What is art if we don’t use it as an opportunity to say something more? Many of my favorite photographers are so brave with the stories they share, and I want to make certain to use my very small platform to say something as well.
One thing I have recently learned is that a statement can be made within an editorial, while still serving the original purpose of the shoot. I was recently entrusted with the Spring fashion editorial in Nashville Lifestyles Magazine. I was tasked to shoot a high fashion editorial featuring local shops and designers that the reader could go to and snatch up the featured items if desired. We were specifically shooting for the food and restaurant issue. This subject matter had my brain longing to weave a more complex layered tale within the photos. The magazine has presented many fashion features in the past. I wanted to seize this opportunity to say something different in the pages I had been given to create within.
The familiar phrase “farm to table” was brought up, and it stood out clearly in my mind. I began thinking about how just about everywhere I go these days has a similar “farm to table” claim. While I am in full support of this notion ( I love knowing where my food is coming from ), I find it somewhat amusing at times. Who are we if we cannot take a moment to reflect and have a small chuckle at ourselves? These words sent me down a long tunnel of phrases I have recently seen on Instagram like “#liveauthentic” and the idea of living an authentic existence that is somehow magically captured on our tiny screens. My brain then traveled a bit further down this visual rabbit hole. I was reminded how many of the Instagram photos I see of cookies being baked, veggies chopped, and other food preparations were made to look like they were executed in an old farm house… all the while knowing the images were created in their apartment in the city. These tricks to sweeten up reality on social media became inspiration for the shoot.
The Spring editorial soon began to take shape, and I knew I wanted to do a shoot about these two girls who appropriated “farm-life” cultures in order to be “in” and make better social media posts. The girls live in a beautiful mansion, yet reject the fancies of modern technology in order to live a more authentic existence. The two young models in the story are pictured taking the classic over the table Instagram plated food shot, and a selfie on a vintage camera with the aid of a very long trigger cord. Luxury leather goods became replacements for grocery bags holding fresh veggies, and bonnets created by my friend and stylist Ashley Balding of Ona Rex were placed atop their braided heads. Many stellar vintage pieces from Savant Vintage were mixed and paired with modern designers to add a layered, storied effect to the shoot including Victoria Beckham dresses from Jamie, and other designers.
I have reserved my more ambitious stories to be told when resources are readily available. The magazine was excited about fulfilling the vision, and the farm tables filled with veggies and pewter plates were sourced to bring the vision to life.
My goal is that you can now look at these images with just a little bit more to think about, while leaving a smile across your face. It is my hope that I use what skills I have been given to say something, and this is what I will be pursuing more and more as the year presses on.