Saturday, November 1, 2008

Questions you don't want to ask a photog

All pictures ©Marina Hermanovna
please do not use my pix without permission
visit my website to see more

Hi everyone !
This post is about photography, a form of art that we all know in some way - and that's where all the problems come from, in my modest opinion.

Please note that all the pictures featured on this post have been taken with a consumer compact camera, no professional lighting (the small flash fired, that's it), no make up, no hairdresser, no stylist, minor digital retouching.
I only posted a few although I have many others because I want to publish these somewhere, so please avoid downloading or I'll have to stop posting my pictures.

Soon enough I'll post some more taken using natural lighting - so to all the young photographers out there (I am thinking about Autumn!), yes you can take perfect pics - even if you cannot afford much; besides, you can buy used equipment and Christmas is oh so near...

There are a bunch of clichés about photography, and as a professional I have to deal with two or more of the following sentences any given week.
So here I present you in random order some questions you do not want to ask a photographer - unless you want to see some professional eye-rolling.

1 - "Oh I see, you are a photographer! And what do you do as a job?" 
Didn't I just say professional, you spoiled brat?

2 - "Wow, you are a photographer! I see there are many tonight!" 
"No hon. Holding a camera, no matter how big, does not make you/them a photographer, but just a dude with a big camera that takes useless party pictures. Oh, and professionals seldom take pictures at parties because they want to enjoy the party, in fact"

3 - "Do you do black and white? 'Cuz I love it!"
This sentence is emptier than a Halloween pumpkin. Please tell me the first and second name of someone who does not like black and white photography. I believe the reason why so many people say so is because they only go to the exhibitions of Cartier Bresson and Boubat and this kind of stuff and they totally ignore the work of masters of colors like Martin Parr. So when they say they love black and white photography what they actually mean is they only know the work of very old reportage photographers.

4 - "How many Megapixels does your camera have? / What's your camera?"
 I have six cameras to begin with. The one I use the most for payed work is a Canon 5D, which has 12,8 Megapixels. Having said that you must be aware of the fact that other 60 millions people have the same camera, most of them are not professionals, and by no means they all make beautiful pictures. On the other hand, a professional photographer can take beautiful pictures using any given camera, even a compact consumer camera. In fact, the pictures you see here have been taken with a small 7 Megapixels compact Canon, a japanese turist's camera. It's not about the equipment, it's all about the eye. 

5 - "Do you have a darkroom? Do you print your pictures yourself?"
I know how to do this; I spent so many days in a darkroom back in 2006 that at a certain point I started seeing green creatures and feeling dizzy (hint: the acids definitely give you some kind of high if you smell them for too long - but please, don't try this at home).
But the fact is many amazing photographers never developed or printed a single picture in their entire life - Robert Mappelthorpe for instance never did.
What you see in Hollywood movies - a boy in his darkroom hanging prints under the redlight and stuff it is not a photographer's job, but a printer's.
Of course a photog must know how he/she would like a print to look and tell the printer where to correct the negative but the thing is professional photography is a work for an artist, whereas printing only requires a good artisan.
So a photographer may or may not know how to print or Photoshop his/her pictures, but this won't really make a difference since it is not his/her job in the first place.

6 - "Awww, photography! What an amazing job you do!"
That's not a question, but it's dumb enough to end up in my shitlist. Taking pictures for your pleasure is amazing, trying to make a living with your camera is another business, that involves so many unpleasant sides people just tend to ignore.
For instance, did you know that the beautiful editorials you see in fashion magazines don't make us any richer at all? This is because magazines don't pay the photographers for editorials; they pay the models (very little), the hair and makup persons, the stylist, the retoucher.. but no, the person that directs all of these contributors into one significant direction, his/her vision of beauty, is not paid a cent. The reason is they "give us a window to showcase our work"; go tell my landlord... 

7 - "Well you can still take digital pictures, it won't cost you a thing!"
Non professinal digital photography costs less than non professional traditional photography, we can agree on this point. 
But when it comes to professional photography, digital is just as expensive (if not more) than film. Whe shoot tons of pictures, we make backups on huge RAID hard drives, we have stuff you dont need like a device that calibrates the screen, a graphic tablet, flashpacks, lightstands, backdrops and backdrops stands, sensor cleaners, light boxes and umbrellas, cobra snakes, filters, software, Pocket Wizards and black adhesive tape, and cinefoil and gelatines and..
Well, you get my point. 

