.

Change makers start by first learning, then with doing. The power is in knowledge. The expertise is in experience. That’s what I took away. If you have been following my Snapchat this week I have been sharing what I’ve learned about photography. Quick little daily tutorials on knowledge I’ve gained either in the class room or from experience in my breathe thus far as a photographer which is and will be my life’s work.

On Photography

My journey started when I was 13. My mom handed me her 1970s Pentax 35mm film camera. The kind that is so basic and manual all you can do set the shutter and aperture. A far cry from the endless options and controls we now have with digital.

My first lessons in photography started with basic balancing of the camera’s built in light meter and a LOT of trial and error. I learned quickly that I like to overexpose my images by a stop, especially when shooting faces. I learned how slow I can set the shutter before the image begins to reveal the shake from my hand, or breathing. I learned how to communicate movement, not just freeze it. This is knowledge I still use today when I want the image to feel alive. From there I read books, I took every class I could for the next 10 or so years. Post college, I still study. I watch youtube videos, I take classes in alternative photography, I buy random cameras and learn how to shoot with them. I play, experiment, challenge myself and discuss daily.

The Continued Study

I’ve studied photography. I loved photography. I still love the history of photography, btw THIS is the best podcast on the subject. We are now all photographers. We all take pictures, communicate through imagery and share with the world. For those of you who want to make it a profession… take a lead from what inspired me about Hillary. Be studied, do the work. Take your time on the journey. Here I am 20 years later and I am still doing just that. She makes me excited for who I will become as an artist (and business woman) in the later years of my life.

Please, this is not a political post but one about being inspired about another human’s knowledge and commitment to what they belive in, if you belive in it with them or not… #ImWithHer

Above self portrait, in Baukjen dress & wrap coat,

inspired from the painting “San Gerolamo” by Caravaggio

 

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My Day in Provence

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So, as you know, I’ve been spending a great deal of my time in a tiny town in the south of France. Nothing about my life is the same as it was. Life in New York has me up at sunrise working, emailing, off to the gym, running errands, doing photoshoots, taking meetings, then social engagements until I finished the day around 10pm with dinner and way too much to drink. Not so anymore…

My day starts at 8am when I naturally wake up. I don’t set alarm clocks. Not a lot happens around here until 11. So, relieved that it’s still early, I go back to sleep until noon. I know, outrageous, but I typically work late here – until about 3am when there are no distractions and America is awake and buzzing.

I go to the café and have my daily cafe créme, something I NEVER would have done in New York. Not taken the time, not taken the milk. Since I don’t have cell service here, a blessing AND a curse, and wifi hasn’t hit this town yet, I listen to podcasts I have stored like Claire & Erica’s “A Few Things“. Today’s episode was especially inspiringI buy my baguette, whatever is left of the varieties they sell, since it’s pretty picked over by the time I roll in. Sometimes they come out with a fresh hot batch midday which is really a shining moment for me, when she hands me the loaf and it’s still warm. That’s when I stand outside and munch.

I come home to my little 17th century apartment. The light is perfect this time of day. I have so many options from direct light to filtered window light, reflected light, and softly diffused. I thumb through inspiration images and I shoot from 2pm to 5pm, mostly on black and white film. Still lives, flowers, self portraits, life.

I clean up, I make dinner, I build a fire. I edit digital stories for social media, I edit client work. I do more research on upcoming commercial projects, and look for inspiration for personal ones.

Living here, that small town life, was super scary at first. I cried every day for a month. There were so many challenges at first. How do I get a taxi cab? Why won’t UPS deliver my boxes? How do I tell the butcher I would like a small steak? Where does one buy scotch tape… and why do I have a washing machine but no dryer?

It took a while to actually reset. To want to shoot. I was so burned out.

I also needed to break out of the hard shell I had built for myself. To find inspiration in creating, not being overly stimulated by a mountain of activity. I have discovered, most importantly, that being here limits what I can do. There is not a lot going on, I don’t have a car (yet). I don’t speak French and everything is basically closed 99% of the time. However, it is in those limitations that I am finding freedom to do so much more. Fewer distractions, more time to create. And that is what it’s really all about.–

Above self portrait, in Misha Nonoo jumpsuit,

inspired from the painting “The Red Beret”

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Men In This Town

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This past year my friend Giuseppe Santamaria not only published a new book but started a print magazine, MITT, which is a quarterly digest on the “Men In This Town”. I love that living and working in New York introduces you to an array of amazingly ambitious and talented people and I was beyond thrilled when Giuseppe emailed me to ask if I would be a contributor to their 2nd issue. One problem, I told Giuseppe: I had to be honest, I’ve never done a men’s fashion editorial, and I actually know nothing about the men’s fashion world other than the fact that John Jannuzzi works at GQ and I love the way men look in suits.

One of the characteristics that I possess that has really changed my life is my natural ability to say yes to anything I find a challenge. I love climbing the mountain and slaying the dragon, killing the fear of unknown, so I got to work. I emailed John, I think the subject line was something to the effect of “HALP”. John put me in touch with the amazing stylists at Carson Street Clothiers in Soho, James Ralston & Justin Doss, and I asked Porsche Cooper, hair & makeup artist for one of my favorite shoots of all times, to also jump off the cliff with me. It’s really a wonderful thing to ask people for help, being vulnerable is important, and having the end result a collaboration of parts you couldn’t have found success without. 

Then we had to find our model.

Here is where fate played a role. Enter: Eduardo Ramos. A charming Cuban American, model, writer, and actor. His presence on set was magnetic and we were all totally sucked into his latin world. He shared with us stories of visiting his family in Cuba, the way it really is there and not the touristic description of the vintage cars and cigars, but the day to day way of life living in a communist country.  It was fascinating and changed the entire photoshoot on the spot. I had him speak Spanish to the crew while I photographed him, and we looked for ways to shoot beyond the clothing, into the person before us.

I talked to Giuseppe afterwards and said, “You have to interview this guy for the magazine, his story is so interesting and relevant to what’s happening in culture” which is exactly what Giuseppe did and you can read all about it in the article “¿QUE ES CUBA?” in the June issue of MITT.

Below are some of my favorite photographs from our sitting-

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Above Suit by Eidos | Shirt by Umit Benan | Slippers by MELINDAGLOSS | Panama Hat by Carson Street X Cappellificio Biellese

Below Grey Donegal Suit by Camoshita United Arrows | Polo by Camoshita | Shoes by Lemaine

MITT_Eduardo_Ramos_04 MITT_Eduardo_Ramos_05 (more…)

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Men in This Town

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I met Giuseppe Santamaria, a men’s street style photographer, back in 2011 covering NYFW together. Since I’ve watched Giuseppe’s career and photography really grow into something very special in the men’s style realm. So special, in fact, that a book of his photographs was published this September called “Men in This Town“.  Giuseppe’s approach to photography, men’s fashion, and street style is quite romantic and not at all trendy or concerned with the “who’s who”. He really shoots from his heart. We sat down at our studio last week to catch up and ask him all about his first book~

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Above, a portrait of the photographer photographed on 4×5 black & white film

How did Men in this Town begin?

It started with a tweet. I had photographed my friend’s cookbook cover, and then I started following his publisher on Twitter. One day he said, “Done for 2013 books. Onto next year. Any ideas?” I jokingly tweeted back, “How about a Men in This Town book?” And a year later, it came out.

When did you first start photographing?

By trade I’m a graphic designer. I’ve been working with photos and amazing photographers my entire career. That’s where my eye was trained – not conventionally at all.

How did you learn photography?

(more…)



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