matt pointed this girl out to me, near our gate at LA airport. we’re photographers and can’t help noticing beautiful, photogenic strangers. usually i am too shy to ask to take a picture of someone i find beautiful, but this time i had my camera on me and newfound confidence from new york, so i thought why not?
i walked after her and asked her father (who she had clearly gotten her clear sky eyes from) if i could take her picture and he said i could. she did the cute, teethy grin all kids do because they have been taught to look happy in photographs. so i asked her to pretend i wasn’t there, to look like she did before i came. i took this picture, said thankyou and left, feeling proud of myself for being brave.
i think i will be braver in the future, especially when it comes to the strange and lovely creatures on the streets. i never want to forget another beautiful face.
i know you’ve all been wanting to hear about my trip, and i’ve been putting off writing this because there is so much to say and so much i can’t yet say. so i’ve wondered whether i should just wait, or tell you what i can now. and i’m telling. because i know you guys are probably as impatient as i am.
i am just a little fish in a big pond. i guess something about my scales or the way i swam seemed to catch the eyes of the bigger fish. and then suddenly i was on my way to new york because someone wanted me. strange, i know. but i wasn’t scared or intimidated. all the other fish there might have been bigger, but we’re all just fish in the end. and besides, they must have wanted me for a reason.
i remember being on the plane, completely unfeeling, when i heard someone mention new york and that was when it became very real to me. i felt like i was very cold, shiver-y with excitement. like i wanted to stand up and scream. i was seventeen and going to new york to shoot a campaign for a big label. if it all sunk in at once i would have passed out. i know it is only a beginning, but it still felt amazing.
i’m bad with planes, i get ill and can’t sleep well. we landed in LA and then got onto a connecting flight to NYC. we landed there more than 25 hours after leaving home. there was a driver waiting for me at the airport with a sign that said ‘HAKANSON’. my eyes were glued to the car window all the way to the hotel.
my first day in new york was spent in bed. my throat swelled up and i felt like i had the flu. there was a huge bathtub by a window that looked over the lower east side and i sank into the water and just watched. i wasn’t used to seeing so much life.
the following days in new york (up until the day we left) would all be spent shooting. usually from 7:30am until nighttime. the first day we shot in a mansion. it sat beside a lake and was very old. we walked through the rooms with a notebook, writing down ideas for pictures. i met everyone. the equipment guy, the props guys, the other photographer, everyone’s assistants, the makeup artist, the stylists, the hair stylists, the caterer, the models, the producers, the art directors, the clients and people who i didn’t exactly know what they did but i knew it was important. everyone kind of became family to me after a while.
on top of what i already had i asked for an 85mm 1.2L II, 50mm 1.2L, 16-35mm 2.8L II + 35mm 1.4L. plus a 580 EX II flash. apologies if you’re not a photographer and this makes no sense to you. the lenses were beautiful, i became somewhat obsessed with the 85mm, and used the 35mm a lot too. it was insane how possible everything became. if i wanted a shot, everyone would make it happen. if i wanted a prop, the props guys would get it.
there was catering all day long. seeing as food is my second love, i ate my weight in pastries, chocolate strawberries, yoghurt parfaits and ravioli. the moments i wasn’t eating i was shooting. so really it was all some kind of heaven for me. not to mention there was a candy store across the road from the hotel, so on the day of the flight (the only time i actually had the time to go) i went candy crazy.
the models were from brazil, france, canada, london, paris and all over. everyone came from different parts of the world. namely france and italy. i found it funny how very few americans were there.
(being stupid on photobooth)
one day we shot in a new jersey highschool. i was walking through the halls and gyms and i felt like i was in a movie. we even ate in the cafeteria. that night we all had new york pizzas. the pieces were the size of my head and god, so so good. i was laughing at the models shovelling the pizza in their mouths. who said models don’t eat!
so much happened during those days of shooting. i learnt so much about the way i work, from others and myself. i shot 400 GIGs of images and i didn’t tire of it. my passion didn’t die out and i shot until my wrists ached (and boy did they ache). but when i have a camera in my hand i don’t feel the cold, my self-consciousness or my suffering feet. it’s how i’ve adapted.
i laughed so much. working with super confident boy models is one of the most hilarious things. it was all a lot of fun. the night we finished i was running around with mickey mouse ears, eating cupcakes and drinking wine. we were in an enormous chateau.
then my ears were taken off me (apparently i looked too childish, hmph) and we went to a bar. thanks to the male model chatting up the pretty bartender i got away with the other photographer’s ID.
me and matt left early and explored the lower east side at night. we had the next morning free before our flight so we shopped. it’s seems like forever ago but it was only the other morning. which feels cruel. i wish i could have stayed.
jesus how i miss new york. the bright lights, life and even the loudness of it all. it’s alive and things happen there. i happened there and i will happen there again.
i feel like i’ve said nothing in this whole post, like i’ve left out the world, but i won’t go on forever. and if you know me or will know me, maybe i’ll tell you more stories when i see you.
here are some pictures of me on the last day (the image at the top, and the image below this taken by matt).