Spring is (finally) beginning to show signs of life, and San Francisco-based photographer Samantha Wolov’s new work definitely embraces the spirit of the season. “She Comes in Colors,” a fashion editorial that Samantha recently shot for XOXO The Mag, showcases the clean, minimal feel that is consistent throughout her work, but with a little added color. Check out the fun series and read more from Samantha below!
How did this shoot fit into your style?
Spring is always an interesting season for me because it’s a time of color and “lightness” that I don’t usually showcase in my work, so I’ve been trying to make a concerted effort to produce seasonally-relevant stories that still adhere to the aesthetic and mood I aim for when I shoot. I wanted to maintain a degree of minimalism and cleanliness but still use enough color to energize the viewer without feeling too overwhelming. I actually took a lot of inspiration from the makeup—minimalist, geometric pops of color is a big makeup runway trend right now, so I essentially took that idea, translated it, and applied it (no pun intended) to the overall production.
Were there any challenges involved with this project? If so, how did you overcome them?
I was originally supposed to shoot this story in New York during a brief work excursion while on the East Coast to visit my family in DC. I had the studio booked, talent lined up, wardrobe sourced (which in itself was a challenge, since about $20k worth of wardrobe got sent to the wrong location, and had to be retrieved), everything. And then Snowpocalypse hit. Everything had to be cancelled. The stylist and I still wanted to at least attempt the shoot, so, in the end, I wound up packing the wardrobe into a second giant suitcase and taking it with me back to San Francisco as my luggage, which was a lot less expensive than trying to ship everything. I landed on a Sunday, and I think we shot on a Tuesday. Two of my dearest friends are the hair and makeup artist on this set; I explained the situation to them, and they made sure they were available. I contacted a modeling agency with whom I have a good relationship, and I booked [my model] Jillian (I’ve worked with her before, and we’re friends). I wanted a model with enough energy and personality to balance the intensity of the color, but still also looked appropriate for my East Coast aesthetic. Our stylist made a PDF with wardrobe instructions and styled remotely with the help of a wardrobe assistant on set. The studio in SF actually made a major blunder, which I was able to rectify, but it meant losing two hours of shooting, so we wound up compressing eight looks into five or six hours. It was all a bit chaotic, but I think most photographers would say you do what you need to do to get the shot. In my case, it was for an entire shoot.
What was involved in planning/preproduction?
The stylist, Renata Gar, is a friend of mine from when she still lived in SF, and we try to shoot together whenever I’m in NYC (about four times a year), so we were just sending each other inspiration shots and pictures of clothing via email until we came to an idea we both liked—we have similar taste, so it was more like a meeting of the minds rather than a negotiation. The rest of our pre-production wasn’t really planned, since most of it was implemented at the last minute in an effort to salvage the shoot. It was all a blur!
What has the reaction to the images been so far?
Fairly positive, as far as I can tell. After this past winter, I think a lot of people are just excited to see something other than snow, so it’s hard to not like a shoot like this. I think, at least for certain people, the story behind the production is more interesting than the production itself. If someone needs proof I can think on my feet and pull a rabbit out of my hat, here it is. I think that’s comforting to a lot of clients. I don’t get derailed easily.
Did you learn anything during this shoot?
Try to avoid shooting in NYC in January if you can.
To view more of Samantha’s work, visit samanthawolov.com