Good morning everyone! Apologies for the lack of posts, but I hope this one will excite you. It is beautiful and colorful, and very special for me to share.
You are familiar with Lauren Gherardi and her work on the “Carouselle” shoot (and a lot of my portfolio), but “Beauty in Bloom” published in COCO Magazine‘s Issue 18 (July II) will seem a bit different. The reason is because I did the colorful and layered post-work, which was so much fun to do–for the most part.
What makes me especially happy about this series is that I had not painted in a while (my undergraduate degree is a BFA in Painting!), and doing this allowed me to apply my painting sensibilities digitally. However, I still had to go through the same creative process Lauren Gherardi and I already typically go through (or for anyone in anything creative, really!):
1. Gather inspiration and get pumped about an idea you think is AWESOME!
2. Try to execute that idea.
3. Go into bouts of confusion and anger because it is not turning into what you had envisioned (casting, hair, makeup, lighting, wardrobe, or a combination of all the above).
4. Try other things you think will fix that.
6. Whine, probably because you’re hungry at this point.
7. Accept how things are turning out, and go with the flow.
I suppose that process happened for this entire shoot. I created a moodboard and wanted it to be sweet and feminine and floral, with that hipster-y style element (mainly the wardrobe).
Also, after having grand ideas for the background, like patterned cutouts in paper, walls of flowers, I thought, why don’t we just keep it simple? We used a light piece of wood panel/plywood as the background. KISS!
We had a sloth assistant too.
I suppose what I didn’t realize is the panel would pose new problems photographically. But at the time, those weren’t my issues to deal with. The shoot itself went very smoothly, and while we couldn’t have tacos, we all celebrated at Moe’s wearing the floral headpieces I created.
From Lauren’s Instagram. Hotties.
In post-processing, Lauren mentioned the wood was very close to the tone of Courtney’s skin, and overall the images felt like they were lacking something. After clean edits, they looked gorgeous, yet plain. Anyone else might have loved them, but for us we knew there was something more that could be done.
Lauren knew I liked doing overlays and a bit of graphic design, so she gave me free reign and her instructions were simple: “Just don’t make them look like sh**.” Haha! Sorry if that comes across as crass, but it was funny to me. It was also a lot of pressure!
I started out by printing several pages of thumbnails of the images and just doodling and hashing out ideas. “Black out eyes? lol.” I didn’t want to be cheesy, so I looked for inspiration from current fashion and culture magazines with the same aesthetic, such as Disfunkshion, Lone Wolf, and the like.
I did some drawings of the flowers (an obvious motif) and scanned them in and started playing with the layering process. When I came up with something I thought I liked, I shared it with the whole team and got some mixed reviews. I decided from there on I would take their criticisms but stop sharing and keep doing what I wanted to do. What better way to stifle creativity than to get too many opinions? Haha!
I looked back to my moodboard and paid special attention to the Gustav Klimt painting “Water Serpents II.” The subjects have the same sensual look Courtney has, and I loved how the colors and lines moved throughout the work.
The reason I say I was able to use my painting sensibilities is because it was really interesting to see how the layers interacted with each other. While it is not as tactile, it still fascinated me. Don’t get me wrong, I am very familiar with the Adobe Creative Suite as a freelancer and doing various graphic design projects for clients, but it was fun to use it for this purpose: something purely creative.
This is all you get on here. Go check us out on Page 44 of COCO Magazine!
I am so glad to share the creative process and the results. Let me know if you like these posts! And thank you to my awesome team.
Published in COCO Magazine
Photography | Lauren M. Gherardi
Retouching | Lauren M. Gherardi and Argie Mitra, yours truly
Model | Courtney Beach
Hair Stylist | Holland Morgan
Makeup | Erin Foster