Taking my talents to…

As trying as this month was for me in the beginning it’s also been a wake up call , sort of as if Life is giving me a do over .  When I’m not pulling for shoots or on set styling or actually shooting , I’m usually at my desk rewriting chapter outlines or behind my macbook contemplating the recommended creative changes sent to me by my editor ( for my upcoming horror novel ) . While I work on both projects simultaneously sometimes (and separately without a problem) , the actual problem  in my line(s) of work is my location ,the economy and cost of living here is amazing but the local industry here is not. It’s segregated ,cliquish, and full of a lot of false sense of recognition ( I probably should have moved to Dallas instead ) . There is a lack of consistency and integrity among the talent pool and the majority of people use each other then flake / move on . It may sound harsh but it’s the truth and frankly the stakes aren’t high enough for people to act like this , I’ve always said ( after getting “stabbed” in the back by a friend/ colleague , or screwed over by a client/photographer) ” I could have moved to LA for this type of shit.” ! Well now that I’m a bit older , seasoned , and wiser , I’ve decided to take my talents back to Los Angeles . The passion and ambition is burning in me more than ever and the focus on my career goals are aligned to the symbolic bullseye in my conscience , I simply know what I want . While the similarities in peoples intentions and behavior here and in LA mirror each other , the stakes in LA are high enough to attain actual career goals in both of my industries , and it’s just where I need to be for what I truly want to do.

Despite this purge of revelations and my personal thoughts on the local industry here , that’s not to say all my experiences have been negative or in vain . There have been some great opportunities and I have made some great friendships / work relationships ( that will continue after my move) . Today was a highlight of the positive experiences , I shot and styled a new model , Linda Fuentes and finally got to work with make up artist , Vito Von Black ( our first two attempts were interrupted by the local weathers erratic behavior – another reason to leave lol)  . I pulled a Miami-esque leopard piece from nasty gal and some vintage 80s jewelry . Within thirteen frames we had the shot , Linda is one of those models that just has to stand there and you snap away , she has that it factor an authentic working model needs and I’m glad I got to work with her before I head west. Vito was effortless in giving Linda a great nude / glow look and I can’t wait to bring her in on another session before I take my talents to LA.

 

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All is Better in Black Pt.3

Dani , Katie , Britt , and now Ash . I’m almost through shooting all of the original Lyons Girls for my coffee table book ( Just got to shoot Betty for the book’s cover in Jan and I will have completed the set lol) . September and the beginning of this month were rough personally for me,due to a loss in my intermediate family but I allowed myself the time I needed to grieve and now I’m back hitting the ground running . So what better way than to do that then by starting somewhere familiar and nostalgic and for me that was with model , Ashley Perriloux . I finally caught her when she was in town and it had a been a while since we worked on something together so the timing was perfect and aligned amazingly. I pulled pieces from Ralph Lauren , Nasty Gal , and Motel as well as some 70s vintage jewelry.  I also got to test a new make up artist Jolie Jade who vibed with us instantly . The shoot went off without a hitch and I easily got the shots of Ashley I needed for the project , It felt great to be back in my element and to be off & running again.

All is better in Black pt.2

Right on the heels of Sundays shoot , Sera and I were back at it for another session for my coffee table book project. This time we were joined by hairstylist Lindsey Sepulveda and the stunning , Kiara Shanae. Kiara and I had worked together once before on a portfolio session but the majority of images from that shoot were wiped out on my macbook a while back and the photographer who shot that session had cleared his hard drive since then. All that existed were some behind the scenes candids so I knew it was time for a proper do over . Timing sometimes is everything because Kiara leaves to L.A. on Friday so luckily we were able to get this shoot in , she also happens to be one of the most in demand models in town , so it was a privilege to have her be a part of this project. I pulled pieces from Miss Guided and Asos and paired them with a crystal choker from Lace by Tanaya . Sera and Lindsey added a touch of old school Hollywood glamour in the beauty department and we were off. I literally shot four frames and within those first four we had the shots needed for the project that’s how cohesive this team was tonight. This was hands down one of the quickest shoots we’ve worked on lately but collectively one of our favorites. Like they say , Timing sometimes is everything.

All is better in Black

When I’m not in stores doing pulls , or borrowing my day jobs steamer to prep what I pulled , or actually on set styling or creative directing . I’m usually at home in my office banging out the first draft of my horror novel ( I got out of my old publishing deal and secured a handshake deal with a new publishing house! ) But I’ve also been quietly planning and shooting another kind of book , a coffee table project focusing on youth , beauty , and my favorite fashion statement , the timeless all black look

So in between drafts of my new novel , planning this past Sundays shoot session had been almost equally stressful. If it had to be rescheduled AGAIN ( 3 times previously it had been set up) I probably would have just given up ( but only for a month or so till the craving of creativity called me back) .  It felt like the universe was working against me this time , everyone involved has limited and selected schedules , one model was iffy about coming off from her hiatus , and the city we’re all based in had just experienced the worst flooding disaster in history ( Thankfully everyone was safe and made it through fine , The Universe was never against me and how sobering it was to reflect on that) . So when Saturday night came upon me and no one texted to cancel and the weather report said it would be sunny the next day I knew things were getting back to normal.

I think I was overly anxious for this particular shoot because of the nostalgic aspect of it , my two original muses , the OG Lyons Girls , Katie Stanford & Brittany Fague were reuniting on this one and we hadn’t all been on the same set together since a magazine editorial a couple years ago before Katie took a hiatus to start her family. Katie and I reunited recently on a shoot but Brittany had to taken her own hiatus in April so getting her to come out of retirement for this project took some coaxing but it finally happened , and once we all got into our usual modes I realized things really hadn’t changed except for the location , photographer , and of course concepts . There was the usual shit talking , champagne , and laughs , not to mention me getting their shots within ten frames each. The whole experience has me excited for our other frequent collaborator , Michael Montoya to come out of his own retirement and start shooting again . Joining them was a new model , Anthony Shane I had came across on Instagram . For some reason finding a consistent , professional , punctual , and personable male model in Houston has been somewhat of a challenge (aside from Taj my other go to male model ). Usually if Taj is unavailable I’ve had to book out from LA. But Anthony arrived on time and got along great with everyone , and I got the shots I needed from his within the first ten frames. I pulled staple pieces and some cool statement ones as well from Bellfield , H&M , Asos , Nasty Gal , Puma , Dolls Kill , Buscemi and Mara Hoffman.

Finally the person who sort of has been the secret force in pulling back into styling and ultimately provided me with so many new opportunities ( that will tie into the project this shoot was for )  is of course makeup artist and photographer , Sera Curran. I think the most exciting thing about this shoot was the representation of the nostalgia ( Brittany & Katie ) meeting with the present , Sera . I was really excited for them to mesh and create this new work ethic , and it worked out great apparently . Brittany is coming back for at least one more shoot ! I should have never doubted , The Universe lol.

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.