Color and Shape

I kept it simple and fun for this shoot with model Rachel Luree: crisp shadows, complementary colors, playful poses.

Surrender

As of late, my need to explore studio lighting has waned. I still have the drive to create, but I find myself at a place where I am uncertain how to proceed. Light exploration no longer alone satiates my creative needs. There’s no more mystery in the discovery for me. It’s time to push my limits again. I need to get outside my head and my go-to techniques. But how does one simply pull themselves up by their artistic bootstraps? I need something to force my creative hand.

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Aimé Leon Dore SS19

I began shooting flat-lay product photography for the Queens-based menswear boutique Aimé Leon Dore, this past December. The brand is known for their impeccable taste and attention to detail (meaning I really had to nail it). It was largest and most technically challenging shoot I’ve undertaken. Though it’s not the most creative work I’ve produced, it pushed me further than I’ve ever been pushed, and I am super proud of what I (and my stylist and retoucher) pulled off.

Ghosted

Hey guys. This morning I woke up and deleted all my social media. My Instagram, Twitter, and personal Facebook accounts (I deleted my Facebook business page a year earlier), all gone. I ghosted from the party. As a small business, it’s a bold move (if not insane) to walk away from such successful pages (I had over 60,000 followers between the three platforms). But I had had enough, and here’s why.

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Images from GPP Photo Week 2019

This was my third time teaching at Gulf Photo Plus and my second Photo Week (since February 2018!). It’s always a whirlwind of a week, teaching five workshops in seven days, but super rewarding. Here are a few images that I took throughout the week. I can’t wait until next time.

Al Madam, Sharjah, UAE

On my last day in Dubai, I made a trip out to Al Madam, a ghost town that has long been overtaken by drifting sand. Though it is a local photographic cliché, it’s one that I was excited to experience. Instead of relying on strobes, which are my go-to, I decided to light everything with reflected sunlight from a piece of broken mirror that I found outside one of the homes (thanks to my assistant Seth for wielding the shard). It made the shoot feel more organic and immersive for me.

Abby

I have been teaching at Photo Week in Dubai all week. Yesterday I got a day off and attended a workshop led by Italian portrait photographer Paolo Verzone. It was not only great to see how someone else leads a workshop, I really enjoyed being a student again. Paolo knows his light. My largest takeaway was how he uses mirrors to reflect sunlight. He taught me that you can bounce sunlight a thousand feet and it’s still as bright as a strobe. He was bouncing sunlight through windows and lighting a subject inside a building, often diffusing the light with a crumpled trash bag (talk about Studio Anywhere). If he’s traveling to a shoot in another city, his first stop after leaving the airport is a grocery store to pick up a cheap mirror.

On my next day off from teaching, I went out to shoot with Abby (a model from one of my workshops), with a newly purchase mirror in-tow. I left my lights back at the hotel, opting to hunt for light. Whenever I found a spot that lacked the light I needed, my assistant Seth was there, mirror in hand, to fill it in with sunlight.

Shelby

Shelby is one of my favorite people to photograph. She always brings so much emotion to shoots. Going in to a session, I never know what we are going to make. She brought a few black and white garments with her, as well as the idea of making a tear shape on her face. I experimented with projecting a few different images of water drops on her face, but didn’t like the result. I decided to change it up, making simple shapes like circles and lines, which I projected on to her face.

The image of the dot pattern was a bit of a happy accident. During the shoot my laptop was tethered to a projector, with my image files open in Photoshop. For that setup I decided to black out a portion of the file, leaving her nose and mouth unlit by the projector. The fact that her pupil lined up with the dot pattern was serendipitous. When we looked at the back of the camera at the end of the shoot, we both gasped.

When it came to post-processing, I wanted to give the feel of Ming Dynasty porcelain (white and blue patterns). Ultimately I decided to push the whites to more of a peach color.