Yesterday I hauled-ass from Hollywood to Santa Monica beach for a very important reason: my first photo shoot since moving to LA.
When I say I was feeling nervous......
I think one could credit the fact that I haven't had images to update the web shop or market my new designs with since moving here exclusively to this nervousness.
Nervous about what? My thoughts have been racing for months: what will be the backdrop, if not the staggering NYC skyline and buildings I've grown to adore so much? My usual eye for framing my models amidst beautifully tough graffiti is not useful here. Los Angeles streets are not that striking.
What was really going is that I have been lacking inspiration since arriving here, not knowing yet where to find it. I've felt only the longing for comfort and shameful regret since my move. No longer waking up to the sounds of car horns and trash trucks, which had become normal to me without my knowing.
Now it's all blue birds and sunshine, but that's not been the source of my vision or motivation for 10 years...
Hayley was one of the first people to agree to let me photograph her over 12 years ago, in Arizona. I endured continued rejection while first getting started with Stickybaby. No one was interested in experimenting with me or trying on my clothes. Hayley came into frame like a light beam, and the magic we created that night transcended borders and airwaves.
The photos we made together garnered a lot of attention and we both broke off from each other then to pursue our respective talents; mine designing my own clothes and her modeling for the likes of LA based indie brand Miaou to the legendary Thierry Mugler all the way in Milan.
Fast forward to yesterday, when I asked Hayley if she would be up for a shoot together.
My panic began to set in as we walked around her lovely beachside neighborhood, searching for a compelling backdrop. "There's nothing for me here".... my thoughts sang out. No interesting signage or artful street graffiti. Just plants, trees, sunshine and one somewhat cool but small water fountain...
Then I learned something. We got back to her place to change outfits and we started testing the lighting in there. Suddenly the shoot came to life.
I realized the reason I always shot on the streets in New York is because the apartments are not the heart of that city, the streets are. Here is Los Angeles, the homes ARE. Hayley's lovely home echoed the thoughtful touches and beauty her and her partner have created together. She spun on a favorite record of hers: Paul McCartney & Wings Band on the Run. "This is an original record, like it's from the '70's babe!!" Hayley's excitement and love for records fueled our emerging magic.
Click, click, BOOM! The cherry flavored wood and cozy rugs splashed about the abode created a warm and inviting backdrop. She danced around comfortably as I snapped away. Capturing my first photo shoot in LA, and what felt finally like an overdue surrender; a coming home. Welcome back.