By Peter Clark
July in the United States surely brings to mind images of Americana–backyard BBQ’s, waving flags, hot weather, and wait, middle-class suburbia? Printed by our friends at Modern Postcard, this month’s promo showcases the work of San Diego-based photographer John Mireles. I asked John to fill me in a bit on his thought process on his compelling work:
This photo started out as an image in my head. It’s more therapy than anything else. I grew up in a suburb in a home much like the one in this image. You know, one of those post war neighborhoods where everything is perfect on the outside. Growing up Catholic (with 12 years of Catholic school) meant there was no shortage of repressed feelings.
In my desire to express all that in a photo, I scouted neighborhoods near my studio to find a house that captured the right feel. I specifically wanted a house with an AstroTurf lawn. My studio manager told me about a house that she’d seen that would fit the bill so I went over and knocked on the door. The retired couple there said no problem. I don’t think you immediately recognize the fact that the lawn is fake, but I do think it helps to create the mood of the shot.
The next step was the clothes and props. My wardrobe stylist pulled a variety of outfits but I wanted something more. Together we picked out (and put on my Amex) the $600 set of Versace high heels along with the necklace. I also headed over to Home Depot to get the perfect bright green hose. We had some expensive designer outfits ready to go, but once we got on location, it was clear that the $30 Forever 21 dress was the right call.
I originally wanted to shoot this in the backyard, but I soon realized that the front yard was the better option. The best part of the shoot was the son of the homeowner. He was a shy kid – late 20’s actually – who clearly didn’t get out much. The fact that this gorgeous girl was on his front lawn had him over the moon. He was right behind me, eyes bulging.
The only hitch in the shoot came up afterward. The store didn’t want to take the shoes back since they’d been worn. I was not eager to own them (what am I going to do with four inch heels that are two sizes too small for my feet?) so we kept trying until we found a clerk willing to take them back.
Wardrobe Styling – Kristi Brooks
Hair & Makeup – Jeffrey Baum
Model – No Ties Management
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