8 - "Wow, this model is gorgeous. Must be easy taking great pictures with such beauties!"
Taking a beautiful shot has NOTHING to do with the physical beauty of the subject you are shooting; this is why you can find an amazing picture of an old man and many butt-ugly looking editorials and catalogs out there.
The beauty of a pic comes mostly from composition, lighthing, emotion, originality and the overall ability of the photographer to convey his vision and making it clear in one fragment of a second for anyone.
After all, when you are not Mario Testino they don't give you Naomi Campbell to work with, so young photogs have to work their asses to make models look way better than they do in real life.
If taking great pictures only required great models there wouldn't be professional photographers but only modeling agencies. Period.

9 - "How much do you sell a picture? / How much do you charge for a book?"
I usually reply with "How much is a car?". They get it.
First off, you don't SELL pictures (with the exception of wedding pics), you just rent them.
Photography being an intellectual job, no one can ever be deprived of the property of his work of art, unless he/she has been dead for more than 70 years, then it becomes public domain.
Until then, just as a writer cannot sell his writing but only a copy of his printed book, photographers don't sell pictures, they only rent the rights to use them somewhere for a certain amount of time.
Yes, I make books and pay test for modeling agencies or aspiring actors and the market price for these ranges from 200 to 400 euro if you have a home studio and do not require professional hair and makeup or styling, but just a cd of retouched pics.

10 - "Wow, you work with models? I mean, real models? Aren't they all anorexic? Are they rich? Do they party every night in fancy hotels? Do they go to castings with a driver? Tell me some diva anecdote - please!"
Models are thin, but they are seldom anorexic. Runway models, especially haute couture models as opposed to prêt à porter models are extremely thin, but they usually get that thin just one month before the shows. I am thin enough to get into a modelesque french size 36 (an american 2), and I eat pasta and ice cream... not everyday, ok.
Underwear models are often fatter than I am, in fact, and the only real difference is that they are sometimes shorter than clothing models and they often have breast implants to reach this not-so-natural top heavy look.
I have seen a 16 y.o. eastern european girl with breast implants; she said her parents mortgaged their house to pay for her new tits, so she can get more lingerie contracts and send her brother to college. True story.
But everyone keeps talking about anorexia, as if this serious psychological illness was the only issue fashion has to deal with.
14 years old models? Ok. 
Agencies selling them to rich old men (it happens, it happens, not giving names though)? Fine. Agents telling girls to go get a nosejob then come back if it turns out well? Alright!
But still, everyone talks about anorexia.

Oh, and models are by no means rich. In fact, unless you reach the "supermodels' heaven", modeling has become a pretty mediocre job, in terms of paycheck. The golden age has passed, and now many designers offer the girls to keep the dress after the show and that's it, and if you are not okay with it there are 100 other girls willing to accept.
As for the driver part, no, only a city plan and a MetroCard! I have seen some divas though.
But when it comes to true divadom leave it to the actresses to beat the shit out of models; 
for the love of gossip, here some first hand exemples:
- smoking where not allowed (Shalom Harlow, Mélanie Laurent)
- leaving half-eated sandwiches on the couch (Tilda Swinton), 
- being moody and hard to work with (Karolina Kurkova)
I could continue this list but hey, I still need to get some work !

marina hermanovna

Monday, October 27, 2008

<-> Sunday Bloody Sunday <->

Hi everyone, and thanks for reading !
(Tip: Click onto my pictures to see what a difference it makes !)

This post is about modeling, so if you are an inspiring model read the following.

Here's what happened since last time I logged in:

- I shot many pictures
- I transformed my flat into an overcrowded photo studio moving all the furniture in a corner, much to my kitties amazement
- my cat peed on my favorite Diesel hoodie. Amen
- two models forgot their personalities in the other bag
- I passed out
- my boyfriend got mad at my stylist and yelled at her
- my doorkeeper got mad at my boyfriend and yelled at him
(and much more)

What I forgot to mention is that all of the above happened in one day, on October 12, a Sunday.

I planned to improve my portfolio with some pictures inspired by italian painter Modigliani, so I made sure I packed into my 35 square meters flat a stylist, two hairdressers, a makeup artist, seven models, an assistant, two cats, five luggages, a backdrop and myself.
Needless to say it was madness.

