I’ve always like shooting with Vida. She’s as pro as they come, so much so that some days don’t even feel like we’re working. She does her thing, I do mine, and we’ve each done it 1000 times. So when the publisher of Vida’s mag (yes, she now commands her own entire title) contacted me with the “after dark” concept, I thought “Well, here’s something new.”
For one, I’ve always shot not only Vida, but nearly every other model either in a studio or outdoors in sunlight. Suddenly with an issue that would predominantly feature outdoor night shots, I had to get creative—especially technically. I decided to reach into my old cinematography bag of tricks and pull out all the “night shot” classics: fog machine, silhouettes, out of focus cityscapes—the works.
We shut down the Highlands club in Los Angeles for day one (it was pouring down rain and my poor photo assistant Ashley slipped and fell down the escalator.), and the shoot went relatively smoothly until an hour before wrap. We were shooting the cover shot (cabaret on stage with smoke) and our fog machine tripped the smoke detectors on the entire complex. Though I apologized profusely to the LAFD, one wonders how in fact the club didn’t set it off nightly. Sensitive little buggers.
On day 2 we secured a house high atop Studio City, with a killer view. The owner was, let’s say, eccentric. Naturally, in freezing October temperatures I forced Vida to get in the unheated pool (I’m horrible, I know). But my favorite setup was the lingerie look on dry land. I had my assistants smoke up the background, but the wind was strong so it kept blowing away. I had them put it on full-blast, but then suddenly the wind stopped, and then the fog was so thick I couldn’t see Vida. So for haha’s I took a test shot—and fell in love with the look. I could barely make out her silhouette, and she was surrounded by an ethereal glow. Magic!
Though I didn’t know it at the time, we were shooting what would become my 100th magazine cover. Though I hardly feel my career has been long enough to look back, moments like these offer a great opportunity to stop, reflect, and realign yourself with your new goals.