Breaking The Mold!

sulaah bien-aime, sulaah, photography
sulaah bien-aime, sulaah, photography

With the summer months upon us, I am excited because this is when I focus on full fashion photography. I go on location, work with a full team from designers, hairstylists, make-up artists’ and models. This year promises to be even more interesting and eclectic with what I have planned. Over the winter months, I primarily focused on a beauty series because it was an easier and a simpler option for indoor shooting. Additionally, this is one area of my portfolio that had been lacking in terms of high key lighting, low key and conceptualized portraiture. It’s important when a potential client visits your site that you have these images in your portfolio. Having these images shows my range and skill level as a photographer.

My goal is to work or have my work featured in top magazines that I am a big fan of. My dream wish list is W Magazine, V Magazine, Paper Magazine, Milk and Interview Magazine to name a few. As you comb through the pages of these magazines I mentioned above, they are doing their best to represent the artistic culture of fashion and art through photography. The most important draw for me besides their amazing feature concepts is the diversity of the models that is featured across each page. As a black woman born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, I am inspired by the arts, culture and the melting pot that is New York City. With that being said, the pages of all magazines in my opinion should be a representation of our society as a whole, which is not the case.

In a few years, I believe diversity will be more prominent within the fashion industry. With newer modeling agencies like Smart Models Management and Westhaven Management who feature a wide range of models from diverse backgrounds, these agencies are challenging the beauty ideology. Models from Smart Models and Westhaven come in all shapes, sizes and height. They are accepted and celebrated for who they are as individuals. This has reignited a passion within minority models to pursue careers in modeling. It’s interesting to see the re-evolution of this new identity that is taking shape within the fashion industry. There is a glimmer of hope that we can go back to the idea of the “supermodel,” to follow in the footsteps of the greats such as Adrienne Fideline, Dorothea Towles Church, Donyale Luna and Naomi Sims. I will be writing an in depth blog about the contributions of each of these models and how their history would open doors for models that you have known and love such as the great Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Beverly Johnson, Alek Wek, Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid to name of a few. I will be addressing all minority models across the board.

An elder told me that the role of photographer/filmmaker is to document. As I sat there and pondered that thought, everything became clear to me. In the summer months, you will be seeing several conceptual fashion shoots. As I work on them, I will release them. The idea now is to just put the work out there instead of waiting for a magazine to decide whether my work is good enough or fit their culture or whatever standards that one may have. The role of someone who documents, is to put the work out there and let people be a witness to beauty, art, and most imporantly diversity.

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