For the inaugural issue of TONAL Journal - dedicated to celebrating the strength, ambition, and beauty in women of color. An editorial spread shot alongside the brand video.
Dancers: No)one. Art House - Karen McDonald, Gigi Faye, Shauna Davis, Micaela Taylor, Madeline Leavitt
Creative Director: Lauren Machen
Executive Producer: Zarna
Producer: Nicole Disson
Choreography: Chris Bordenave
Stylist: Caitlin Coelke
Hair: Angelo Rivera
Makeup: Yasuko Shapiro
Loved creating this image library to support AKASA and their mission to create a community in Los Angeles where children and families have access to affordable healthy food opportunities and education on how to best care for their bodies. I spent a morning with the students, teachers, and Veda during their edible garden program. The students plant and harvest herbs and vegetables grown on their campus in planter boxes and hydroponic towers and learn simple cooking skills that they can practice at home.
I've been a supporter of the women at MISSBISH since day one and was thrilled that we were able to work together on the campaign for the launch of their first apparel collection!
We spent a gorgeous sunny afternoon in Venice Beach. In love with the shadows and all the back details.
Huge thanks for the MISSBISH team for this opportunity and for the crew for help making this happen!
Photo Assistant: Adam Elramly
Hair: Iggy Rosales
Makeup: Melissa Murdick
Behind the Scenes courtesy of Adam Elramly
Black-ish star Jenifer Lewis is featured in PEOPLE Magazine to her recently published book The Mother of Black Hollywood. She was everything I expected and more - super hilarious, outspoken and a hoot to photograph. She can even kick her leg over that staircase railing! Still got it!
Thank you Joe and Gladees for the trust and opportunity!
Thank you to the crew for helping it all come together!
Photo Assistant: Ashley Poole
Digital Tech: Logan Bingham
Hair & Makeup: Valente Frazier
Stylist: Vanessa Shokrian
On the final day of Phillip Lim's month-long hiatus this past summer, Alex Maeland and I sat down for an afternoon conversation and portraits in his beautiful gallery-like Tribeca home. Casual and unstructured, the conversation spanned everything from Lim's upbringing in Southern California and creative inspiration to the changing face of fashion, the business of creativity and cultivating a new generation of young creatives. I highly recommend heading over to MAEKAN now to experience the full story including a wonderfully edited audio interview.
Thank you to Alex, Eugene, and the entire team at MAEKAN such a fun opportunity.
Aubrey and Lizzie had a press day in Santa Monica at The Bungalow at Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica. Popped in for a quick portrait shoot with them between interviews.
Usually these shoots are really short since the talent's days are packed with as much press as possible. The challenge with commissions like this is that you are not sure what you'll get as far as environment so I try to do as much research as possible about the venue and find pictures to give myself a bit of an idea. Also, the Photo Editor able to have me arrive an hour before my scheduled shoot time which bought me more time to scout and set up. I was informed I'd only have 10-15 minutes with them total to cover group and single shots so we decided to work with existing/natural light - there wouldn't be time to futz with strobes.
My shoot was scheduled for 1pm so shooting outside wasn't an option - the beautiful sunny LA weather works against me in this scenario - the sun was directly overhead casting hard unflattering shadows across the face. I needed to find an area of open shade or a well let interior space. The Bungalow is a cool place to hang out and party but it was so heavily styled with beach paraphernalia and crazy tapestries that I wanted to veer away from that to give the subject a cleaner background. Here are the test shots of the different spaces I had available:
(Thanks to the PR person who kindly stood in for my test shots!)
I ended up liking the window and the outdoor patio area ( I shot on the opposite side) the best. The cushions were grody so I moved all of them out of the way. From first frame to last frame I was able to shoot with them for 7 minutes. These shoots are definitely a good challenge and keeps me on my toes!
Thank you Jenna @ WWD for the opportunity to contribute!
4 creatives, 12 states, 15 days!
