I was fortunate enough to land a gig last month as a photography assistant for one of NYC's top street fashion photographers, Andrew Morales (@lifeinreverie) who was doing a test shoot for one of Wilhelmina's freshest faces Hailey Laine (@hailey.lainee). For anyone who hasn't heard of them before, Wilhelmina is a full-service modeling and talent agency that represents and manages models, celebrities, artists, athletes and content creators worldwide, including Nicki Minaj, Nick Jonas, Machine Gun Kelly, Leona Lewis, Shawn Mendes, Dustin Lance Black, Francisco Lachowski, Barbie Ferreira, Robyn Lawley, Sora Choi, and Anne de Paula to name a few.
As a known quantity on the NYC fashion photography scene, Andrew consistently receives work from major model and talent agencies in the city to shoot both new and more established talent (#goals). Hailey signed with Wilhelmina just recently and moved to New York from Chicago less than a week before the shoot; the ink is barely dry on her modeling contract and she's already hit the ground running with her first shoot. Out of all of the artists (yes ... models are artists too) out there, I feel like models often get a bad wrap and are labeled as prima donnas or somehow lacking the work ethic we attribute to other artists such as musicians or actors. Bullshit. Modeling is just as demanding, if not more so, as all the other traditions. Anyone can stand in front of a camera and have their picture taken, but it takes an artist to know how to truly work a shoot and make a photographer or creative director's vision come to life while often wearing restrictive clothing or working in extreme environments and still serving face. Anyway ... I digress.
Andrew popped up on my radar after I came across his collaboration with fashion illustrator Nadeesha Godamunne (@mokshini) for Huffington Post at last year's Afropunk festival. They teamed up and worked the festival in tandem, Andrew capturing images and Mokshini drawing up live illustrations of the same subject, you can check out the full project here. I've been following Andrew ever since and admiring his work from afar but I decided to reach out to him a few weeks ago and let him know I'd be down to assist on one of his shoots. Nothing came together for a while but I got a message from him the day before the shoot saying he needed an assistant and I jumped at the opportunity. "Plans?! .... What plans?! .... Nah I'm free! ... Yeah, I'll be there!"
Most of my exposure to the photography world has been through my classes at Brooklyn Central and the friendships and connections I've made there but as an "outsider" to the industry, I've tried my best to build new relationships whenever possible ... as cliched as it sounds it's often not what you know but who you know and after talking with dozens of photographers I've learned that most of their work comes via word of mouth or referrals. So recently I've been trying my best to jump on any opportunity I have to work with other photographers and start to get my name out there.
Assisting was a great opportunity for me to learn all the moving parts involved in putting together a professional photoshoot. Throughout the day I had the chance to talk with each person on set and learn a little bit about their world and how their contribution plays into a succesful shoot. Scroll down and meet the talented team that I worked with, some behind the scenes shots I captured with my iPhone and Mauricio's Canon 5d Mark iii, and finally a few select images from the shoot. Enjoy!
Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes
Shot on Canon 5d Mark iii
Photographers: Mauricio Jorquera & Obed Obwoge
Shot on Nikon F100 (film)
Photographer: Andrew Morales
I'm continually trying to make choices that put me against my own comfort zone. As long as you're uncomfortable, it means you're growing.
- Ashton Kutcher