Following a grandiose Gothic Renaissance photo session and a short sleep, we headed to the next artistic session that week-end, unaware of how hyper-intensive it will become. Looking back, I might say it was the most exhausting non-wedding gig I have done so far. By end of the day, I was falling asleep, not quite behind the camera but while the clients were preparing for their last series. Driving the crew around the three boroughs and visiting half a dozen locations in the course of 15 hours might have added to the stress. And all of this fun — just prior to a Sunday wedding, making a third all-out intense shooting day in a row. The outtake is, however, what matters.
Meet our demanding client, Yelena Kim. A young lady who dreams of modeling, who’s passionate about photography, who managed to squeeze her session into my packed calendar despite almost being talked against having a session this year. She may be holding a unique title of the one who outperformed her photographer on an energetic level… I want to believe that it was only possible due to my condition, sandwiched under high pressure between two large gigs.
Her request was to try several characters, from gentle to dare-devilish. Under our guidance and per the developed themes, she shopped hard and came with the bags of outfits. We picked up the makeup artist and the hairstylist, and headed to a point in Queens. While she was being prepared for the shoot, I scouted the area with Olga, found a cool taxi shop, a nice view of Manhattan, and a wall of graffiti. Sweet-talking my way through the people between us and the desired targets, testing our luck with risque ideas in public under a weak cover of rain, getting honks and whistles from the passing drivers, we worked our way through the four spots there and moved on to our Manhattan studio for quite a change in her outfit. The Central Park from there, dramatic lighting in the dusk by a lake with a cityscape on the horizon, then back to studio. Yelena was later joined by her innocent boyfriend who faced her request to get fully undressed, and then she followed… Getting the appropriate support from us, both made it through.
Around 10 PM, it had to be the end. Few hours later, I passed out in my bed catching what I could before jumping up at 6:30 AM for a wedding. People ask me what drives me. Go figure… I do not drink coffee, I care little about the Red Bull, and don’t even mention any substances to me… I don’t know what it is other than the thrust to reach the goal, desire to outperform myself and while at it, wowing the client…
– Ed Hafizov – photography, production, and post-production
– Olga Mironova – photography, styling, and assisting
– Yelena Kim and Alexander – models
– Lindsey – makeup, Rouge Studio
– Tristan Waikong – hair styling