I finally had my first photo shoot of the year! Starting off I knew exactly three things about this shoot: I knew I wanted to use Brea, a model who had previously walked in my scene for the Stylez by Toy Fashion Show I was a part of last year, I also knew I wanted to use a beautiful orange gown from designer Anton Zbarzh, and I knew I wanted to shoot in the beautiful Cleveland Museum of Art. So I just had to fill in the blanks right?
Right. But the shade is- the blanks were not filling themselves in lol! I had no idea what I wanted this shoot for, so I did not know what I wanted Brea to wear, and I could not tell my makeup artist/hairstylist, Falisha what to do so I was stuck until the day before the shoot.
It's funny how inspiration comes- I spent at least two weeks scouring Instagram, Pinterest, old fashion magazines, weird, obscure movies and music videos trying, hoping, praying for inspiration and it never came. But the day before the shoot, I decided to go thrift shopping to see if I could come across any fly random pieces for the shoot. I was all dirty and sweaty from the gym and had on workout clothes and a hoody. I'm a regular there but decided against speaking to any employees there like I usually do cause the pressure was getting to me lol. So I'm browsing racks and I accidentally bumped into one of the ladies who I live for and she said something like- "Oh hey Purple (i'm known everywhere by that alias lol) I didn't even know that was you! You look different, you don' changed it up on me!" I laughed cause I literally just had on a hoody but then just as quick as I started I stopped- CHANGE!! Transform, beauty, art rough, soft- all these buzzwords started coming at me (my mind is crazy y'all always spinning and working and churning out random things) and just like that I smiled at the lady, made my purchase and almost ran home to start working...
My idea was this elaborate tale of transformation where Brea would start off as a party girl gone wild- up all night from dancing on tables in a barely there outfit, smeared lived in makeup, messy, wild rock and roll style bedhead hair and the highest of heels. She wakes up late for her date with destiny at the art museum and rushes out the house in her same look from the night before. She arrives at the atrium inside and is in awe of the natural light and its calming atmosphere that washes over her, almost like a clean slate. Some of the heavy makeup starts to come off... As she travels through the different exhibits and collections and is surrounded by beauty and art she too starts to change and you see that in her clothes, hair and makeup as they get lighter, less trashy and more glam. It sounded perfect in my head! I would literally take her from ashy to classy on some Notorious B.I.G ish incorporating art, fashion, style, music and storytelling- all of my favorite things in one shoot.
Ya'll know that shit didn't happen right lol? First of all when I called the museum a full month ahead to get permission (because I have been kicked out of several public places in the name of a good shoot before lol) I asked what was the best day to shoot and I specifically asked what was off limits because I wanted to set my shots up and I actually wanted to try to shoot a small film if possible. The lady assured me Tuesdays were the best days and I could shoot where ever I wanted except in a few of the modern exhibitions and I could not use a flash or plug anything in. Well shoot, I was happy as hell to hear that and when I arrived Tuesday, let's just say when I saw all of the school buses I thought nothing of it cause I was FOCUSED! So I arrive and BAM my model is already there which was enough to make me cry ok lol. Y'all don't understand- when it's not for a coin, you have about a 50/50 chance of your model showing up, let alone anybody else (hell even when it is about a coin some of them still won't show up so...) when I saw Brea I literally exhaled lol. And that's when the problems starting happening...
1. We had to check our bags, meaning we had to take out everything we needed for the first scene and carry it with us (undergarments and all lol)
2. Falisha the makeup artist smuggled her entire case inside her purse (thank goodness for big bags right lol) only to find out that the bathrooms had no place to set up for hair and makeup. What did her resourceful self do? Took over the family sized bathroom heeeey!
3. Anton showed up... BUT NOT WITH THE ORANGE DRESS (it wasn't finished)!! I slowly withered down the wall until he pulled out a gorgeous navy blue number that more than enough made up for it.
4. The museum was crowded. Super crowded. So much for empty Tuesdays lol.
5. I was told that I could only shoot in the Atrium. In one big ass open room with absolutely NO ART ANYWHERE IN IT! I laughed to keep from crying (yes I'm dramatic and full of random emotions). I did not even have the time or desire to argue, so frustrated I had to scrap my whole idea and just take the photos smh. No rhyme, no reason... I tried to come up with something else real quick but there was nothing else lol.
6. Once she put the first look on, which was Anton's gown (we had planned to shoot backwards for mu and hair purposes) and I took a few test shots, I accidentally set off the flash. When I tell y'all that lil ol' security guard flew out of nowhere to reprimand me all I could do was laugh and apologize.
7. Shot a few frames and then was told by another security guard that one of the guests complained that the gown was too revealing. The dress was lace, she had on a nude colored dress underneath and we were shooting directly in front of Michelangelo's David, but I was like ok whatever man.... but then tried to sneak a shot around the corner (I HAD to get her against that red wall in that blue dress, I just had to) and he came and threatened me with removal. Dammit. I made Brea change.
8. I know we wore that coat check man THIN cause chile we had at least three suitcases, bags galore and coats and scarves that we kept coming back for. And each time the look on his face let me know how much he probably wished he had stayed home that day lol. (And yes I attempted to tip him when we left but they can't accept tips).
9. We did the other two changes, but it hurt cause I was no longer telling a story, just taking photos of a beautiful model in different outfits (for me it's always either all or nothing lol).
10. I'm still not the best when it comes to working that damn camera. Brea looked beautiful in her outfits and Falisha did a great job with hair and makeup, but my photography skills do not yet match up to my vision smh.
But still, I loved working with Brea and Falisha and I want to work on more stories and getting better at shooting indoors and outdoors. Below are the photos, a quick lil video and Brea and Falisha in there own words...
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