Shooting an Editorial for Spirit and Flesh Magazine in NYC

My agent, Timothy Priano, got me an appointment with Spirit & Flesh on the first day I landed in NYC back in April. Jetlagged and freezing cold, I took the train to Park Slope and met fashion editor Yelena Deyneko. I had just come from a visit to Irving Penn’s former studio and I was reeling from all those creative vibes. I wanted to do a behind-the-scenes shoot where a model gets ready backstage and then gets photographed. I wanted to use Penn’s actual studio that I had just visited and the owner had agreed to let me use it. So I pitched that idea to Yelena and she loved it!

This shoot didn’t take me long to prep. I used Irving Penn images as a mood board and had my agency, abtp, secure a stylist for me. Eryka Clayton signed on based on my mood board. This was going to be my first time working with Eryka and I had no clue it would be the beginning of a great working relationship.

However, somewhere between pitch and shoot date, the studio fell through. Well, that sucks but such is life. So I rented another studio. What else can you do?

While the back up studio didn’t have the grand vibes of the master’s creative juices flowing through the air, it was a decent working studio somewhere in NYC. Yet, my whole concept was based on Irving Penn and the idea of a model getting ready in this grand, yet quiet and simple space. So my mood board might’ve as well been tossed in the East River and the whole shoot had to take on a different vibe. I’m not unhappy with the end results but I feel it’s a bit disconnected only because I had to basically re-think the concept and make it work in a different space with very little notice.

However, and if you know my writing by now, you know exactly what I’m about to say: Your TEAM is EVERYTHING. When I had to make that SOS call to Eyrka to tell her we had to go in a slightly but kinda’ hugely different direction, her reply was, “No worries, we’ll make it work”.

Thank God for Talent.

The Magazine titled the shoot Tuesday and it’s basically A Day in The Life of a Model. Model shows up, gets in to hair and make up, gets dressed and gets photographed. Megi with Fusion Models was our Muse for the day. I finally got to work with Rachel Cook who did make up. I met Rachel in Capri, Italy on a “fashionista girls from Brooklyn go wild Italian Style”……well, I don’t know if it was THAT crazy as it sounds. We never worked together until this day. Jonathan Mason did hair, and we’ve worked together a bunch of times. My fab assistants Luis Vidal and Brandon Lewis helped me pull this shoot off.

For lighting I used my favorite Profoto Beauty Dish and an Octabank. I incorporated the actual lighting set ups in the photographs, as you can see in some of the shots. Since it’s a BTS of a fashion shoot, I thought it would be cool to see the lighting set ups. For the outdoor shots, we just used your average reflector. No additional lighting was set up outside. I shot everything on my Nikon D800 with my 24mm, 85mm and my 105mm lenses.

Sometimes you have to turn problems into solutions because at the end of the day, The Show Must Go On. xoxo


Melissa Rodwell