The day Ohio stood still: A Dark fashion editorial
As with every end of the year I sit and think of goals for Blind 7, some small and some large. Setting goals helps push me throughout the year to grow and better myself as a person and as an artist. 2014 was no different, and coming to the end of December I had set a few goals for the new year. Looking back on it I nailed on the head. I got to travel more, I got to shoot new faces, and I completed some large projects. One of those goals i made for myself was to shoot a Dark Fashion editorial in hopes of having it published in a magazine such as Vogue or W. That was the goal i wanted to tackle first in 2015.
At the very beginning of January I sat down and started planning this dark fashion editorial. I put so much time and planning into this shoot. First I found an amazing designer, Horst Cotoure. As my luck would have it, it just so happens he was local (that like NEVER happens). I contacted the designer and set up a sit down meeting with him as soon as we could. Juliet and I headed out to his studio and took a look at his stunning gowns and very unique designs. I explained to him my ideas, and what i was hoping for at the end of this project, and he was on board from the first meeting.
Over the next few days I was introduced to a Stunning model named Kellie who i wanted to book as one of the models to wear Horsts beautiful and one of a kind gowns. She then offered her beautiful home as a location to use for the shoot. Already knowing I wanted her involved as a model it was a no brainier, location secured, and one model booked!
After a few more days of searching I came across another local designer, a jewelry designer. I contacted her to set up a consult, the same kind of meeting I had had with Horst. I went down to her studio and her collection of jewelry was even more stunning in person. Another big win for Blind 7, another amazing local designer. I explained everything i wanted to do, and everything i hoped to accomplish, and without any hesitation Bunny Paige was now on board as our jewelry and accessories designer. Over the next few weeks we found and confirmed the rest of the production team and models, and then secured the date, February 21st 2015.
The final weeks leading up to the shoot was typical Ohio weather, Cold and all over the place. For those of you that are not from Ohio we have a saying here “Don’t like the weather….wait 15 min” this stems from the fact that on any given day in Cleveland we can see all 4 seasons. It gets kind of crazy. The day before the shoot it was around the 50 degree mark, but it true Ohio fashion that changed quickly. I had a group of 14 people traveling over a hour to Kellie’s beautiful house, and one model traveling almost 9 hours to the shoot location.
When I awoke the morning of the shoot I found a frozen tundra with a snow storm rolling in. Needless to say it was a long and icy drive to the location, but each and every person involved made it to the location (mostly on time) and in good spirits despite the crazy travel there. After a quick tour of Kellie’s beautiful and amazing home, which by the way her beast of a hubby built with his own two hands.He designed it himself when he was just a kid. There is a framed photo on the wall of the original sketch he did in school and the house looks the same. Talk about a dream home!
The team quickly got to work. Juliet and Amanda setting up hair and make up stations in the dining room, Josh setting up a make shift charging and dumping station for the photos and video files in one of the day rooms, my team scouting rooms and setting up equipment, and the models socializing and relaxing before the long day.
Over the next 9 hours we shot, we laughed, and we created stunning look after look. Everyone worked so well together. Half way through the shoot Kellie and her Husband cooked everyone a FAT dinner. We took a break to eat, recharge, and regather our thoughts. The food was amazing, Kellie and her Husband really went above and beyond. I cant thank them enough for all they did for this shoot. Once the day was over we packed up said our goodbyes and let Kellie and Ben have there house back and we made the cold snowy trek back home.
Over the next week I sat down and got to editing. Once the photos were done I got to work on the BTS video that Josh Apple had shot of the whole day. Still new to video editing It took me awhile to teach myself the program, but Im defiantly not new to teaching myself how to do new things. Once I completed all that, now came the hard part of this whole crazy adventure…submissions.
