(this one was from my main blog 2 years ago)
Just wanted to write today about one thing that confuses me…this syndrome of a huge team.

You write to a model, or she writes to you first, and the first thing she asks is, “will there be the MUAH? How about stylist?”

I have worked with many teams, big and small, and I can say with certainty, the size of the team doesn’t affect the picture’s quality, nor popularity, nor ability to be published.

A simple example: in October, I will have my second picture published with Dark Beauty magazine (over 1.3 million fans on FB alone). This time we will be both online and in print. The image was done by a small team — MUAH, model, and me. The model was swimming in the quarry under the rain. Wearing her own dress. Simple, but deliberate makeup, no lighting, no brands. The reason the photo got published is because of the creative idea, and it’s implementation.

Another example is The Dream Project — my first personal exhibition in the US, large prints on the walls of Trade restaurant, and opening reception. Only one of 4 works involved the makeup artist, none involved stylist. Another one — “Misplaced” series — published as a fashion editorial even though it was model’s first photoshoot, no MUAH or stylist involved — we had the idea, and we implemented it. Icarus (aka Stand By Me) for Institute Mag — also with a first time model and we had only two looks — jeans with black and with a white T-shirt. The most popular picture on my FB (it scored over 6900 likes) was a new model, New York City, rain, photoshoot, and 20 minutes.

What I am trying to say is… photography is about moments, and sometimes to create a moment, you need a skilled stylist, makeup artist, very experiences model, sophisticated vision, much like my mermaid or Mongolia travel, or our latest picture on the Vogue Italia website. But sometimes what you need most is the connection with a model, and the feeling of adventure and extra people on set kill both. So my strategy is to only involve additional people if there is a good reason. For instance, in New Orleans (first Dark Beauty picture), we needed extravagant makeup, hair, and complicated styling, including rare jewelry. We also needed a boat and access to swamps, and a person who know the swamps well — so we had 8 people in a team, and it was amazing. For Dream #2 picture (6.4k likes), I just wanted to show a person who I find extremely beautiful inside and out, so it’s been only two of us, and it was amazing as well.

Next Chapter: Model Casting

Next Up: Location Scouting