New York City-based fashion photographer Matthew Mills has made a name for himself with daring and experimental work. His relationship with lighting and color is just as critical as the often futuristic styles he captures. Lucy’s Magazine is a go-to source for young adults interested in embracing the latest in fashion trends. Existing in print and online publications, it also commands a high level of engagement on social media. Matthew’s shoot for Lucy’s July 2023 issue focuses on the colorful and unique handbags designed by up-and-coming Four Cees.
This beautiful summer editorial was presented to me by the creative director and wardrobe stylist, Kenya Sherron. She discovered the colorful and whimsical bags by Four Cees, an emerging NYC handbag designer, and wanted to create an editorial that complemented them. I was excited by the concept, so we put together a stellar team to tell this visual story.
What is most immediately noticeable about Matthew’s project is how well it fits within Lucy’s quality and aesthetic. With his own portfolio very diverse in fashion, lighting, and raw concepts, Matthew is an explorer within his creativity. He also knows how to utilize his skills to work within the scope of a client’s visual language. Having been keen to work with the publication for some time, Matthew walked in with a solid foundation.
The goal was to attract women’s fashion and handbag commercial clients. The entire shoot was done in my cozy home studio in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. Most of my shoots are actually done here to save on rental and transportation costs. The team was small and included myself, the talent, the creative director/wardrobe stylist, and the hair and makeup artists. We had great energy on set and had a lot of fun with energetic music playing and a focus on creating beautiful imagery.
Matthew’s artistic voice is consistent throughout his work, yet he also embraces collaboration throughout his process.
I always get nervous before a shoot, especially with people I haven’t worked with before. I had only worked with the hair and makeup artists once before. It takes time to find the right team members you can continue to grow with as an artist and know you will complement each other with your strengths. Since the wardrobe stylist already had the idea and vision, I was grateful to have her double-up as the creative director. My strengths are refining an idea and making it happen – not coming up with the big idea.
Through working with one another as Matthew and Kenya have in this shoot, a shared vision emerges. Matthew maintained the inspiration for this by having visual references available to help guide the shoot.
I find having references helps a great deal so I don’t run out on ideas during a shoot. One of my favorite references provided by the creative director inspired the shot with the handbags hanging on the heel of the shoe with the leg in the air (which became the cover image). I found it kept the story fun and helped to focus on the accessories. What made this creative collaboration special is that we had a similar taste in fashion and in the mood we wanted to create.
Matthew concluded the shoot and post-production with a successful feature, blending his own style with Lucy’s established brand.
I felt it would be a great fit because it aligns with their high standards for fashion and beauty. This editorial has a more commercial feel than many of my other stories, but still retains my unique twist in the final editing.
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