Scenes from a set : Samara Zuckerbrod x Sera Curran

I think photographer / makeup artist Sera Curran & I ( mainly Sera) are beginning to get our collaborations down to science, seriously everything about this Sunday shoot went off and wrapped without a hitch. Despite Houston’s notorious bi-polar weather ( a potential thunderstorm looming over our location and almost unbearable humidity) and the trek over into a construction lot which may have been considered trespassing , there weren’t any warning signs (so go for it). I had already had a look pulled consisting of pieces from Nasty Gal and Rag & Bone as well as accessories from Han Cholo , Asos , Topshop , and Ambush. This look was originally set for a on location shoot at Harley Davidson but the model booked for that flaked the day of , Intuitively I held on to it just in case we rescheduled, I thought it was a fun simple look but with the right model it would have a slight edge to it. My intuition was right , Sera brought in a young model from Page Parkes , Samara Zuckerbrod with a look as unique as her name. Not only is Samara tall, stunning , and exotic but she’s personable , fun , and down to earth as well as her sister , Tara who did Samara’s hair for the shoot ( flawlessly I might add) . Sera always thinking about enhancing and going bigger had a friend bring in his motorcycle and race car as props , I tend to overthink and worry about all the possibilities that could go wrong but I have to say the excitement and positive energy from this shoot was contagious , everything flowed evenly and smoothly , all of Samara’s shots were usable and like I said before , Sera ( and myself when I’m not overthinking & worried about what could go wrong lol) has got it down to a science.

 

Scenes from a set : Bri Garza x Sera Curran pt.2

Leave it up to make up artist / photographer , Sera Curran to lead us back to the essence of what a Summer in 1987 might be like , in the most authentic way possible . Sera had some unique on location concepts in mind for her next portfolio shoot and one of those was a 70s disco inspired roller rink shoot , finding authentic wardrobe wouldn’t be too challenging , I knew of a great thrift store that’s remained relatively untouched by all of the faux tumblr hipsters & social media vintage dealers. But as far as location , that would be a challenge …or so I thought, Sera of course, rose to the occasion and found the perfect place , Dairy Ashford Roller Rink, and got approval to shoot within a week of her discovery. We were set for Thursday evening , the lovely Bri Garza , once again joined us along with hair stylist, Lindsey Sepulveda ( who’s been an awesome addition to our team , she had me cracking up hysterically throughout the shoot). With some incredible vintage finds from the secret thrift spot , I also pulled some 80s inspired pieces from Fear of God , American Apparel , Topshop , and Nasty Gal  (the roller rink has an active arcade framed in neon signs , I had to) . Upon entering the rink , it was like instantly stepping foot into the decade I’ve only gotten to know and yearn for through John Hughes Movies and Prince , Billy Idol , & Vanity songs  . The flashing neon lights , faded yellow food court tables , the animated and eccentric carpeted walls , the prize wall adorned with giant stuffed animals and other novelties , and of course the arcade . We immediately began shooting under the fluorescent ambiance of the arcade entrance then traveled to Sera’s era of choice ( and staying true to the original concept), the 70s , shot on the actual rink in the midst of carefree skaters ( some who clearly came of age in the decades we were emulating , I envied them in that way). After we wrapped shooting , we ordered food and hung out in the food court laughing , watching other people have a good time , and enjoying the DJ’s mix of 80s hits. This summer has been full of opportunity and good times , I sometimes day dream about what a summer would have been like for me if I had came of age in the 80s , the opportunity to at least get a glimpse of that presented itself and it was priceless. Thank you to the owner , Michelle for allowing us to bring our vision for this project to life , and also go back in time for little bit.

Lyons Girls on Film

Yesterday’s shoot was nostalgic and somewhat bittersweet for me . When I first arrived to this city there was a small troupe of talent I worked with on several projects ranging from magazine editorials to accessory ad campaigns , most of that troupe has retired from the industry or went on their own separate paths ( although I’ve retained a close friendship with a few) , but there’s one member of the original roster who has always been consistent and delivers. I’ve always regarded my go to group of choice models as the “Lyons Girls” ( a term borrowed from the iconic Guess? girl campaigns) and every good line up has to include a hot blonde , Katie Stanford filled that position effortlessly . We met during art school and when the opportunities arose , I frequently cast her in several projects where I had freedom as the creative director or was styling. She took a bit of hiatus to start a family but I always held out hope that there would be opportunities in the future to work again.

