As a fashion stylist it is important for me to have immediate references at any given moment and my head is full of them: vintage movie stills, runway shows from the 80's and 90's, album covers and fashion campaigns from decades ago, cinematography from foreign films, posters of my favorite rappers and singers from Word Up magazine, television shows from the 70's and 90's, images from 70's, fashion photography, childhood book covers and most importantly- song lyrics. Read on about how one particular line from rapper Andre 3000 helped style my shoot with photographer Jasmine Golphin of Welcome to Midnight...
I can't lie, lately I have been in somewhat of a styling slump and I was tired of my inventory and images and ready to start my portfolio over, but I just could not force myself to do it. Out of nowhere my homegirl Jasmine inboxed me saying she had access to shoot in a grocery store and would I like to be involved? To quote 2pac "Does a bear shit in the woods and wipe his ass with a white rabbit?!"
(*Actually when I write that out I have a slight uncertainty because I'm not exactly sure of a bears hygiene habits in the woods or otherwise, and if this is known for a fact- then how many fluffy white rabbits are left to wipe up with?) I digress...
I jumped at the chance and started organizing my thoughts and clothes and decided the hero piece would be an outfit I thrifted a few years ago that I knew I wanted to use but had no idea and in what way. So I had at least one outfit- next I needed to see what model I would ask to wear it. When I'm doing a shoot and I am basing it around an outfit instead of the other way around then I have to be very specific about my model. The outfit was bright, the silhouette was bold and it would need somebody tall with super long limbs that could pull it off effortlessly. There was literally nobody else to choose but one of my favorite print models- Raqui!
Once she agreed, I decided a I needed a guy, so I called up my fly homie from college Stan and he was with it! I had my models, my clothes, location and photog- now I just needed a story. Even if I never share the story with models and photographer (in this case I did) it helps keep me in line as far as styling and gives purpose to the shoot.
For some reason, Andre 3000's voice kept popping up in my head and the words "Whole Foods". Super random right lol? But it wasn't because bits and pieces of the verse kept drifting in and out of my head until it drove me crazy enough to Google a phrase and sure enough on the singer Lloyd's remix to the song "You", Andre has the first verse and it goes, "But we in the middle of Whole Foods, and those foods ain't supposed to beef, but you'd think they hated tofu," and basically it tells the story of how he met someone in a grocery store and how she had him caught up. Aaaaaand boom! I had my story!
'Single business guy meets fly fashion chick in the grocery store.' Simple but effective enough to play off, helps put my models in character mode (mackin and actin' lol) and assists the photographer in setting up the shots that she wants. Jasmine called makeup artist Julia Reed, I purchased a wig and we all met up after hours in the store to make it happen!
Which was a cool experience because have you ever been in a grocery store after hours? I felt so grand and privileged lol. We weren't totally alone- there were a few workers, they watched us and we stayed out of their way as they waxed the floors and prepped fro the next day. It was a cool shoot, got my creative juices going again and I loved how the photos turned out. Tell me what you think in the comments below!
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