Grey Gardens + Video

29 May

Genlux Spring Editorial and Video

Genlux Spring 1

Got a call from Stephen in January asking me if I wanted to shoot for the Spring issue of Genlux. The theme was Royal. I’ve had this idea in my head that would need a set designer. I wanted to have someone  build a room from scratch to emulate the attic room from “The Little Princess”, a novel written in 1904 by Frances Hogdson Burnett. I read the story when I was a kid and the imagery described in the novel left an impression on my imagination. Of course I didn’t know when I read the novel at 9 that I would be producing a fashion shoot around the story some 35 years later!!!  But immediately when Stephen said “the theme is Royal”, my mind went straight to the story of The Little Princess. The first thing I did was contact a set designer to see if he was available to do the shoot and if he wanted to work on it with me. Jamie Dean agreed to meet with me at my house so I could show him some visuals and we could talk about the kind of set I wanted built and the props I wanted to use. He brought his laptop and showed me his inventory of props while we went through images that I had collected before our meeting that depicted the mood I wanted to recreate for my shoot. Once he agreed to work on the shoot with me, I collected all the images together from his props to the images I had collected and we narrowed the look down so I could create a mood board to send to Stephen.

Watch the Video

I shot this editorial at Out of Frame Studio in the middle of Hollywood. You gotta’ love their blog title: “Fashion Forward Meets Punk Rock”. Yep, you know I totally dig that one! The guys that run Out of Frame are just real nice people!  And their studio is this big huge space you can just go in and create in. It’s conveniently located right next door to Calumet, so last minute gear rentals are really easy.  The evening before the shoot, Out of Frame let  Jamie and I come in to start building the room out. It was a lot of fun to watch Jamie put together this room that came in 6 pieces! I got to decide which wall the windows would go in, and how many. I got to pick the color of walls and where they would go. He brought in most of the large pieces of furniture and I plotted out a shot list as I watched him put the walls up. I left  about an hour after meeting Jamie there and he, along with his two assistants, continued building the set. By the time we arrived in the morning for the 9 AM call time, the room was done!!


John Waiblinger was kind enough to come down for a second week in a row of my editorial shoots and do a Behind the Scenes video. Oh how I am so camera shy!!! I don’t know what it is about having a camera pointed at me, but it drives me crazy. Probably why I’m not much of a “screamer at the models” type photographer. It’s like, “Yeah, I get it….it’s weird getting your picture taken!” Haha…No…I’m not that laid back about it, but my camera shyness is definitely something I’ve noticed about myself lately, as there have been a few of these videos being done now on my shoots. Oh well, I do them for you. So I hope you’re  enjoying them! I can’t imagine doing a reality TV series. I would have panic attacks with cameras in my face all the time. I’d LOSE it!


The model was from Photogenics. Lovely little Zinta. She was pretty shy herself, in fact she was so shy she barely said a word the whole day. I thought she was from Europe or Russia and couldn’t speak English very well. Come to find out, she’s from the Valley. And just pretty quiet. Hair was done by Jason Stanton, a very well dressed English man who does rockin’ hair, I must say. And Sally Wang did the make up. She also killed it! Amazing job they BOTH did. Jason and Sally are both from Cloutier Remix Agency. Styling was by Kelvin Seah, my oft mentioned favorite stylist with the impeccable taste and fantastic eye. I might also add he’s incredibly nice!  Kelvin is with AIM Artists here in LA. We rented a fog machine from Out of Frame so it was at the studio when we arrived in the morning. After grabbing more coffee (why do we always drink so much coffee when we’re shooting??) Tyler Mitchell, my rad 1st assistant (I’m using the word RAD lately, and I’m sticking to it for awhile) and another assistant started setting up my lighting the way I wanted it. We put a huge chimera soft box right on the other side of the  window so we could blast light into the “room”.  We blasted about a total of 600 Watts through one head on that side, so not a lot. To the left we put up my beauty dish, white dish, for a key light on the model. It was up rather high, actually. I think we were about even on the watts on that head as well. I shot with my D2x. Nothing fancy. Same workhorse of a camera, same love affair with Nikon since day one. This Love will never fade. Although I did work with a Hassy yesterday on a shoot that I will blog about in about 4 months when the editorial is out. I have to say, while I was looking through the images shot on the Hassy this morning, man, I think I really want to own one. SO AMAZING of a CAMERA. ; )


But back to this shoot! Besides “The Little Princess” book as my inspiration, the music of Proyecto Oniric is so hauntingly beautiful it literally took my breath away the first time I heard it. Every time I hear his music, I go into my head to revel in imaginative narratives and fantasies. When a book or a song or a band can take you to those places, you’ve found a rare and wonderful tool, so they are a keeper. The first night I found Proyecto’s music was when we all were still on myspace. Ha…yeah, the golden years. I stumbled on his profile by accident, listened to every song on his profile, wrote him immediately and asked him where I could buy his music. Back then, it was unavailable. Today, he has a website and his music is available through iTunes. His music is tremendously powerful to me. I definitely recommend at least listening to his music. So…we basically had a great day shooting! I mean, what can I say? The pre-production was all done and when you work with the best, you get the best results. There were no dramas, no hassles, as there shouldn’t be. There were no tech issues, which can’t be helped sometimes, but I don’t recall having any bumps that day. The clothes were brilliant, the team was the best, the studio was perfect, the set was amazing. I’m trying to see if I have forgotten anything? I shot mostly wide, so I used my old analog 24 MM lens. I shot wide because I wanted to see the set we were in. I wanted the smoke and the gritty feel of an attic apartment that has seen better days. But the girl is still a princess living in that squalor. So here’s the images and the video that John did. Hope you enjoy! Now I’m off to wrap up yesterday’s shoot, prep Tuesday’s shoot and somewhere in middle of all this work, figure out when I can find the time to train a new person that I’m hiring to join my crazy world soon! I Facebooked about needing to hire another me! No one has applied for the position yet. (That’s a joke, please don’t send me an email applying for the job!)  Oh and if you live or are near Orlando, Florida you must come to SNAP! Orlando May 20th through the 23rd. There’s an exhibition with some of the world’s most renowned  photographers like Douglas Kirkland (you MUST check out his work if you don’t know it) There are also some pretty informative lectures going on that weekend as well.  I’m doing one on Saturday May 22nd at 1:30 PM. I’ll be speaking about the business of Fashion Photography. Come introduce yourself!  After SNAP! Orlando is finished, we’re heading over to the middle of Florida to visit our friend, Suzanne Sturgill. She’s planning on taking David and I on her boat down some alligator infested river to this spot that has the best Mai Tai’s in the South. Honestly, I think Suzanne organizes these trips because her and her friends just get the biggest laugh over watching us “City Folks” trip out over the smallest things. Some of David’s and my favorite memories are sitting on Suzanne’s big porch under the moon, eating chicken they smoked themselves, drinking Crown Royals, listening to the crickets and watching the Spanish Moss swing in the breeze.  We talk about those nights all the time and tell all our jaded Hollywood friends about it constantly. Suzanne shoots horses. In other words, she is hired to shoot Champion Horses. Like the kind that sell for ,000, 000.00. Yeah, that’s 4 million. You read that right. And she’s an incredible shooter. She’s also a woman that I admire tremendously. Go check out her work. Her and I couldn’t be from two entirely different worlds than each others but man, I love her to pieces!! She’s genuine. And I have to say, that goes far in my book.  Okay, seriously now, I gotta’ run. See you soon!

Additional Images


Genlux Spring 5


GenluxSpring3All Images ©2010 Melissa Rodwell Photography

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