Theodore Elyett, Fashion Designer Lifestyle Shoot

Theodore Elyett has been a premier designer in The Bahamas for quite some time, so when he approached me about shooting new lifestyle images of him for a brand, I felt honored to do so. Theo has won countless awards, been featured in multiple publications and was the 2015 winner of Mission Catwalk, a reality show competition for caribbean designers held in Jamaica last year.

Theo and I had several brainstorming sessions and we mapped out the look and feel for his shoot. His looks were going to be simple with monochromatic styling and different fabrics that ranged from plaid to houndstooth to tweed. Theo worked with fashion stylist Igee Okafor to help complete the looks. Very clean, very "artsy."

Our location, Harry's Haven was the perfect setting for the shoot combining both victorian and an "island chic" decor. We had really great spaces to work with and TONS of natural light, which I always embrace with a big smile. Theo took direction like a professional and threw in spots of his fun, outgoing personality which made for great frames. 

Video: Ashley Whitney
Styling: Igee Ofakor
Grip: Malik Smith
Grip: Shawn Hanna

Carolyn Carter for Ale by Alessandra

I got an email from Carolyn late one evening introducing herself saying that she was in The Bahamas and wanted to shoot lifestyle swimwear images for her blog. She told me that she connected with Alessandra Ambrosio, former Vicky Secret model who was now going into her own line of swimwear and that she had a few of the pieces to shoot with. I always jump at opportunities like these because it allows me to work with foreigners and ultimately grow my network.

Carolyn and I met a few days after to discuss a concept for the shoot and to look at the pieces that we would use to style her in. She was very easy going and assured me she could do her own hair and makeup, meaning that I would be working with a smaller team. Of course I didn't mind this as it would cut down on prep time and allow me to focus on shooting. We planned for a sunrise shoot, scouted our locations at Albany Bahamas and even secured a few four-legged models for the set.

My team and I woke up around 4am that morning to make sure we would be punctual on set. We arrived only to be greeted with a spread of deli meats, fruits, pastries and beverages which would surely provide us with fuel for the shoot...which of course we did not turn down!

The shoot ran great, particularly, the lighting. I love using natural light where I can and the lighting was almost perfect all day. I was able to diffuse the bright sun, bounce the light, which lit my model beautifully. Additionally, using my NIKKOR 85mm f1.4 lens created great flares and bokeh frames and awesome depth of field compositions.

See images from the shoot below.

Eve

I was nervous about this concept…at first. I wondered if I would go too far in getting a message across and if people wouldn’t relate or grasp what I was trying to say as a photographer. As a child I’d always seen the portrayal of “Eve” as a beautiful Caucasian woman so my imagination got the best of me and I decided to go against all the imagery I had previously seen in any biblical illustration. 

I wanted to stay clean, within my style, conceptualizing elements that would add to my overall canvas. If Eve were a black woman, what would she look like? Would she be tall, short, skinny or fat? Would her hair be natural, straight, up or down? How would I show her creation, her temptation, her becoming more aware of herself and body? 

To do this I put together a group of talented and visionary people in the industry that I felt would carry this concept like it was their own. Creative director, David Rolle pieced the looks together for Eve, orchestrating hair and makeup to follow.MUA, Mandisa Kerr worked her magic brush craftily added the right accents and contours to our models face. Hair stylist, Jameelah Thompson along with her assistant Lovena Magloire created amazing crowns of hair to place on our model that fit the theme. 

As expected finding a model to play the role of Eve had its challenges. Because of the reptilian element, many models were skeptical about the representation or meaning behind a very recognizable prop. Selvinique Wright however was down the second I was finished explaining the concept to her. She was in and that was all. On set she moved her body and shaped her poses into works of soft and sultry sentences allowing David to form her into the character “Eve.”