The opportunity finally came , make up artist Sera Curran & I have developed a great repertoire of collaborations ( for her portfolio and a creative project I’m quietly working on as well) recently so I knew she and Katie would connect well . I also brought back Diana V from the Neil Hamil Agency  , we had worked on a magazine editorial last summer and I liked her look a lot so I knew this would a great opportunity to have her back as well. I wanted a vintage endless summery vibe for this session so I pulled swim wear from Nasty Gal , denim cutoffs from Levi’s , and a classic pair of vintage Porshe Carerra aviators.

I shot each model separate and together , they had an organic chemistry and adapted into their looks instantly . I got the shots I wanted for my semi secret project almost immediately , a testament to Katie & I’s solid work history. Then came Sera, who isn’t just an amazing make up artist (she’s also been quietly and quickly mastering the art of photography ) she took the girls from the standard white wall studio space and began shooting them outside candidly and also as models , the photographs came out beautiful and really captured the vibe of …an endless summer of opportunity.

Scenes from a set : Bri Garza x Sera Curran

As I’ve stated in my past two entries of my blog reboot , I’m dedicating this summer to solely expanding and pursuing my creative talents . I had always been a big believer in manifestation but sometimes in life you get sidetracked , well I’m back on track and my beliefs not only in the power of positive thinking but also in meeting genuine talented people has been fully restored.

Coming off of our last shoot with Danielle (shout out to Dani who linked us up , your are greatly missed! We Love you but I know your killing it in NY), makeup artist Sera Curran and I were anxious to collaborate again , I’ve not only been writing my horror novel ( with a new publishing house!) but also working on another kind of book , a coffee table project ( that’s all I’ll say for now) . I had arranged a shoot for this particular project but the model suddenly became unavailable and so I thought I’d just have to wait till next month to start on this project . That was not the case , Sera recommended we salvage the day and time set aside with her muse , Bri Garza  a lovely , youthful , and stunning model from the Neal Hamil Agency. There was that manifestation working itself out , a new opportunity presenting itself from original plans gone wrong. I’ve learned sometimes those type of opportunities end up being better that what you may have originally conceived and in this case it exceeded that . Sera isn’t just an excellent make up artist with top notch standards and quality , she’s also very passionate and has a great eye for art direction , her and Bri have such a great working chemistry . I brought in a bunch of vintage pieces including an awesome biker jacket , silk shirt , and a killer wool hoodie from an underground street wear brand , Granted.

I put Bri in the specific looks I wanted for my coffee table project and I got my shots of Bri in less than 10 frames ! She is an effortless and natural model , a rarity in the sea of social media. We then headed to some on location spots and Sera shot some awesome looks for her portfolio , I loved watching these two work together , when so many around me are retiring , over it , or moving on from their initial dreams , I’m lucky to be back in the presence of those that are pursuing theirs with passion and ambition.

There’s a quote by Charles Bowden regarding Summertime and I think it truly pertains to the work and friendships that have developed so far . We have our shoots in July booked already!

Summertime is always the best of what might be.”

 

Summer of Style

Before this Summer officially began I had promised myself to dedicate it to solely fostering and growing my creative endeavors. I was becoming overworked by my daytime job ( which was only suppose to be part time) and I had bad taste in my mouth from a rather disappointing publishing deal ( it sucks when work your’re really proud of gets a lackluster push – the irony lol). So back in May I put my promise into action , I had decided to start with a fresh update to my styling portfolio . I hadn’t been on set in a few months and I really did miss it , the only problem was my go to photographer had retired for good. The city where I’m based isn’t the best city to work ( as in get paid) consistently as a fashion stylist , it’s no secret that I’ve been somewhat disillusioned in my experiences here and I’ve become very weary of working with new people. I thought of what a mentor & fellow stylist had once told me, she advised to go outside my comfort zone and take chances , lower the walls , you never know where it may lead , (Sounds Cliche but it’s a simple truth a lot of us don’t listen to) so finally I decided to finally head that advice ( Thanks Shun!) .  I contacted a photographer (Robert Tremaine) I had been following on social media for a while , I genuinely like his work and we arranged a shoot with my two favorite muses ( Dani & Britt) , an amazing hair stylist (Erin) I met from a book cover shoot as well as a makeup artist (Markesha) Robert brought in. I also wanted to challenge my own parameters as a stylist , I departed from my usual 80s Drug Dealer Chic ideas , and pulled more classic pieces from top notch brands like BCBG Max Azria , Ralph Lauren , Hugo Boss , For Lemons and Love , and Saint Laurent Paris.  Once everyone arrived to set everything went off without a hitch. It was good to be back in my element and have an overwhelmingly positive experience , even though I miss working with my usual crew , I know that to truly grow you have to take more chances and that’s what I promised myself.