CONVERSE EDITORIAL | EAST L.A.

After I watch a movie on Bluray or DVD, I usually rewatch it with the audio commentary, in hopes to get insight from the creators of the film. Hoping to hear their methods in storytelling and perhaps advice on how to become a better visual storyteller. To my great disappointment however, most directors can’t talk for the two hours of the film and give you helpful insight. They usually talk about random things as, we shot this here, or that’s a digital shot, or this actor acted really well, etc. Useless facts that don’t expand on the story, or  insight on the characters or their development. Which is really funny because I see my blog posts as the equivalent to the audio commentaries on film. I see this platform as a way to give you insight on both my inspiration and motivation into my editorials. However, as the aforementioned creators, I too can’t come up with what to say about my editorial at times, even taking months for me to write anything about an editorial. So I shouldn’t get too upset, since I too fail to give expanise insight behind my creativity.

After being tasked with creating an editorial ad campaign for Converse, as the final assignment for my Photo 03 class last semester at East Los Angeles College, I knew the very second I wanted a classic look for my editorial. Which is where the Twilight Zone comes in, having watched a few episodes over the weekend at my parents house, I decided to emulate the look and feel of The Hitch-Hiker episode, found in season one. Having only two weeks to complete it, I did what I do best, ask the models I already knew, but have not worked with before on Instagram. To my surprised both my models agreed instantly and after setting a date, we met early in the morning in the Boyle Heights industrial area, along with an immaculate 1964 Impala lent to us by an Instagram fan. I’ve used this location before for my Bonnie & Clyde editorial found HERE, as I feel it gives you that era look found in the Twilight Zone. You might notice two different tones in the following photographs. That's because I ran out of Kodak TriX midway through principal photography and switched over to Fuji Acros 100. Which after seeing the scans, I wished I’d photograph the entire set on Acros due to the lack of grain and smoother, overall tone. However, to my most  unfortunate fortune, it was announced it would no longer be in production.

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CONTRIBUTORS
Models: David Turner & Taylor B. Dunn | Automobile Prop: Yeli Hernandez

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BONES LINGERIE EDITORIAL | DOWNTOWN L.A.

Inspired by the elegance of French culture as well as French architecture, I set out to create a lingerie editorial with a soft, feminine aesthetic, reminiscent of old Hollywood cinema. This editorial, unlike previous I’ve photographed in the past, was filled with a handful of firsts. First time I rented a studio, first time I bought flowers at Flower District, first time I photographed under a strict two hour limit and the first time I’ve photographed an entire set on Kodak Portra 400. Funny really, since I’ve had rolls of Portra sitting in my fridge for a while, saving them for a special occasion, which never came, so I decided to use them here to see how well they react to natural window light. I was extremely fortunate to have found the models I did, as they both manifested femininity in such an elegant way. And with the talent and collaboration of April of Bones Lingerie, this editorial is by far the best interpretation of the soft and feminine aesthetic I have ever created.

I met April a few years back when I had the original concept of photographing a lingerie editorial to promote a boudoir service that never happened, for one reason or another. I might post them here in the future, but in the meantime, you can find them sprinkled throughout my Instagram feed. The assignment was to photograph a splash of color editorial, in where we had the task to create a monotone color palette with, you guessed it, a splash of color within each frame. The concept of a lingerie editorial quickly came to mind, as well as the perfect model, Stephanie Sical (Miss Guatemala U.S.A. 2015 & Miss Earth Guatemala 2016) whom I met a year ago while working on a project together in our Broadcasting class. Meeting Ashley however, was a happy accident, as with most things in my life to this point. I posted a rather, sappy post on my Instagram on the redesign of Clifton’s Cafeteria in Downtown Los Angeles, now called, Clifton’s Republic. While browsing through the tagged posts of Clifton’s, I bumped into Ashley’s IG and quickly knew she’d be a perfect compliment for this editorial as well.

The location was the tricky part but, it just so happened I attended a mixer hosted at FD Studio in the heart of the Fashion District, also in Downtown L.A., a few weeks prior, lending itself as the perfect location. After much contemplation, I decided to add natural wild flowers and with the help of April, we picked out a gorgeous set of wild flowers and fashioned a few bouquets out of them. After seeing how beautiful these photos turned out, I might kick the idea around of offering the boudoir photography service in the near future. But considering the cost of setting this up, I figured this service might have a $1,200 price tag.

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CONTRIBUTORS
Models: Ashley Leilani  & Stephanie Sical | Wardrobe: Bones Lingerie | Location: FD Studio

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BONNIE & CLYDE | EAST L.A.

As far as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with cinema, to be exact, of the horror and sci-fi variety. As I’ve gotten older however, I’ve leaned more towards the romantic comedy and drama genres. It’s funny, ‘cause as a child, I didn’t understand why such movies won awards, I always thought, ‘dude! These movies are so boring, nothing happens!’ But of course, I was too young to understand the themes within these movies. It’s no surprise now that my current editorials are heavily influenced with these cinematic themes. Now that I fully understand the nuances of romance, and having gone through a divorce myself, I can confidently say I recreate love and intimacy on film. For this editorial, my clients were very open to the idea of recreating the now famous, Bonnie & Clyde photos. Best part? My clients already had the wardrobe and guns in hand, which made it very easy to style them. The tricky part was the location, after a bit of research, I opted for a warehouse district less traveled near my house in East Los Angeles, closer to Boyle Heights, by the Sears Tower. I fell in love with this location so much, that I’ve used it a few more times thereafter. It’s a very versatile location, offering plenty of light for those glowing portraits I love so much. 

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THE ART OF STYLE | DOWNTOWN L.A.

Art in everyday life, has a particular significance. It implies the belief that art may be so much a part of our daily life, that It’ll helps us to do the simple, homely things of life as well as the more unusual aspects, in a more beautiful and graceful way. As we surround ourselves with beauty, art becomes a part of our life and personality, not to be set apart for the occasional enjoyment however. Both beauty and art must be sought after and enjoyed in everything we do and in everything we select. As consumers, every time we make a purchase, however humble it may be, we’re consciously or unconsciously using our power to choose. Since art is involved in most of the objects seen and used in our everyday lives, one of the great needs of the consumer is knowledge of the principles of the fundamentals of good taste. Good taste, in the field of art, is the application of the principles of design to the problems in life where appearance as well as utility, is a consideration. With the development of our appreciation of these principles, the meaning of the term “principles of design” broadens and deepens. These principles should never be static. They should be regarded as flexible guides to be used in producing a desired result. It has been said that good taste is doing the right thing, unconsciously, at the right time and, in the right way. In the book Joseph Vance, Dr. Thorpe says, “I keep hoping for the development, in Joey, of the faculty of Good Taste…. It’s a quality of the inner soul, that gives a bias to the intellect.” Few people are born with this rare gift, but, fortunately for us, good taste in art can be acquired by applying the principles of beauty deliberately until the time is reached when the right thing is done, unconsciously. 
- Art in Everyday Life, 1925

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CONTRIBUTORS
Wardrobe & Styling: www.theashleyurban.com | Model: Ashley Urban

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