Brooklyn-based Janelle Bendycki is a commercial photographer who specializes in portraiture, lifestyle, and still life photography, but in her recent work for Abercrombie Kids, it’s her motion skills that really shine. The video is a quick snippet of many candid conversations with kids about what Black History Month means to them while serving as a powerful vehicle for continued discussions about racial equity and representation.
The shots transition beautifully between black and white cuts and panning camera angles to clips of each subject speaking against a pastel backdrop. The kids’ close-ups dancing or smiling serve to create visual interest and naturally showcase the Abercrombie Kids t-shirt designed by young artist Morrah Burton-Edwards. Proceeds from the sales of the t-shirt were donated to The Conscious Kid as part of Abercrombie’s Equity Project, the company’s response to addressing racial inequity.
Janelle had worked with Abercrombie previously at their headquarters in Columbus to capture their 2020 holiday campaign last year. Still, this project was the first time she had collaborated with various teams in different cities during a single shoot.
I was already on their radar when this remote project opportunity popped up. They asked me if I was interested in taking it on.
This was my second time working with them. It was my first time streaming the whole shoot and collaborating remotely with the team. The talent was in NYC, the client in Columbus, and the production company in LA.
The shoot took place in NYC, but the studio they were shooting in was not soundproof. This meant the crew had to perfectly time the audio recordings to avoid unnecessary background noise — like the sound of a roaring subway train rolling up on the tracks nearby.
Timing it just right was tricky, especially if one of the talent had already started answering questions because we wanted the ‘off the cuff’ answers. In the end, it worked out, and we were able to get some heartfelt answers.
Jannelle is no stranger to working with kids. She has photographed youth of all ages through her client work for PBS Kids, Gymboree, and Levis Kids. This time, however, was different. Hearing the talent’s unique perspectives on Black History Month was a heartwarming and humbling experience. The authenticity of each kid’s answers and the personality of each kid shine through in both the video and final still images used to promote the collaboration on Abercrombie’s website and social media channels.
Creative Director, Abercrombie Kids: Lauren Rourke
Production: Portfolio One
Director of Photography: Nick Bean
Wrangler: Amy Jackson
Lighting Tech: Bryan M Sargeant
Digital Tech: Alexandra Kuhn
1st Assistant Camera: Jeff Sutera
Editor: Drew Bourdet
Makeup and Hair: Sabrina Rowe
Styling: Gina Marie
Models: Lyris Logan, Chaycee N Dreams, Taj Marley, Channing Crew, Sienna Elise
See more of Janelle’s work at janellebphotography.com
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