On the 7th Floor of Bergdorf Goodman is BG Restaurant overlooking Central Park and interior designed by Kelly Wearstler. I love this space – there's a magical energy about it when you're there. This is the third year in a row that I've photographed this intimate private breakfast fashion event that takes place early in the morning before the restaurant and store opens. The models were wearing clothing from Fall 2015 collections.
The client was looking to update her LinkedIn profile and wanted a natural look and unstuffy presentation as a professional in the field of Urban Planning. In addition to getting what we needed for her LinkedIn headshot, I also wanted to get some shots that felt like beautiful portraits and that will give her more options for when she submits photos of herself for other industry publicity and editorial purposes. Makeup artist Rachel Tolin racheltolinmakeup.com provided the perfect makeup and hair. Having an experienced pro do the the makeup is so important for a successful portrait and I was happy to have Rachel bring her expertise to the shoot. We did two looks – we started off in the park and then came back to the studio for the second look.
Two wonderful men and a beautiful couple joined by their adorable french bulldogs which of course made the shoot that much more fun. The dogs loved posing and were so perfect to work with. Having a bulldog myself (who was there for support along with Chris behind the camera) I made sure we had water on hand for the bullys on the warm day. I love how the white stone on the staircase helped to reflect fill light on my subjects. These are actually the proofs, so there's no retouching or dodging and burning on these, only digital processing from the RAW files. I'll do a very small amount of retouching when I give them their final files but they don't need much. I had scouted out the location the day before so I knew I wanted to do one of our shots in this shaded open light area along the staircases with the line of direct sunlight hitting the stairs to the side. The structure also made for a cozy spot at the same time providing the feeling of a grand staircase.
When I would pass by this rock everyday in Riverside Park on the Upper West Side, I knew there was a portrait I wanted to do here. When Al came to visit New York I asked if she would be interested in doing a "no-makeup" portrait. As a belly dance artist and former model, Allison has been professionally photographed many times – gorgeous photos, usually with full makeup and costuming. As a friend, I usually see her in a more non-performative mode. So for our shoot I wanted to share her unembellished beauty that I get to see and experience when I'm with her; and create some unmasked drama of our own in black & white. As a portrait photographer, one of the things I am most interested in is providing my subjects with an opportunity to have an embodied experience. No matter how short or long the time is that we have together, my approach is aimed at getting individuals to become present by getting in their bodies. Of course in this case Allison is a dancer, so I was working with someone who comes in with a strong connection to who she is in her body and someone who is comfortable and skilled in moving. My interest here was to move away from pre-determined poses and dance positions and work with Al in a way that allowed her to explore organic improvised movements that included a relationship to the environment. Then later, as we moved away from the rocks the strong morning sun was coming through the trees. We walked around the wooded area of the park and I used the sunlight to create the dramatic light on Al's face.