Apologies are in order for the belatedness of this Part 3. As multiple readers have questioned and asked, I kept putting off this article because it was hard to sum up what was a difficult project. It was much more involving than my Terry Richardson series. It was also a lot more expensive. My admiration for Ms. Leibovitz has only increased since we took this journey.
To reiterate, the core of Annie’s genius is her vision and her ability to connect with her models. Her style is painterly, timeless, and haute couture. Her style is an inspiration to us at iLHP and though no one can replicate Annie besides Annie herself, we do hope to share our own interpretation.
Underwater is a very particular photography field that not many of us had the chance to experience but many of us wonder how it’s done, and what it’s like to do it. Elena Kalis is an underwater photographer which work is now famous around the world, especially with her series “The Bahamas Girl”.
Based in the Bahamas, that helps, Elena developed her own unique style within a few years. She has always been an artist, she started photography 7 years ago, as a new way of expressing herself.
The right model makes or breaks a photo. As I have mentioned before, I believe 75% of the final image comes from the model, 20% from the concept/lighting/makeup (and post processing), and 5% is actually from the photographer. It’s our job as the photographer to not screw up that last 5%. Our responsibility is especially important when shooting a stunning model. I like the way Jonathan Kos-Read puts it when he was shooting a beautiful Ukrainian actress, he said:
I’d had a bit of trouble photographing her – she’s so pretty that it’s difficult to find your place as a photographer, anything you shoot looks great because she looks great, not because you did anything special.
Maya Vulgaropulos is an Aston model, an extra on AMC’s Mad Men and pursuing a career in film/television production. I had the pleasure of working with her a few weeks ago in continuation for our Annie Leibovitz series. We shot in a beautiful studio in downtown LA, she wore a gorgeous red dress, and I’m very happy with the results. iLHP had a chance to sit down and talk with her.
In Part 1, we set out to study one aspect of Annie Leibovitz’s legendary body of work, her Vanity Fair style fashion shoots. Her subjects are statically posed, bathed in ultra soft moon lighting, and, more of often than not, positioned in front of an expensive canvas background.
It’d be silly to suggest the following setup guide will work in every situation. Annie’s certainly not a one-trick pony. Especially if the shoot is outdoors where you have to manage the daylight. But think of it as a starting point to Annie’s look, an introduction, to one of the cleanest yet most elegant looks defining our era.
There is power in youthfulness. The cosmetics industry is built on it. The world spends billions of dollars to stay, feel, and look young. The same goes for the modeling world. Kate Moss was discovered at 14 at JFK airport, Candice Swanepoel was spotted in a flea market when she was 15, and Lily Aldridge, my personal favorite, began modeling at 16. Unlike other careers where the older you are the more salary, prestige, and respect you can command, being young and beautiful is incredibly marketable in the beauty industries. It is a bizarro world.
It is difficult to capitalize on this advantage when you are also inexperienced. Teens are young adults still learning their way through social situations, family situations, and professional situations. At the same time, I sometimes dread booking young models because I’ve been burned many times when they don’t show up to a shoot. How do teen models deal with the pressures of school, early adulthood, family, and a modeling career?
At just 15 years old, Isabella is currently our youngest model at iLHP. She is extremely professional, mature beyond her years, and yet malleable and open to new ideas like most young people are. She is just starting out in the north east and we had a chance to speak with her after our Terry Shoots last month. With her Candice Swanepoel cheekbones and teenage-attitude stare, this Korean Italian bombshell will undoubtedly have a long and successful modeling career.