Ah, New York. In 2019 it still lives up to its 200-year-old reputation for being a melting pot. New Yorkers have always valued and continue to cherish the diversity and payoff of living and working in a culture with an eclectic mix of nationalities and accents. Despite our larger national dialogue calling into question the nation's "welcome mat," the city continues to act as a magnet for the best, brightest and (dare I say) best looking. Perhaps no parts of the city values this diversity as much as the creative industries.
Over the years a significant portion of the studio's models has been drawn from the ever-changing pool of international models who have either moved to New York or have been passing through on business. Effectively spanning the globe, we have have been fortunate to be able to work with models from Canada to the Philippines; from Moscow to the Carribean; Nebraska to Paris and Milan. I've lost track of the number of South Americans we've shot; Luan is our third Brazilian.
Our sessions are collaborative efforts. We start with some concrete ideas as to where we're going creatively, but for the studio's part, the concept is more about lighting and venue than poses or wardrobe. With Luan, the starting point was a dark room and a small shaft of mottled light.
What happens after we've nailed our starting point is largely up to the model and reflects the interplay between the collaborators on the set (which usually includes the model, one or two photographers and occasionally a stylist). I've repeatedly stated that each session is as unique as the model on the paper. Luan is as unique as they come, and delightfully so.
To the extent possible (and within set parameters), the studio lets the model drive the direction of the session once we're rolling. In some respects, as was the case here, we create a pool of light for them to play in. Luan actively embraced the challenge and put his stamp and personality on the session to a much greater degree than most models.
Luan can alternately project a street-tough meanness and a playful boyishness. Who he actually is, might lie somewhere in between. (And exactly where in between might vary from hour to hour.) English was no problem for a model who has been in the states for only about a year and little direction was needed once the lights were turned on. We feel confident that his exuberant personality and enthusiasm for posing comes out in our collaboration.
Check out Luan's gallery here and be sure to pop into the Art Prints section to see some of the explicit images captured over the course of his 3-hour session. You can find work with one of his fellow Brazilians here [Gabriel].
New models continue to arrive at the studio but we are scaling back our shooting schedule for the time being to focus on publishing the work we have already captured. Look for a couple of new additions coming soon to our photo essays collection.