When photographer Henderson Noel asked me to art direct a photoshoot for him using neophyte models, I had to wrap my head around a reasonable storyboard. I thought it a great proposition to craft a provincial narrative employing enthusiastic players, all gung-ho, to partake in a professional yet prosaic pictorial.
I approached Londa Young, an astute fashion buyer of the eponymous fashion hub, Lon’s Fashions to provide wardrobe and accessories. We perused her boutique, eagerly, and selected a couple of looks themed to build rustic tableaux – folksy languishing on a riverine bench, waterwheel motif et al; gazebo posturing for an outdoor jardinage event, inclusive of colonnade; plantation glamming up, juxtaposed with hogshead and urn; Afro-punk visages, in a liberating lanai, set against Architonic stools.
We shot, on location, in an unalloyed space, a former cocoa estate, cradled in the lowlands of the breathtaking northern range, with the cloud-capped El Tucuche mountain in Maracas Valley, gloriously surveying the villa and grounds at La Soledad. The proud proprietress, Marie Millett, was elated to have us shoot on the awe-inspiring grounds.
My story courses parochial bliss, on a quaint wooden lawn seat, as the girls share personal anecdotes, featuring utilitarian denim and khaki ensembles put together with ‘artisansy’ accessorising handpicked by Lons and then shifts to conscious poseuses, anticipating a tea-party ritual. In pictoric, paisley, Picassoesque prints with boho style footwear and wearable art highlights.
Then I gasped, exuberantly, at the possibility of the portraits, en tableaux vivants, approximating couture silhouettes, in glitzy style, in sheer, silk, sheen and sensational hues and textures. The elements – the barrel, the vase, the baluster – served to reminisce on plantation, colonial style, tinged, quite au contraire, with a contemporary edge. Then I saw the iguana-coloured high stools, in the patio, which provoked my makeup sensibility, leaning in the direction of Wakanda-esque imagery, prompted by the stark complementary rose-based coloured fashions – bold, liberated, Nubian style, thrown into sharp relief by this psychedelic foliate woodwork.
On seeing that ‘black-pride’ courage consume my newbies, I knew we had told our story, consummately, and I proclaimed, “It’s a wrap!” The study was complete.
Photographer – Henderson Noel
Fashions – Lons Fashions
Models Tehillah Moses, Precyous Mcpherson, Cherisse Shallow
Makeup/Styling/Art Direction – Richard Young
On location at La Soledad