I created a press pack for the editorial including a selection of the photos, a short story about the shoot, and a link to the video. I sent it off to the editor of W magazine and then to Vogue. Then I waited…and I waited. After 30 days I submitted to 2 more magazines and waited. After another 2 weeks i had heard nothing. Despite Feeling discouraged, I kept submitting to magazine after magazine in hope that someone would like to add this editorial to their magazine. I received a few replies here and there, but they all said the same thing:
“These are awesome photos, however we cannot offer you a full editorial. We would love to publish 1 or 2 images from this set”
I didn’t want only 1 or 2 people to get published and recognition for this amazing content we all produced. It was a group effort and i couldnt have done it without them. I wanted everyones work and effort that was involved to be seen. The team, the models, the designers, and I had worked so hard on all of this and I refused to pick and choose, so I kept looking for someone that wanted to publish at least one of everyone. Almost a year passed with no avail.
Recently i thought we had found a magazine (they will remain nameless) they said
“YES, we would love to publish this editorial content and would love to use one as a possible cover feature”
It wasn’t W or Vogue but it was still a magazine with a good following, so I said yes lets do this. I spent 2 hours answering interview questions, sending hirez files, and all the correct credit information for everyone involved. We thought our patience has finally paid off!
When the issue came out the following month my heart sank! They had not used one for the cover, but at least i got all of us a 5 page editorial that we all worked so hard for right!?
I was so excited for all of us! Everyone had worked so hard, and i thought it was finally paying off. I anxiously flipped through the magazine, only to find 2 pages. One was filled with those usual interview questions and a small image of just one of the 8 sets we did, and the second page was a larger photo of the image they had said they might use as the cover. Then i started looking at the credits, happy for at least they few people who got published…but my heart sank again… they had not included everyone and miss credited certain roles. Feeling very frustrated I contacted the magazine hoping to rectify the incorrect and missing credits and got a half assed, oh sorry, shit happens kind of response.
Feeling beyond frustrated at this point, i was ready to give up. I asked the groups opinion since we all worked so hard together. Some were ready to just say fuck it and release the content we had been sitting on for a year, and some wanted to keep submitting them to other magazines. Majority ruled so I kept submitting the content. Over the next 3 months I submitted to another 8-10 magazines. They all said the same thing, they loved the content and wanted to publish it, but get so many submissions they couldn’t use all 8 sets, they only wanted to use 2 to 3 images, but again, i coudnt pick and choose, it wanted it to be fair for everyone involved, everyone who worked so hard and waited so patiently.
Over the last year I have shot so many other amazing series and concepts. I have grown so much as an artist and a creative director. I felt like these images were fading and it was time to share them with the world. Sure it may not have been the goal, and the way we all wanted to release them but Im so proud of my team and everyone involved, so I decided its time to release them.
Not reaching the original goal is hard to swallow, but somethings it happens and sometimes things are out of your control. But that doesn’t mean you give up. I created some images I am very proud of. I wanted to create a dark fashion editorial and i did just that. I dont see this as giving up, I see this as a reset. To start over and try again. Im planing a redo, along with a ton of other larger projects this year. With it now being well into 2016 I have a whole new set of goals. It never hurts to bring old goals from previous years with you into the future, just remember, Never give up on your dreams, no one is going to make them happen except YOU!
I hope you enjoy this series as much as I enjoyed creating it with all the beautiful, hardworking, and talented team members involved!
Photographer: Abe Robinson – Blind 7 photography www.blind7photography.com
Make up Artists:
⦁ Gypsy Freeman – https://www.facebook.com/FacesOfGypsy
⦁ Juliet Blind – https://www.facebook.com/julietblindsfxmua
⦁ Amanda Barnoski – http://amanda43093.wix.com/amandabarnoski#!hair/ckra
⦁ Katelynn Newberry – ⦁ http://www.katelynnenewberry.com
⦁ Gypsy Freeman – https://www.facebook.com/FacesOfGypsy
⦁ Nikki Roeder – https://www.facebook.com/nikkinicole.roeder
⦁ Kellie James – http://www.modelmayhem.com/3485655
⦁ First assistant: Juliet Blind
⦁ Second Assistant: Kim Cunningham
⦁ Third assistant: Sonika Saini
⦁ Behind the scenes Photography: Nikki Nisly – http://www.nikkinislyphotography.com/
⦁ Behind the scenes Video Production – Josh Apple
⦁ Kellie and Ben James