I push open the hotel room door in anticipation. I walk down the narrow corridor into the bedroom. I am greeted by, a girl in her dressing gown and three ‘ladies in waiting’. I am on the first floor of the Phillipe Stark designed St Martin’s Lane Hotel in central London. Todays shoot is for New York’s Paper Magazine and I’m shooting the latest club sensation Charli XCX. She is being made up by Yuka, the make-up artist, and is wearing a toweling dressing gown. The other two are Beth, the stylist, and her assistant Dee.
Beth has a rack of clothes the length of the San Andreas fault. We have enough amazing outfits to shoot an entire fashion story, but only a couple of hours to shoot it in, and at least one of those will be taken up with make-up! We also have a different room from the one I saw when I came for the recce, so I have to go downstairs to reception to see if we can swap. The charming reception staff equip me with the key to the original room that I saw, so now we have the use of two suites for the entire afternoon, sweet!
I head up to the sixth floor and start setting up my lights, I also drag the beds out of the way (no assistant on this shoot). The beds feel like they are built out of steel girders, and I nearly tear every muscle and sinew in my back in the process. After a not insubstantial time in make-up Charli shows up with the head of press from her label. She seems a little uncomfortable with her outfit so we decide to get her moving about to relax her, and start shooting. We get some great shots but I don’t think she was totally convinced by the look.
After a fairly dramatic change in outfit I decide to shoot Charli against the room’s green wall (this was what was missing from the downstairs location). We try some much more dramatic movement this time and get some really great shots. In fact we all agree on a shot that we love, and it seems like this ought to be the one for the article (in fact this is the one they chose, click here to see the online article).
Just for good measure we decide to squeeze in one more quick outfit change, and shot. Unfortunately, Charli has a car waiting downstairs so this turns into a mad dash to finish line, and we only get time for a few snaps.
All in all, apart from my crippled back, it feels like we had a great day, and got a real result of a shot!