Janelle Monae Profile Portrait
This is a Janelle Monae Profile Portrait. I shot this in NYC for Pitchfork Magazine. Pitchfork is The essential guide to independent music and beyond. The found me through my natural hair photo book called the Coiffure Project.
The story eventually was picked up by PDN Magazine. One of the top photo magazines in the world!
My images made it on to the cover of PDN Magazine! You know I was hype. It still feels like a dream for a dude from Baltimore. It was a moment were all of the the hard work appeared to pay off. But we know that its just the beginning and the grind never stops.
These images where shot with my FujiFilm x100s Mirrorless camera with a wide open aperture so that I could blur out the background. I cant remember but I think i was at f/2. Im sure I can open up light room right now to figure out the exact aperture but one thing at a time.
Side note. I have the silver FujiFilm x100s Mirrorless camera but I want the black one! One more step to being incognito!
We were located in a community garden in Tribeca New York. We did not use strobe lights for this shoot because the sun was just right so all we needed was a reflector.
The subject (Janelle) was really cool. She was a chill person. I wish we had more time to chat about the universe but we were on a tight schedule. Celebrities tend to be very busy so we had to get the shots quickly.
I think we established that we were both Sagittarius which I thought was kind of cool. Searching for some kind of connection. Maybe im over thinking things. Hahaha!
Janelle had a beauty staff making sure her look was crisp. Her makeup was on point and her natural hairstyle was a piece of art.
Natural Hair Portrait Yoko Ashley Henderson
This was one of the first natural hair portraits for the Coiffure Project. The idea was still new and exciting.
I met Yoko at an art exhibit opening at the Reginald F. Lewis museum. She stood out from the crowd and I was super nervous to talk to her. Fortunately Courtney (the best studio assistant ever) was with me. I pleaded with Courtney to talk to Yoko and give her my business card.
Photographers have bad reputations so first encounters with women are less intimidating when I have a young lady with me. If I approach someone alone and say “Hello I am a photographer” you can see the color leave from their face. This does not happen as much when I have a young lady with me. Ive gotten a lot better about approaching people since then.
This was my fist time working with Yoko and we were both super nervous. She later became my muse. Yoko was always available when I wanted to try new lighting techniques.
This was shot with a beauty dish and a hot shoe flash unit against a white wall. The flash was a cheap brand loaned to me by my good friend Travis Johnson of Digi Artbox. I think he mentioned that the flash unit had exploded at one point. This meant that flash unit had the potential to cause a fire but it didn’t really matter to me because I wanted to get the “Terry Richardson” lighting effect. As you can see the photo turned into something completely different.
I shot this with a Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D but it was paired with a cropped sensor Nikon D7000. Using a full frame lens with a cropped sensor body creates a magnification effect. This means that my 20mm was more like a 35mm lens. Im not sure about the math but you can find explanations online. Currently I use a D700 which is a full frame sensor.
Ramblings, Rants, Tangents, and Free thought
I was happy with the final result. I really like this image because of Yokos body language and facial expressions. I also like the pinky-peachy color of the image. All credit goes to Yoko for being such a great subject. Shooting with her really set the tone for future shoots done for the Coiffure Project. I worked with Yoko many times after our first shoot. Natural Hair Portrait Yoko Ashley Henderson