Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Selling you Pretty

So once upon a time I worked with the impeccable David Kalahiki and helped turn Jon Benjamin into Bernie Madoff. Click here to catch up on that story.

I recently found some photographs that beg for another story. Well, I also had assisted David on a "high end/high concept" fashion shoot for Arnaldo Vargas. We had arrived at this photographer's apartment/studio prepared to do 3+ looks for one male model and one female model.

Wardrobe was being donated on the condition they'd be returned in the same condition they were lent from some boutique where a belt costs half your rent. That's something to worry about when you're rushing about with fabric staining creams & powders.

So the female model flaked out  and didn't show the day of the shoot so we were left with only a male model that had to leave by 5pm for his waiter/catering gig. I forgot to mention we started all this at about 9am. The concept behind the look of the shoot was to create a post modern/MAD MAX meets New York Couture with a pseudo-punk rock flare, which was eventually titled "Apocalipchic". Personally I think it looked like Michael Alig on his way to some Varsity sports practice. The other outfits provided a wider range of the make-up styles attempted in harsher geometric shapes and tribal styles, and I don't think the photos that follow adequately represent David's true talents as a make-up artist, but the photographer was happy, the model was comfortable, and if the client is happy - that's all that really matters. And plus I had a unique opportunity to help and learn.

David & I were basically flying by the seat of our pants trying to create different looks from the limited wardrobe and the minimal number of locations afforded us from the studio and apartment. What you don't see listed is our adventures to a rat infested basement and a freight elevator that was made of rust holding hands. David was a true pro, through and through, working within the time constraints the certain looks desired, and even technical issues with the photography equipment as I frantically tried to help him in the best ways I could figure out.

I think the dichotomy of having a female model to play off of the male model would have made the shoot a bit more interesting and provided a flare of variety, especially in pairings for action and color contrasts. But in any endeavor, you do what you can with what you have.

Though I have yet to work again in the world of fashion, I think it was a valuable experience in helping to create and craft not just an image, but the allure of the what is contained in its subject matter. There's action and drama, and it's all from one still, a single frame. Coming from the world of film this puts the principles of advertising and promotion further into focus and also how easily all of much can be manipulated.

I had a blast working with David, always have. I highly recommend his services if you're in need in the New York area. You can check out Arnaldo Vargas' Photography by clicking here.

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