The four of us (me, Kelly, Chris, and Sean plus Kenzo) decided to move to Los Angeles from Brooklyn at the end of June. Most of us hadn't seen much of the US besides the coasts, so a one-way road trip was the perfect way to see a lot of America. To give us even more flexibility (and excitement) we decided to rent an RV for the 6500 mile trip. Here's a summary of the sights we saw along the way!
We started with cities - cycling around lots of abandoned parts of Detroit and exploring the French Quarter in New Orleans (beignets, beignets!) .
Part of the advantage of being in an RV is that we didn't have to make any reservations in advance. We would decide where and when we wanted to head to our next destination and check out the Good Sam Camping app for the RV campground closest to where we wanted to be. If it was early in the day I could call and make a reservation over the phone. Oftentimes we would start driving after sunset, so we could just arrive at a campsite and they'd have late night arrival boxes where you could grab a map and payment envelopes that would let you know which spots we're open before they closed the office for the day. Some of the campgrounds had pretty nice private showers but we never took advantage of the pools on site. No dilly dallying!
Since the gas mileage on the RV was so incredible (10MPG), stops at charming little gas stations like this were frequent.
Our next stop was Big Bend National Park, TX for the sunset.
Quick stops in Marfa, TX to see the Donald Judd concrete installations at the Chinati Foundation and a roll through Valentine, TX past the Prada installation.
Next stop was White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. The road going in was SUPER bumpy and although the speed limit signs were 25MPH, I was driving 5MPH because any faster felt like sitting in an insane earthquake and made it feel as though the RV was going to fall apart - our RV had pretty mediocre suspension. Nonetheless, it was worth all the shaking because the landscape was surreal. The sand is made of gypsum so despite the crazy heat from the sun, you can go barefoot since the sand doesn't absorb any heat. We also attempted sledding down the dunes but the heat was pretty relentless so we only went up and down a couple times.
After New Mexico we headed to another dune - Great Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado. Going from the magnificent surrealism of White Sands, we weren't sure whether we would be dune-ed out but these were much larger - the scale alone definitely makes it worth a visit. We were lucky too because there was a short downpour when we arrived so the heat subsided before we trekked across the flat to get to the dunes.
Next up was Wyoming and the infamous Yellowstone National Park. We arrived at sunrise to see Old Faithful erupt before all the crowds arrived. The rest of the day was spring/geyser/geothermal galore. My favorite part was the Artist's Paintpots (mudpots) that was a thick white viscous pool that bubbled and popped with mud flying up pretty high, as a result of the gas escaping. There was something meditative about it. The most memorable part of our visit was seeing a baby bear cub crossing the Mammoth Hot Springs just after sunset. What a way to end the day!
A quick stop at Shoshone Falls, ID and a dip to cool down next door at Dierkes Lake Park.
We drove overnight to wake up to sunrise at the Bonneville Salt Flats. We were the only ones there and took our time taking in the spectacular colors of the sky.
The second to last stop and one of my favorite stops on the trip was Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. I had never seen anything like it before - crimson-colored hoodoos (the spire-shaped rock formations) covered the canyon. They could be viewed from the Rim Trail along the amphitheater with trails leading down into the (sometimes muddy) canyon.
The last sight before our last leg to Los Angeles was Antelope Canyon in Arizona. The light and textures were beautiful! Rather than going on the Upper or Lower Canyon, we decided to go with Canyon-X. The same canyon but farther south. The canyon is privately owned by Jackie and all the tour guides are members of her extended family. It felt like an intimate privately guided hike rather than a location crowded by tour buses (there were no selfie sticks, hallelujah!).
Okay, I lied. We did stop and stay a night in Vegas before arriving in LA, and Sean won $3000! We figured it would be a nice way to enjoy some creature comforts (crab leg buffet, anyone?!) before returning the RV and staying in our temporary homes.
