Contact Store Y in Soho kindly offered to dress me this week in New York.
In exchange, I would give credit where credit is due, blog about a dress or two. Here’s what I am learning- it’s one thing to compose a good picture, it’s another to express a dress.
This trip, I have the great fortune of being with Dr Chan.
Dr Chan makes a good model because he has height, a symmetrical face, and patiently obliges me.
Baby, go stand there. Just pretend you are leaning into the art, but don’t actually touch it ok?
Baby, walk away from me, just walk…
Baby, go back, stop. Ok, walk to me, just walk.
When I need his help to photograph an outfit, I show him exactly how I want the shot framed, and then hand my cell over to him. He takes liberties sometimes, like capturing me when I am not “working”.
It’s not easy to model, I said to Trace. Trace would understand because once upon a time, she too was often in front of a camera.
Not easy modelling! I moaned to Zen. The pink dress turned out to be a nightmare to shoot- it just doesn’t photograph well…
Well, you make it look good, Zen comforted.
Why don’t you like this (above) shot? asked Dr Chan patiently. I thought you composed it beautifully. The pink shows up against the sculpture.
Look carefully- I’ve been photobombed by a chair!
Gosh Baby! Who would even notice that?
I would. But I wasn’t behind the camera.
So we should have moved the chair?
Dr Chan is infinitely patient with me.
Pockets make life easier for this model. They give you a place to go with your hands. Lift your arms a tad away from deeply cut armholes, and voila, one’s arms appear “toned”. Other challenges- how to arrange the rest of the body- head at which angle, torso twisted or vertical, and where oh where, do the legs go?
(The objective in shooting an outfit is to communicate to the viewer/reader a dress that can take you through a day in your life, with grace and speed, because the lives we lead tend to be in continual momentum. Clothes reflect superficially what we are about. A good dress is both armour and costume, reality and make-belief.)
And then the reality of waiting for a shot because I am thinking, I would prefer a cleaner composition, model in dress downstage, row of statues, upstage. Please mister, would you take your photograph, and leave…
Looking through all the shots we worked on yesterday, the moneyed shot that made it to Instagram was this-
Cropped and edited to include the men in the background, model fixing an errant bra strap. I was reminded of another important lesson- in life, the unplanned can occur and the energy the unexpected brings, is often a more dynamic expression, than what we plan so carefully for.
- Dress by Devon London Resort 2016, at Contact Store Y, 57A Brewer Street, London
- Dress is shot on location at the Sculpture Garden of the MOMA, 11W 53rd Street