Behind the scenes of an editorial shoot

I have a regular feature in Arbus Magazine called The Conversation. It highlights interesting people in Jacksonville, FL from the Arts and Business sectors.

In the December issue, I photographed Alexandra Ni. She is a Soviet born Fashion Designer who focuses on creating one of a kind pieces for her clientel. As if that weren't interesting enough, she is also stunning, elegant, poised and always stylish. And it was the merging of all of these things that inspired me to do something different for this issue. Here is how the day transpired:

Alexandra Ni's home office was the setting for the photo shoot.

I arrived on the morning of our shoot to find Alexandra beaming with light. If you have ever seen her, you know what I mean when I say she has this effortless quality about her which is so incredibly beautiful. My initial inspiration was to photograph Alexandra in her tiny home studio wrapped from head to toe in fabric, so she pulled all of her gorgeous materials and we went through them together. Knowing I was shooting for the December issue, I was instantly enamored by the red silk with yellow flowers. Alexandra explained the history of it, "this floral printed heavy silk is in fact a real soviet VINTAGE silk from the 1970s. I picked it up from Siberia this past summer. My aunt's preserved treasures: when there were shortages of everything, people used to stock up on everything that was available while it was available.". Wow, this was a powerful piece of fabric. We had found our look! It was perfect. We chose a green silk accent for bottom and some orange silks to be used as background elements. After seeing these exquisite fabrics, I decided to change course a bit and rather than using that red silk to wrap her in the manner I originally planned (it was far too thick and luxurious for that), we would instead just make it into a "dress".

The first layer goes on.

The things we sometimes do to get the shot would astound.

While putting Alexandra into various statuesque poses, I asked her husband Bill to stand behind her and throw the orange silk into the air about 476 times. :) He obliged (thank you Bill).

When contemplating the final image, I imagined compositing the layers of the dancing silk together in Photoshop and arranging them playfully behind her. However, once you sit down at the computer to actually begin the work, new pathways come into view. As I processed the layers and began playing with all of the different ways to convey the effortless float of the fabric and tie it into the way Alexandra walks through the world, I settled on transforming those floating pieces of cloth into more of a work of art that would compliment her presence. This so perfectly to illustrates the idea that she views her fashion line as Art Couture. 

The throwing of the silk behind Alexandra was used to create the orange and yellow background elements in the final image.

And that is how The Conversation photo was made in the December issue of Arbus Magazine.
I hope you enjoyed the process. You can read more about Alexandra here and her fashion designs can be found at AlexandraNi.com.

Alexandra Ni for Arbus Magazine

Six years on...

In two short months, I will reach an incredible milestone. Six years in business! And every single day I walk through the door of my studio, grateful. For this passion that I get to call my job. I have met hundreds of people over the course of these formative years. I have worked with many of them. I have built lifelong relationships, and delivered work that I am proud to call my own. I have watched as my work has grown and transformed into what you see here today.

So, thank you. Thank you from the depth of my soul, to all of you who have loved my work, talked about it to your friends, and hired me to capture a little piece of your world. I am grateful and I am filled with love for each and every one of you.