"Shards of Glass" post coming soon!!!! If you want to read the story and see more images from this amazing shoot please stay tuned. While you are waiting, please feel free to tell me what you liked most about the "Shards of Glass" video? Also tell me what inspires you comment below!!!!!!!!
To Be Continued......... #SOG
How this all came together was simply magical. I have come to the realization it was on God's time, and it is my belief everything perfectly aligned so that this project could happen. A year ago I set out on a quest to creativity combine my "Art" with my “Photography” Initially, I had no direction but I knew I wanted to make something great. The more I pondered the more the visions started to manifest themselves. I started to scribble down little ideas as they came to me, then suddenly my attention shifted to creating a painting. I grabbed up a 30x48in sized canvas of old B&W abstract painting that I disliked and begun to work. It bothered me to even look at that painting, I was so eager to paint over I just threw anything on the canvas and of course that did not work either because I ultimately painted over that as well lol. So after two failed attempts, It was time to go back to the drawing board, the premise of this project was to be expressive and experimental at articulating my story so I wanted to create a mixed media abstract piece that would reflect that. In retrospect, looking back it is my interpretation the primary reason why those other painting I attempted to do on the same exact canvas did not work because the actual art was waiting to be used for something very special to come.
I have never previously worked with glass, yet I sought it to be the appropriate medium for this piece. It was time to gather some bottles. I found it to be the most accessible ironically I kept coming across "Green" bottles. Boom there was the color scheme, green was also ideal because it is the color of the heart chakra, and it is said to be the color of balance harmony, and growth. Those were the exact qualities I was in search of in my life. I told myself I would take my time and I did just that tediously tinkering every rotating piece of glass. Weeks and weeks went by of me working and curiously scouring the streets for the green jewel. At least that is what I considered them to be mere trash became my treasure, it was such a vital element for the painting. I am sure my friends, family, and on lookers all thought I was going crazy picking up glass from the ground and putting it into my pocket, none the less the craziness served its purpose. Not that I used them all but I guesstimate I collected over 100 bottles for this piece all varying in size and shades of green. After I felt I had an abundance of glass it was time to break bread or glass I should say! The project was gradually coming together but I still had a long journey a head of me.
It was time search for the jewelry that was a journey in itself. I would come across pieces I thought looked cool but it didn't strike me, and I wanted something that was striking. I visited many customs jewelry stores in the Chelsea area of Manhattan and to no avail. I took the initiative to make the jewelry myself, with that trusty ole bucket of glass and few pieces I somehow managed to gather POOF!!! like a magician waving his wand over a black upside down top hat the jewelry magically appeared. I was pretty satisfied how it turned out, it contained many layers and full of different textures much like the painting. At this point in the project I was feeling very confident because things were coming along smoothly. Being pleased with the progression of the many phases this project undertook, it was time to move on to the next stage, “The Model” And just when I thought things were going to be a walk in the park it all came to a screeching halt! I have to be quite honest this is where I became discourage, If you could see my face it was screaming the word “Nooooooooo” it bothered me because I was so emotionally invested. Instead of going in a dark corner in sobbing over my frustrations, I made a conscious decision to literally put my best foot forward, put my emotions aside and reluctantly work on other projects while I waited I often remind myself that this had to get done.
Although I encountered many discouraging setbacks along my journey I remained persistent. Foiled by my failed attempts I reached out to my trusty and most amazing MUA Ariel to give me a hand at casting a model she knew exactly what I was looking for so she was more than eager to assist. Weeks went by and to my surprise she came up empty handed as well. I started to question myself, “What is going on, what am I doing wrong” It felt as if the only people invested in this project was Ariel and myself, no one gave “SOG” a chance, but I believed in it. I could have easily reached out to a modeling agency but I wanted this to be authentic, I was in search of a connection. Moving forward, I can vividly remember being on Instagram one day posting pictures, I noticed this particular user liking a lot of my photos it caught my attention and I wanted to investigate. Immediately upon skimming through her feed, I excitedly blurted out “She’s the girl” At that very moment I intuitively knew I was looking at my muse for the project, she ideally fit every criteria. I tell you this girl was gifted wrapped and handed to me from the universe. The only thing that stood between us was a simple direct message, and boy I was not trying hesitate! I sent her a message that basically said “I would love to make some magic with you, she replied “I love your work, let’s do it”
I am thinking to myself no way, this is a joke, is she serious, is she going to flake like all of the previous models!!!???? These were some of the many fears that stalked my mind upon conversing with her via Instagram. In the weeks following we communicated more and more through email. Although she showed some interest I still did not feel fully secure on the deal, all that change the moment I sent the Photo Treatment of the shoot to her, that changed everything! After reading the treatment not only did she have a new appreciation for “SOG” it resonated with her so much she felt compelled to participate. I want to add that I am not a believer in coincidence, this is just a term we use to describe the strange occurrences. Ironically, she revealed to me that her dad passed on in 2010, my dad passed in 1995, 15 years prior to her tragic experience, she also told me of a poem she wrote 5 years prior to “SOG” titled “Stained Glass” I do not know if you guys see it, but there was definitely a connection there. She believed in me, and in my vision, she handed over her trust and I can not thank her enough. During the shoot I can recall on a few occasions Noel state "Everything happens on God's time" there was a quiescence in those words that perpetuated in my head.
