Tag Archives: studio

Afternoon in the Garden

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On photo shoot sets I prefer for the music to reflect the mood, theme, and emotion of the story being played out. Like a stage being set, all the players move in and out, their energy wrapping around the room, building until that last instant when all becomes quiet and focused and the moment is eternalized through the eye of the lens.

Post-shoot, I edit to the same soundtrack. The notes bringing to life the images again in that living, breathing, creative world we spend our lives trying to capture. Take a walk with me hand in hand with our imaginations, into Renoir’s garden, the inspiration behind our recent collaboration with Cartier, through the beauty of sound and power of dreams.

Étourdissant Cartier Collection earrings, 18k yellow gold, imperial topazes, colored sapphires, black lacquer, diamonds along with an Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, 18k yellow gold, onyx, diamondsand nude silk chiffon gown by vintage Alexander McQueen from Cloak Wardrobe.

Cartier Étourdissant collection shot at Jack Studios in New York City || Modeled by Emma Bartlett || Styled by Krisana Sotelo || Floral Set Design by Putnam & Putnam || Prop Stylist by Zio & Sons || Makeup by Christine Cherbonnier || Hair by Michael Thomas Lollo || Nails by Angel Williams

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Cartier’s Garden

 

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I try to spend my life photographing beauty. It is what brings me the greatest joy and to that which I want cast my gaze upon for eternity. Of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in the world, nothing will ever outshine what nature gives to us. How she makes woman with delicate skin and blushing cheeks, the colors of an exploding flower at the height of its bloom and that exceptional gift of gemstones and diamonds like stars that have fallen from the heavens to earth.

Recently we had lunch with Cartier at The Modern where we were first introduced to to their Étourdissant collection, a beautiful french word for “splendid”. The high jewelry collection is Cartier’s showcase of the most extraordinary, one of a kind pieces that can take the Maison years to create with the finest precious stones in the word. A collection so spectacular it is dizzying, like life itself if we watch with our eyes wide open. As we talked about the collection I was enchanted with the source of inspiration: the south of France, the Côte d’Azur, light and shadows, radiance and hues and the painters from France that created such vibrant works of beauty as a window into a world of natural wonders.

This thought of natural beauty stuck to me and I let images flood my mind and take me into an afternoon reverie. I became engrossed with the idea of creating Renoir’s garden.  A place of dappled color, untamed beauty, a young girl with iridescent paper-like skin dreaming of all to come in life lost in her thoughts as she whiles away the afternoon. She is innate beauty nestled in a bouquet of nature’s glorious shimmering colors. We watch her, with all the luxury of time, her jewels that seem to float off her delicate skin and glitter in the warm, late afternoon light. She lives in a world of splendor changed only be the gentle breeze that sweeps through kissing her cheeks and carrying her thoughts away.

The house of Cartier has reminded me that we must celebrate beauty, treasure color, create contrasts and seek character for it is the explosion of these things that make the world étourdissant.

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Étourdissant Cartier Collection earrings, platinum, diamonds & pink chiffon gown with flower aplique by Marchesa

Renoir_Garden_Cartier_02 “Art is about emotion; if art needs to be explained it is no longer art.”– Pierre-Auguste Renoir Renoir_Garden_Cartier_03

Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, platinum, sapphires, diamonds & a light blue chiffon and sheer lace gown by Maria Lucia Hohan.

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“You come to nature with all your theories, and she knocks them all flat.”- Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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Étourdissant Cartier Collection ring, 18k yellow gold, opal, colored sapphires, black lacquer, diamonds with vintage Gucci grey silk chiffon gown from Cloak Wardrobe under a rainbow pastel chiffon skirt by Marchesa. Renoir_Garden_Cartier_06

Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, platinum, 18k yellow gold, 55.91 carat peridot, onyx, diamonds with emerald green silk chiffon gown by Naeem Khan.

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“The work of art must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself and carry you away. It is the means by which the artist conveys his passion. It is the current which he puts forth which sweeps you along in his passion.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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Étourdissant Cartier Collection ring, 18k white gold, pink diamonds, brown diamonds, white diamonds in a vintage baby pink silk gown by John Galliano from Cloak Wardrobe.

