I've got to give Michael Schwartz credit for persistence and passion. I've watched his photography evolve bit by bit, but its clear he has a really good eye. For months he's been trying to engage me to help him on the concepts and the art direction of his shoots. I've been very reluctant because I feel I'm at the point where I should finesse one certain skill- writing - and not be a such dilettante art-director ( Or even worse, yet-another-stylist.)
In any case a few months ago I emailed Mike some references on 80's illustrator Tony Viramontes to play with for a shoot he was lensing. I also popped into the shoot, which for the record had a stylist. I tried to verbalize how Viramontes' illustrations were perfect for translation into photography and didn't really require a massive use of labels to get the point across. Well, sometimes words fail you and on this day they failed me. So I started wrapping some fabric I had found in this African fabric store on 37th Street on the models as turbans and little cloaks to illustrate, literally, the point. Mike liked it and snapped some shots of the results.
That's the thing I admire about Mike. He is very willing to work through the developmental process of shooting fashion. He's very wilfull and very humble at the same time and it's a great combination. We promised to revisit the idea at a later date and really bite into and twist up the reference to take it into the here and now. These pics will be kind of our test shots and point of departure, Mike color choices for the background are interesting in so far as they are unexpected. I have to say it was fun throwing Rasta wraps and African turbans on Russian girls. Its the world we live in, no?