In closing, this photo shoot wildly exceeded any and all expectation I had. I am truly humbled by this entire experience, all of the disappointments, mishaps, what seemed to be failures, were all in preparation for what was to come. All of the indifferent things that took place meant absolutely nothing in comparison to the day of this shoot, it was nothing short of utter bless. I am proof that through undoubtedly believing, hard work, and just being plan old persistent you can reap the fruits of your labor and man did I reap them abundantly!!!!!
This is by far one of my most intimate projects to date primarily because it is so personal. An enormous amount of time and energy was spent putting this together. I must admit that I became discourage on many accounts due to the countless road blocks I encountered along the journey. Throughout it all I remained persistent because I knew what my end goal was, and that was to tell my uncle's story. I understand that it is a lengthy video, but I strongly encourage you all to watch it in it's entirety!!! As we transition into this new year I will give the world more of me, I thank God for putting me in the position to do so. Follow me on this Journey people I promise it will be worth it.
For all who do not know the first quarter of 2014 was by far a really rough start for me. On January 1, 2014 my uncle Roger Waddell Pickett Jr. was shot and killed by retired Jersey City police officer James D. Corley, following an alleged dispute between the two men at Moore's Lounge aka Bill and Ruth's in Jersey City, New Jersey. Corley was originally charge with attempted murder and a weapons offense related to a handgun. Given the death of my uncle the charges were later upgraded to murder.
An intimate conversation with Lorenzo P. "My uncle was a soldier" PT2
I want to thank you all for your precious time, patience, love and support, I also want to give a huge shout out to @yourhostmartine for seeing me through this entire process, this could have not been possible without her!!!!
NJ.com posting regarding the incident
Want to know what inspired it all?
A Little over two years ago I came across photographer Peter Hurley, whom I've fell in love with. He is arguably one of the most successful and well known Portrait Photographers of our time. I was just marveled and intrigued at how he built a foundation and style off of head shots with such a simplistic approach. As my interest in his work grew, I learned about his style of shooting, workflow, lighting, clients, pricing, etc, being a portrait photographer myself all of this stuff resonated with me. I was on the www.FStoppers.com site and saw that the guys over at FS linked up with Peter to create "The Art Behind the Headshot" DVD which was amazing, that can be found here http://fstoppers.com/peter-hurley-the-art-behind-the-headshot Watching this was like watching a magician expose all of their secrets. Not to dive into the DVD too much but this guy was working magic literally transforming people right before your very eyes. Granted nothing is new under the sun but the fact that he was showing you his techniques and engaging with the audience in such a fashion made you say wow!
A few months after watching the DVD, I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Peter at the 2012 FStoppers Photo Plus Party located at Peter's Studio in Manhattan. There was food, drinks, and a tone of amazing people. I went from doing a little research on this guy, to buying his DVD, to actually meeting him in person. Man it was truly a humbling experience to be around such a noted photographer. He was so cool and down to earth I felt as if I was hanging out with a good old friend. He even complimented me by saying I was by far the best dressed person of the night. You talk about a confidence booster that went straight to my ego just kidding lol. The ambiance of it all had me so pumped and excited. By the end of the night I was even more intrigued.
That interest led me on a hunt to obtain those magical fluorescent lights that Peter uses, which are Kino Flo Lights http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=258951&gclid=CLe_mMGWjL0CFQ8OOgoduTwAcQ&Q=&is=REG&A=details. I was quickly derailed when I discovered that those Kino Flo Lights were close to 3k a pop for a kit. Looking at those prices in lesser terms paralyzed me, because I knew they were way out of my budget. Instead of getting all depressed, my next best thing was to find an alternative, like my mom always says, "There are many ways to skin a cat." She was absolutely right, because I came across a photographer by the Joe Eldleman who did a fabulous DIY build with some fluorescent lighting banks that can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBPDSBCoN2c After watching his video over 50 times, I took note of everything I needed to do in order to build these lights, and I made it happen. My particular set up slightly varies from Joe Edelman's, however it shares the same principles and mechanics. It feels good to receive, but it feels even better to give back and that's exactly what I was set out to do. I was inspired to share my build and the awesomeness I was creating with it and this is how I came up with "How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes series." You know it still amazes me what you can create with $350 and some appliances from Home Depot. I want to give a huge shout out to Peter Hurley and Joe Edelman for all of their "AWESOMENESS", it's people like these guys who give birth to people like me!
"How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes Pt.1
"How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes Pt.2
How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes Pt.3