Dante Villa Dauz | The Waking Dream

The Waking Dream

August 06, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Model: Ashley Drayton
Outfit:  Kate Spade
Wardrobe Stylist: Victoria Celeste
Hair/Makeup Artist: AJ Bourque
Photo Assistants: Jonathan Davino and Ray Alvarado
Location: Wrigley House
 
    Occasionally, I just get plain lucky when putting together one of my photoshoots.  First, it was my model Ashley.  She is an energetic and enthusiastic young actress I met in my current non-photography job.  I knew immediately that I wanted to shoot with her.  At 5'3", she isn't typically what I would look for in an editorial shoot, but she has a palpable intensity, ideal physical proportions, athletic physique and exceptional beauty.  I figured I would have to wait until the gig was over and approach her with the hopes she would work with me.  Sometimes if the intention is strong enough, it just seems that the universe will work its way towards that goal.  Unbeknownst to me, my wonderful boss Beth told Ashley I was a photographer and that she should check out my work.  Ashley obliged and was impressed enough with my work to offer some of her time.  Superstar model - check!
    The next stroke of luck came with the location.  I had been researching various studios around Los Angeles and was planning on shooting against a plain cyclorama wall or using a textured background.  However, I had this wonderful location in my back pocket.  I had been shooting properties for my friend Roger, who is a top-notch realtor.  He has a property that is available for rent to shoot still and video projects.  Fortunately, I was able to barter this location for a future shoot.  It's a fantastic location with plenty of different spaces to shoot.  It was a gift and a curse in that way.  I had so many rooms to choose from that I tried to pack multiple looks in various locations throughout the house.  Although I managed to hit some of what I originally intended, I ran out of time and didn't get to all the looks I wanted that day.  Mark it as another lesson learned about time efficiency and a more narrow focus for my theme and looks.  
   
    I had several outstanding images from other locations in the house that day, but this room seemed to resonate with me.  Of course, it also came with its own set of problems because of all the mirrors.  As much as I wanted my team close by to make necessary adjustments for wardrobe, hair, makeup and camera equipment, I had to boot them from the room to keep unwanted reflections from creeping into my images.  I had to keep myself in check too, knowing this would be an exercise in angle discipline.  I kept myself quite separated from Ashley, which is not my usual technique, but it did result in some interestingly voyeuristic and surreal imagery.  
    This final image is one of my favorite of the day.  I won't explain why because I leave it to the viewer to make their own judgement and interpretation.  However, I know that I wouldn't have been able to get this shot without the talent and the team supporting me.  Much love and props to Victoria Celeste for providing this badass Kate Spade dress, AJ for the bigger than life hair, to JD and Ray for their tireless support, and, of course, to Ashley, who is 17 levels of awesome.  

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