Switching Roles / Barneys x Bulgari Serpenti Collection
Those that know me know that I love the creative process and I’m always excited to jump in front of the lens for a creative collaboration. If you don’t know me, you should know that the thought of creating concepts excites me. When I started as a conceptual photographer at 14 I lived, slept and breathed photography, there wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t thinking about the next project. Most of my concepts were created alone. I would spend hours sketching ideas and then bringing them to life in Photoshop late at night. Fast forward a few years and with my first taste of fashion photography at 17, I realized I was going through a transition – I was no longer excited about overly conceptual work but became intrigued by style – clothing, trends, luxury. I would browse the pages of luxury magazines and dream of one day being able to turn up to a big set and collaborate with teams, browse racks of beautiful clothing and have stimulating conversations with other creatives.
Although I’m a fashion photographer there’s no denying that I just like to create. If I have an opportunity to pose for a friend’s project I will. For me its not about being ‘seen’, it’s the overall creative aspect – the artists vision. I enjoy watching other artist’s work, how they light, how they add treatment to images, how they pull together a creative concept. There’s no doubt that I learn so much from other people. Most of my friends are photographers or are creative in some way. Some of my best ideas have come from small seeds that have been planted in my head by these innovative friends. I flourish around creative people.
I was recently contacted by Barney’s to join them for an evening of dress-up at their Madison Ave store in NY and the opportunity was too good to pass up. I was invited to join them at the store after hours, pick my favorite pieces and pair them with the new Bulgari Serpenti collection so that I could be photographed wearing them. What woman would say no to that? Not only is Bulgari stunning, the idea of being able to play the part of stylist and subject excited me.
On the day of the shoot I arrived early evening and met photographer Taylor Jewell. Taylor has a knack for creating that ‘glossy’ look in tight, dark spaces (if you haven’t seen her work go check it out) and popped in beautiful light to create dynamic images. I enjoyed talking to her through her creative process. Being a fellow female photographer we were able connect very quickly and keep the energy going into late into evening.
Next came choosing the outfits after hair and make up was complete – I browsed the racks of the store and picked a few pieces that spoke to my personal style – neutrals, minimal, not overly fussy. Now the issue that arose was trying to define in my head what I would be excited about to shoot and what I felt connected to me as a person. My personal style is a little different to what I get excited about when choosing trends to shoot. For me, it’s always about a minimal piece – a black jumpsuit, a black dress, or a pair of flared 70s trousers and an off shoulder top. Usually paired with minimal jewelry, a ring with a necklace, earrings and a bracelet.
I chose the Bulgari Serpenti jewelry and bag pieces around the clothing and it fit perfectly with all of the outfits; while the jewelry are the type of accessory that you can layer without it feeling too heavy. The bags themselves were stand-alone pieces but also didn’t feel too overbearing pairing it with the jewelry. A personal favorite was the earrings – I love anything classic and I’m not afraid to pair classic with a slight edge when dressing. A smokey eye can go a long way with elegant jewelery, a fantastic watch, a jumpsuit and a heel. To me, Bulgari has always had a level of sophistication that stands out. Being a photographer I’m very aware of advertising. I am always conscious of how to best communicate visually with the brands’ target market. It takes care, consideration, a trained eye and a good understanding of style. I live with an archive of imagery in my head and on my desktop and I’m constantly referring back to it for my own shoots. When I was asked to do this shoot, I immediately thought about my personal style and how Bulgari fits beautifully with my minimalist approach.
My favourite part of the shoot for me was the Serpenti bags. We started the shoot near the in-store installation that featured the entire collection of bags and I was like a kid in a candy store. I couldn’t take my eyes off the jewel toned ones and was constantly thinking about concepts for my own shoots and how they could play a part in one of them. A classic clutch or shoulder bag like the ones pictured are usually my day and night go to.
Overall, the experience was one of my childhood dreams come true. What girl doesn’t love to play dress up? And what a magnificent closet to be able to curate styles and play!