Sigh. For this installment of my “After Dark” series, there was a lot of positive, but also a lot of things that did not go as planned, I will leave that for the very end.
For episode 4 of my weird little editorial adventure, the theme was “A Mad Spring”. Inspired by a sort of Alice In Wonderland style from the 2010 movie. The designer I chose for this was Quinto Designs by David Julian, featuring pieces from his capsule collection Petal Posh, which was showcased at Runway Houston X. As with the fashion, the other vital element was the makeup artist, LiZZ Alfred. (A big thank you to Liz for coming to the rescue since I could not get any other makeup artist that Thursday evening.)
There were a few characters that stood out to me from the movie, but the characters that ended up being featured were: Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the Queen Of Hearts. My original ideas for the studio sets were not realized due to this shoot being very close to cancellation. I ended up working with the available backgrounds at the studio.
Additionally, the sets are usually built in collaboration with the second photographer, but it was just me this time. I picked colors and edits that I felt would be in coherence with the movie, but I feel I could have done better. Because of the cancellations, and some materials/props not being present, I will be retrying this theme sometime in the future.
Makeup: LiZZ Alfred
Stylist: David Julian
Now for the more interesting part, but before I get to the backstory, I do want to preface what the series is about. “After Dark” is essentially an after hours, private, fashion sort of “meetup”. However, my purpose is to have a bit of fun, break some “rules”, and hopefully create some good pictures. But for me, the pictures are secondary, it is about having a bit of creative fun.
STRUT provides the space, I plan the theme, contact another photographer, and 3 models. And as this series has progressed, I have tried to improve upon the last one by making it bigger and better than before. I will refrain from naming names, but there were certain things that did not go as planned. As has been the case, I have also made my own mistakes and have learned how to better approach the next one.
The maddest part about “A Mad Spring” was not in the style of the Mad Hatter, but in the planning of this shoot. The selection of the models has been firstly based on the theme, but secondly, in consideration of selecting models I know get along in a friendly manner. One of the main models I wanted to use was unavailable on weekends so I planned for Thursday. The others were available Thursday, but would have preferred the weekend. This is where things started going wrong. This model messaged me – I believe the day before – that she would most likely not be able to make it Thursday.
I had to scramble to find a replacement as I have found 3 models is the sweet spot. This was probably my biggest mistake. From now on, I will most likely plan for a Friday or Saturday since these are more reasonable days for most, for a late shoot. But everyone agreed Thursday worked so we should be good… right? Well, no.
Another big part of this series is to have a second photographer to provide a different creative eye. The bad thing is when the second photographer cancels 2 hours before the shoot. When I received the message, I thought about cancelling the whole thing, but I decided to just take on this myself.
Lastly, part of making this series bigger and better, is to add more creative production to it. Originally, the only parties involved were the photographers and the models. The models would be sent a concept board a week before the shoot, and they would come makeup/hair ready, and myself and the other photographer would style them on the spot. So for the first time, I managed to get a makeup artist and a stylist to come along. Unfortunately, the stylist never showed up. Never got a message or call.
These things happen all the time. As many photographers, models, designers, everyone, will know, it is not easy getting everyone to come into one place and do a thing. Nobody is forced agree, nor are they obligated to arrive. But as with most editorials, it is a creative collaboration that is hopefully interesting enough for people to devote some of their time for a hopefully good result.
I am very thankful to the models, the makeup artist, and to the designer that were able to make it. I am overall happy with the pictures, but I know I could have done a better job. I was a little stressed and frustrated with how things went, but I am grateful and overall satisfied. This will be a theme that will be “reduxed” for another chapter of this series. I will continue with another concept soon, and will rethink my approach for the next one. Some of these were minor setbacks in terms of morale, but better and bigger things are still planned. Not sure when though, ah!