Can you describe a little bit about the technical challenges behind Bella Umbrella?
This shoot was a major technical fail. Seriously it was a heart attack on a plate. The original concept was to shoot on white, but because of the smoke we had to shoot outside. Well the wind was insane on the day we needed to shoot so the outdoor studio we set up was blown apart. So shooting on white quickly turned into shooting against a black wall in a parking lot!
Next the smoke burned the umbrellas and the vintage wardrobe and caused a lot of anxiety for the wardrobe and prop stylist who had rented all this amazing clothing.
Sooooooo there were great compromises in what I really wanted and what I got. I think the concept can be better executed and I hope to revisit with all the problems and experience...
I had been inspired by a few posts I saw on Instagram. There is a crazy cool artist in Los Angeles that uses smoke and umbrellas as a medium combined with a skull mask. His name is Butch Locsin and he has these two alter egos: one that is colorful and one that is black and white… it's rad and that's what first planted the seed. Then I saw another Instagram post from this women in Russia who shot a vintage umbrella and smoke in a forest. Between those two sources I thought of really simplifying the concept to be about color with the anonymity of Magritte's Son of Man. I really wanted to create a simple color and shape-driven piece with the mystery of Magritte's work. It's a combination of new mediums and old visual sensibility. My stylist Julia Reeser is a vintage queen so she found these amazing outfits that were priceless.
You are consistently are pushing your work to the next level. In an era where photographers are saying ‘it’s all been done’, what advice do you have for them?
Stop being lazy. It's easy to have a negative attitude – it's hard to really think and explore. Bella Umbrella is a fail really, but it still was a worthy and beautiful exercise. My vision and my result are not aligned with Bella, but it's better than nothing and it pushes me to do it better next time. I fail more than I succeed at bringing my vision to life. It's a lot like golf, you really rarely ever hit the perfect shot, but when you do there is nothing finer. That keeps me coming back for more, that touching on perfection, it's illusive, but obtainable, and I will keep reaching for it. That's what's import, it's not the destination it's the journey, and we must remember that.