Film Noir


When I look back, maybe a few months from now or a year from now, I will probably look at this Film Noir series as my break through shoot in terms of aggressively pursuing the ideas that I see play out in my mind. I love this photographic style because it is reminiscent of Hollywood’s post-war Film Noir Period of the 1940s through 1950s. I appreciate art that is dated because it’s organic. During the 1940s and 1950s there were not that many available options in terms of lighting equipment, no DSLR cameras and everything was shot on film, so there was less room for error. With that being said, this particular shoot for me was stripped as well in terms of the lighting equipment that I used. But before we get into that, I want to talk about the difference between a shoot like film noir vs a fashion shoot. The film noir environment for the models was definitely relaxed and the goal was for them to bring out their alter ego and called for a bit of acting if you will, instead of being mannequins for clothing.

I gave the models suggestion prior – who are you going to be? Is it the femme fatale, the bad ass or the delicate damsel in distress. It was up them to decide who they wanted to be and we would take it from there. The shoot worked out pretty well because two of the models Mey Ferdinand and Lindsay Solmer both have acting/theater background and they were able to bring that experience to the shoot. However, the third model Aminata Jajua does not have an acting background, but naturally she has a very strong presence in term of her body language and relationship with the camera which she used to her advantage. In all, I lucked out on this shoot in terms of the talent from these three amazing women from diverse backgrounds as you can see from the photos. There are many more that you will see in the next week. For now this is going to be an ongoing series as I want to delve deeper in staging scenes.

For me, going back into time to learn from the past, I find it makes you a better photographer. The art of photography is a forever learning process. It never stops. If you are not constantly challenging yourself you are not evolving. And because my shoots are so out there, you know I’m always researching something. Another aspect to the this shoot, I felt like I was channeling my inner filmmaker. I am due to put out my first short film in the summer of 2016 (fingers crossed), so this was definitely fun. Also, if you follow on me instagram #sulaah, my motto is, “live what you love.”

In anything you do, you are only as successful as the people that you surround yourself with. And again, I’ll probably repeat this in many of my blogs or vlogs. The company you keep defines your success, so it is important you align yourself with people with similar background, talent and vision. For this shoot, I worked with Danica Brittion “makeupdanni” again and as promised I will be introducing a lot of talented artists and this time we are introduced to Priscilla Jay who is a NYC freelance hairstylist. You can follow her on instagram @hairlord. This is the second time that we are working together and the first shoot was pretty awesome. The concept was dark beauty and as you can see she is very versatile and knowledgeable .You can view the link here on our previous work together., so check her out, like her, follow her, book her.

This time around there was no wardrobe or stylist needed and I was really happy about that. I just asked the models to bring in little black dresses, tops or clothing, items that made them feel comfortable, sexy or whatever alter ego they were going for.

Location was key. It needed to be indoor, bare white walls, blinds. A place with character and I was able to use a location very close to home. In terms of lighting items, I used speedlights and used the flashbender system and it works. All of those shots were done with the large reflector attached to a speedlight and voila! I

I am a big fan of speedlights or speedlight photography because it is just easy to carry around. If you are working in a small space this is ideal equipment to have that I would highly recommend. There you have it. I will be posting several different photos from this shoot simply because the ladies embodied so many different alter egos that it can’t be just one photo.

As always it was nice sharing. I have a client deadline tonight, so I’m pulling an all nighter, but wanted to write this blog along with sharing the photos.

Peace, Luv and Light



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