LOOKBOOK MAGAZINE : FASHION DIARY
Fashion photography is like singing in the shower; I do it occasionally but I would never ever think about doing it for a large audience. I’d probably shower in front of a large audience faster than sing in front of it. It is a genre that never truly caught my interest although my work may occasionally straddle the lines of fashion. One person who is quite familiar with my disconnect from fashion photography is Mel Gabriel, editor of Trinidad Lookbook. She would joke about this during our casual conversations. So how the hell did I end up shooting a spread for the 1st edition of Lookbook Magazine?
AGO was commissioned for design and layout for the Lookbook Magazine thus automatically making me the photo editor of the project. Mel came up with an idea called Fashion Diary which comprised five images of a person of interest, highlighting their wardrobe for each day of the workweek. She chose the stylish Ayana from our PR department as the model. We soon followed up by completing a photo / creative brief which detailed the look and feel of the shoot. We decided to use natural light with the AGO space as the backdrop. Then there was some other funny shit about ‘no foliage unless she’s a botanist’.
Shooting was a challenge, thanks to a week of overcast weather that hindered the warm natural light that normally filters through the AGO office space. In addition, all the strobes and reflectors were out on another assignment in Jamaica that week. Thus we decided to utilize various corridors, staircases, fire escapes and the
experimental studio storage room. After a bit of shooting I realized why I felt so disconnected from the genre of fashion photography.
I realized that after years of looking at photos and dissecting the messages in images, performing commutation tests in my mind by replacing signifiers like hair color, skin color, camera positioning or model positioning, I developed an aversion to the conventions that everyone used. I never understood the contorted model poses, the super obvious flashy lighting techniques and the overall excessiveness of a frame that could have effectively communicated the same message with less than half of the things in them.
However, because of Ayana’s unpretentious style, I felt comfortable rejecting all that I disliked about fashion photography. It was natural light, natural settings, no props and Ayana’s glamorous, elegantly chic style without being flashy and contrived. This aesthetic and treatment complemented the magazine’s overall feel that was brilliantly developed by the designers, Tricia Dukhie and Tanya Williams.