Tuesday, July 28, 2009

steven klein

it's not accidental for me to start the series on my favorite photographers from steven klein. for me his name stands for "fashion photography" itself, as for many people was helmut newton, or richard avedon, or irving penn. he is the reason for me to do what i am doing, and i often say that when i grow up i want to be steven klein, implying the quality and quantity of the work he does. (yes, i know how ambitious it sounds)

there is not much information about him out there. in fact, from people who worked with him, as well as from very few articles and interviews, i heard that he is reserved and not too verbose. he is in his late 40s but looks young and fit, he is close friend of brad pitt & madonna, he is well known for his provocative D&G and Dsquared campaigns.

steven klein's pictures are ambiguous, openly sexual, perverse, yet polished, and chic, and high class. their is a fleeting feeling of restrain in each of them - no matter how candid and suggestive are the poses of the models. klein loves color and sophisticated sets; he is a master of double-page storytelling. his images are surreal and yet up-to-date with the real world. he is not afraid to make a statement about politics, global warming, religion, and model mania.

“the thing that gets frustrating about fashion,” klein says, “is that as a photographer you always want to grab on to something that reflects what’s happening in the world, what’s in the street. you don’t want to just fabricate these dream lives of these idealistic barbie dolls that don’t even exist anymore.”

one of the most prolific and influential fashion photographer of nowdays steven klein is the one who keeps many of us on our toes. as they put it in NY times: "mindlessly glam fashion photography is a dead or dying form, and steven klein, the anti-fashion fashion photographer, helped strangle it."

for more of his work please visit: www.stevenkleinstudio.com

favorite photographers

i've been asked many times who are my favorite photographers, and every time this question puzzles me for a second. there are quite many, but the truth is every time i need to rethink my answer carefully because this list changes as i grow - professionally and aesthetically. i also noticed that answering this question helps me to define who i am and what i like about fashion photography. it's almost like famous "tearsheet exercise" by selina maitreya - out of all possible tearsheets/ads of all times one should choose just five, the most favorite, and explain why you chose them. you would be surprised how hard it is to limit your choice to just five. but when you do, most probably, you will see smth in common in all five . that common is your own aesthetics - and if you happen to be an emerging photographer, it is your subconscious choice of style. don't copy it, but be aware of the direction, and keep your standards high.

i could make a choice of just five images (i did this exercise with selina twice) but here i won't limit myself to that extent. instead, i want to share some inspirational stories about and images by my most favorite photographers. those are the ones who shaped my vision, inspired, challenged, surprised, and made me want to be a better photographer. their aesthetics is not necessarily coincide with mine, but all of them have smth to say - and they say it well.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

mad ones

the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars
jack kerouac, on the road (1957)


success is what happens when 10,000 hours of preparation meets one moment of opportunity

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

china town

and another tearsheet package today - this time from bulgaria (ROUGE magazine) with my favorite "china town" editorial featuring gabi from NEXT model management, NYC.


it was such a nice surprise upon my return from miami to find a long-awaited package with new issues of noi.se & highlights and tearsheets with 2 of my stories (charlie's angel & love letters) in my mailbox. couldn't help but mention a great layout design and amazing print quality of both publications. look for them on NY newsstands!

professional insights

spent half a day reading interviews with art directors and photo editors at professional photographer's website. very informative for any industry professionals and covers topics like how to put together a good portfolio, how to approach a magazine and get commissioned, etc. read NOW.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

miami, day 4

wake-up time - 5am, call time - 6am. and all this to be able to catch beautiful morning light and avoid midday heat. after all, we have 10 looks to go and 2 locations to shoot at.

amanda arrived early but she got confused with hotels and instead of room 435 at "continental" at 6am in the morning she knocked at the door of room 435 at "shelborne". "is there any photoshoot going on?" she asked; the sleepy lady who opened the door was not even surprised.

by 7am are are already in the water. sunrise is beautiful, and light is gold and diffused. 3 first looks are sensual and wet - literally.

by 8.30am my assistant is picking us up at the reception and we are heading to key biscayne. there are dunes, and rocks, and pure white brick of the lighthouse - and local audience of sunday beach-time lovers. the ranger working there is very helpful and accommodating. only once he approached me with a request not to shoot at the palm trees alley since our model was wearing a see-through outfit and there were kids at the lighthouse who might see it. "i personally don't mind at all" - he says - "she's so gorgeous! But parents might complaint".

6 more looks are done by 11am, the only thing's missing is the shot i fancied in a palm tree shadow, next to the water.. who would have think that this is so hard to find in miami? most of the palm trees around key biscayne park are separated from the shore by concrete see wall, others are too tall, or not curvey enough. so around midday we are heading out of the park searching for a "perfect palm tree" to shoot our last look - ultramarine transparent tunic which amanda so gracefully wears being completely naked underneath.

almost-perfect palm tree was found on our way back to south beach. of course, there were cars, and chaise-longs, and portable fridges, and couples, and kids, and dogs all around it - both on the fore- and background. but we were patient enough and managed to get a perfect shot - or even couple - that looked exactly liked planned.

relaxed, sensual, colorful, and very exotic swimwear story is on its way!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

miami, day 3

today was fully devoted to location scouting and prepping for tomorrow's shoot. we decided to use the advantage of living at the oceanfront and start shooting at sunrise at the beach close to our hotel. but for the second part of the shoot we planned on moving to key biscayne and shoot in the picturesque surroundings (dunes, rocks, palm tree alley) of a lighthouse.

so dina and i spent half a day there, while anetta was busy with the shows. alas, i didn't attend any of them - in the evening we went through all 10 looks and storyboard for the shoot, and went to bed early to be able to wake up at 5am. my camera bag apart from its usual content has 55 SPF sunblock and a visor to help me cope with the sun.