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“I look at a nude. There are myriads of tiny tints. I must find the ones that will make the flesh on my canvas live and quiver.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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Étourdissant Cartier Collection earrings, 18k yellow gold, imperial topazes, colored sapphires, black lacquer, diamonds along with an Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, 18k yellow gold, onyx, diamonds and nude silk chiffon gown by vintage Alexander McQueen from Cloak Wardrobe.

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“I like a painting which makes me want to stroll in it.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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Étourdissant Cartier Collection necklace, platinum, diamonds and pink silk chiffon gown by YSL from Cloak Wardrobe

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“Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, platinum, sapphires, diamonds & a light blue chiffon and sheer lace gown by Maria Lucia Hohan.

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“The pain passes, but the beauty remains.” 
– Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Cartier Étourdissant collection shot at Jack Studios in New York City || Modeled by Emma Bartlett || Styled by Krisana Sotelo || Floral Set Design by Putnam & Putnam || Prop Stylist by Zio & Sons || Makeup by Christine Cherbonnier || Hair by Michael Thomas Lollo || Nails by Angel Williams

Some of the Pierre-Auguste Renoir paintings that inspired this story:

Femme avec parasol dans un jardin || Girl with Daises || The Bathers || La Promenade || The Lovers || Dance at Bougival || By the Seashore || Nude 1910 || In the Garden || Young Girl Bathing || Reclining Nude || In the Meadow || Young Woman Seated || The fisherman

&

Renoir the Film

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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

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The Female Nude

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I am a woman. I am aware of my body like any normal human being. It’s not a surprise, just look at the images served up to us. Everyone is beautiful, happy, young, thin… they have the perfect (insert your own personal thoughts here) stomach, eye brows, waist, legs, hips- sometimes it feels like an impossible treadmill of perfect we will never really achieve because of genetics, because we have real life and real work and can’t spend the amount of time it takes to achieve “perfection”.

But really, what is perfect?

I’ve always be interested in shooting nudes. I started in college. The body is one of the most beautiful, natural things about life. The way it changes, the way it gives life, the way each is our own and that is what makes us special. I wouldn’t take my grandmother’s wrinkles away, or Dad’s loving soft hugs, or seeing my sister-in-law’s body change carrying the amazing twins my family adores. I would not say that I have had body issues all my life, but as I’ve gotten older I had to learn to look in the mirror and teach myself to stop judging the way I look compared to other people.

As a photographer I look for what is photogenic from people to places to the design of a still life. I’m not going to lie, I love tall beautiful thin fashion models. They are like illustrations of illusions of an idea of who we think we are or could be. Fantasy is part of the fun, photographing that fantasy is one of the things that I love most.

However…

There is a place for curves too. Curves are incredible. When our model Jourdan walked in I was honestly first taken back by her personality. Her confidence. Confidence is the one of the greatest quality anyone can possess. She was cool, smart, comfortable in her own skin. She was one of the least self-deprecating models I’ve ever worked with. When we started making photographs a lot changed for me. Not only as a photographer but as a woman. Maybe even more importantly as a woman. Here was a human, not afraid to let me photograph her with nothing to hide behind, no character to portray, no fantasy story to tell, it was just her. In the moment. In the light. Just the way she is.

After this shoot I had a mix of emotions. Her body, so beautiful, so photographic in its shapes and contours was in one word: inspiring. She made me realize that the female form in any shape and size is incredible. To have curves, softness, confidence was true beauty. She represented to me what being a woman was all about. I understood why Renior and Matisse painted the way they did and I saw that beauty too. I was so proud to be a woman and in my personal life, more confident about the size of my chest and softness around my stomach. If wrinkles show the hand of time and the life that was lived, curves show the fertility of it and the raw attraction of humanity.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that women come in many fascinating forms and, at this sitting, I saw beauty in a way that should be more often seen.

Here’s to the beautiful form we call being a WOMAN.

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