I'll leave you with some tips I took away from the trip:
- Less is More - I ended up wearing the same 3-4 outfits and did laundry once (when we stopped at Chris' parents for a night). The only appliances we used were the waffle maker (which doubled as a quesadilla maker) and the microwave. We overpacked, but the RV had tons of storage space so it wasn't an issue.
- It's OK to Number Two - The whole perk of having a bathroom on the RV is that you can use it instead of having to make multiple stops. Just make sure to brace yourself, cuz it's a bumpy ride back there. Also, use the Ozium afterwards ;)
- Work, Schmerk - I thought I'd be so bored or have so much time and get tons of marketing work done. The views were so enchanting and I was so entertained by Kenzo that I wasn't really motivated to work/edit for fear that I'd miss what was going by outside the window. Also, it's a pretty shaky ride so it's not that comfortable to be staring at a screen #crazyeyes.
- They See Me Rollin' - All in all, a quarter of the cost of the whole trip (including RV Rental, most food, campground fees, park fees, parking) was spent on gas. There's no escaping this so it was nice to split the cost with 4 people (Kenzo is broke) but also split the driving duties so nobody would ever feel burnt out from driving.
- Thank you Interwebz - besides the Good Sam Camping app that I mentioned earlier, Roadtrippers and RV Trip Wizard was also really useful to figure out our route based on the places we wanted to stop, and find cool off-the-beaten-path sights along the way (like a giant chicken statue, giant rocking chairs, and the Old Idaho Penitentiary).
- Just Go! - I'm so thankful we did this. There were definitely challenging moments during the packing and moving parts of this transition but I had to remind myself - one step at a time. With that, we were packed into the RV...floating in a spring in Austin...seeing a double rainbow in Twin Falls...hiking through beautiful landscapes. I feel the cheesiness oozing out of this sentence but there is so much beauty that you don't have to leave the country to see! After this experience I'm super excited for our next road trip and revisiting some spots and new spots. We've all joked about buying an RV in the future. While searching for RV rentals online, I came across some deals where the rental is free and you just pay for gas to help the companies relocate the RV's. If you have a flexible schedule, I'd recommend this (google "RV relocation")!
I'll be sharing more photos from each location in separate posts in the weeks to come. If you're curious about any of the places we visited, or about RV life, feel free to leave a comment or slide into my DM's :) It was definitely a memorable trip that I would recommend to anyone. RV life was super fun and less stressful than I thought it would be (I also didn't have to dump the black/poo tank, the guys did that - thanks guys!). I appreciate everyone who followed along on instastories! I think Kenzo gained lots of new fans.
I'll be based in LA indefinitely, but still working as a local in NY and Hong Kong so feel free to reach out about upcoming projects anywhere in between.
Looking forward to collaborating with all the talented creatives in LA!
I traveled to Sydney (and Australia) for the first time to photograph a few stories for Volume 13 of Cereal Magazine! Despite the crazy long flight from New York to Sydney with a layover in Hong Kong, it was well worth the time to travel there to see the infamous Icebergs pool at Bondi Beach. We woke up for sunrise each morning to catch waves crashing into the pool before the swimmers dove in at 6:30AM.
The Marketing Director initially reached out to me to do an instagram takeover and I’m a fan of the brand and their goal to create clothing that adapts to your lifestyle. Their pieces can easily transition and move across the different realms of a creative lifestyle.
We scouted locations the week before that would compliment the styling and tell a story that wouldn't distract from the technical details of the pieces. On the day of the shoot we had two hours with MC and everything went smoothly as we were able to work quickly on location with natural light and had one wardrobe change during a coffee/donut break (these should be mandatory on all shoots?) at The William Vale hotel.
Huge thanks to the team at ONU for the opportunity to contribute.
Justin Kim - Marketing Director
Thomas Moon - Chief Creative Officer
MC Barao - Talent/Stylist
Joyce was visiting New York for the first time from Hong Kong and needed some fresh portraits for press. We rented out a cozy Breather space near the Flatiron and knocked these out while catching up over life.
Check out the recent movie she released that received really positive reviews on the indie circuit