Friday, July 17, 2009

miami, day 2

friday morning we had a go-see at next model management, miami. despite of the very busy time for the agency ron gerard made it possible for us to meet with girls, and we ended up booking beautiful short-haired brunette amanda for our sunday swimwear shoot.

after having light breakfast at balans we relocated to the beach in front of our hotel and spent there the rest of the day before the shows.

by 6pm the line at the entrance to raleigh tents was enormous. we managed to get in for true religion show just on time.

the atmosphere was like at a good party - the audience was bouncing to the rhythms of doors together with golden boys and girls in jeans-like lycra bikinis and pleaded bodysuits with open backs marching along the white podium. i in particularly liked the beach jewelry - golden fishes on a long wooden beaded chains and buddhist-inspired accessories.
red carter's show was next but the tent was over capacity and half of the ticketed crowd - including us - was left out at the raleigh pool to enjoy free martinis and watch the show on the screen.

dina and i stopped by at the backstage to say hi to anetta who working that night on most of the shows,

and then headed to lincoln road to have dinner before rocking true religion's afterparty at set.

beloved delano on the way back to our hotel watching dark blue sky sheltering with lighting from the outside bar finished the day.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

miami, day 1

welcome to Miami! our plane arrived half an hour early yesterday so we had a chance to enjoy light dinner and chilled pinot grigio at an argentinian restaurant maya on lincoln road.
our hotel is conveniently located just next door to raleigh hotel where most of the shows take place.

we started thursday early knowing that there was a long day ahead: beach in the morning, then delicious gazpacho & crepes for lunch at a la folie (cosy french bistro on espaniola way), short afternoon nap (sun can be so tiresome!), and back to the beach again for couple hours to catch some golden sunset light.
by 7pm me and dina are dressed up & ready for the first show. we are having some martinis at raleigh pool while waiting for anetta (who was working on a backstage) to join us.
raleigh tent is way smaller then any of bryant park's tents but excitement of the audience and bright summer colors (white goes so well with tanned bare skin & chunky gold accessories of female attendees) make it festive and fashionable enough.

caffe's show starts at 8:30. models are confident and fit and look stunning in turquoise/orange bikinis with patterned details and embroidery. i in particularly liked couple looks, and was happy to hear from dina that she pulled those for our sunday swimwear shoot.

after the show the fashionable crowd relocated to the beautiful rooftop bar at gansevoort hotel to finish the day at the pool with some lechee martinis while discussing plans for tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

mercedes-benz swimwear fashion week 2010

off to miami for a swimwear fashion week with my girls (anetta klemens and dina yassin)! check for daily road-trip reports from the shows and afterparties *)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

emily fox

i started this week with a shoot starring stunning strawberry blond beauty from supreme, emily fox. continuing my experiments on "ghosty effects" i was playing with longer exposure, color gels, and - my personal top secret! - a bit of vaseline on my lens, while emily was gracefully dancing in front of my camera. (gosh, this girl can move! i only wish i was recording a video..)

ursula agurto was the one who put together 8 playful yet edgy looks - with hip high leather boots and structural pieces. jessica tarazi created a unique make-up complimenting natural honey colors of emily's face. sato taeko was responsible for keeping emily's hair big and curly.
and even my cat fidel got into the "ghosty" mood and was misteriously wondering on set.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

the dryad

dryads (Δρυάδες, sing.: Δρυάς) are tree nymphs in greek mythology. in greek drys signifies 'oak,' from an indo-european root *derew(o)- 'tree' or 'wood'. thus dryads are specifically the nymphs of oak trees, though the term has come to be used for all tree nymphs in general. "such deities are very much overshadowed by the divine figures defined through poetry and cult," walter burkert remarked of greek nature deities. they were normally considered to be very shy creatures, except around the goddess artemis, who was known to be a friend to most nymphs.

dryads, like all nymphs, were supernaturally long-lived and tied to their homes, but some were a step beyond most nymphs. these were the hamadryads who were an integral part of their trees, such that if the tree died, the hamadryad associated with it died as well. for these reasons, dryads and the greek gods punished any mortals who harmed trees without first propitiating the tree-nymphs.

my interpretation of the legend see at nymfea.com

Friday, July 3, 2009

good morning!

how do you usually start your morning? well, not when you have a 6am call time in the middle of gloomy november but - let's say - on a morning like this. (friday, july 3rd - long lazy weekend ahead and outside your studio window is sunny manhattan view)

i start my morning with a cup of cappuccino with a fluffy milk foam & a pinch of cinnamon. but instead of an old-fashion morning newspaper while having my coffee i read blogs. here is my personal top 10 [both for visuals & information] i would not be able to [professionally] live without:

- ru_glamour
- notcot
- fashion-ation
- lookbook
- paranaiv
- professional photographer
- art producer's blog
- commincation arts insights
- photo editor
- burn auto parts

good morning!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


the difficult we do right away; the impossible may take a little longer.