Ulla@Metropolitan Models

To make it all more interesting I made sure I felt sick the exact day of the shooting, so what you see here has been shot at 39°C plus seizures and a sexy bacterial infection. As Borat would say - Very Nice !

The stylist made also an important contribution to the climax of the shoot, showing up a whopping three hours late, chain-smoking and bitching and asking random questions to anything that moved - cats included.
Poor thing was complaining that there only was tub water, so she basically ordered a model to go get her a bottle somewhere. This is the point where I saw my boyfriend's "anger vein" getting bigger and pulsing - not a good sign, in case you are wondering.

Ophélie@Metropolitan Models

As for the models, here's my impressions:

Olga - an amazing girl. She moves like a dancer, she is nice and bubbly, a pleasure to work with. The kind of model that delivers the picture in ten frames; I would rebook her for anything

Ulla - she was rude at the beginning (she failed to come say hello to the photographer...), but when shooting she followed directions well and I love her unique features.

Ophélie - Incredibly shy, girl has hardly one expression. A very good one though.

Rose@Metropolitan Models


Rose - an incredibly versatile aussie, she is gradually forgetting all the bad catalguy-posing they taught her when she started out; I shot her for three different projects and she has definitely something unique that make you want to see her interpret different characters. Oh, and she looks so much like Nicole Kidman.

Birgit - A very pretty face, she could be a good model if she listened. Unluckily, she does not.
I looked throughout her film and all I saw was one expression, The German Milkmaid. I kept telling her what to do to no avail - poor thing has the attention span of a goldfish. This is the only acceptable shot I have of her.

Gauthier - The boy makes waves. He is so photogenic you might stare at your LCD for three minutes than leave the room screaming in Sanskrit.
He is also a sweetheart, and kept talking to me the way young children speak to professors. It definitely made me feel 15 years older but I'd forgive him even if he gave me STDs.
Did I mention this was his very first shoot? Unbelievable.

So here's the results of this shoot, tomorrow I'll start looking for a magazine interested in publishing these.

Thomas - a very nice boy, he is clever and follows directions well. Too bad I fainted while shooting him, so I was able to take only like ten pics of him before K.O. Seeing the photographer on the floor, Thomas thought it might be a good idea to pick up my Canon and shoot the girl. How very paparazzi of him.

Soon enough I'll tell you more about Rose Vickens, my new Muse, whose new book I'm signing almost enirely and I am oh-so-proud of this.
Yesterday we shot some more pictures for it, the brief of her agency being
"soft lighting, a more commercial look than in the rest of her book but not too commercial".
I will soon post these. 
In between, you can take a look at my new website - I'm still working on it but it is finally taking shape.

Gauthier@Studio KLRP

I have one more anecdote to tell you guys about modeling, the bottom line being
 "looking good does nothing if you don't make an impression"

I went to the boy's agency a couple of days ago to give their booker (the energetic Jurgen!) their pictures; while I was there I took the time to check out all the new composits and two boys stood out from the bunch in my opinion, Jesper and Carl;
Since I am preparing an upcoming men's editorial, I thought I might want to see these two in person and I realized that two out of the three guys talking to Jurgen right there were the boys I wanted to see. So I asked Jurgen to do an impromptu casting.
Jurgen called the boys back and introduced me; I couldn't help but notice the "who the hell is this girl supposed to be" look in their eyes.
The look changed from "WTF" to "I don't think so" the minute Jurgen said the word "photographer", and I know why: this comes from me looking younger than 28 and being a good looking female. I keep getting these kind of looks whenever I introduce myself as a photographer, so I learned to stess the adjective professional...

Oh, Olga! How graceful.

So the first guys hands me his book, I take it to the couch, look at the pics, take it back to the boy, grab the second book, bring it to the couch, give it back to the boy... Well, you got it.

They couldn't make it to the couch, introduce themselfs, shake my hand, tell me something about them, ask me about the shoot...  
Jurgen noticed this and being a good booker he gave them the "bad models speech". He taught them something very important that most beginners in the fashion industry ignore: the importance of personality.
If you want to be cast in modeling jobs you have to do more than staying thin and be punctual.
You have to make an impression, because the person in front of you has seen 50 models before you and he/she is going to see other 50 afterwards. At the end of the day, a few composits will lie under the client/photographer's eyes, those of the models who have the right look for the shoot, of course. But how are they going to pick the "winner" among all of these models if say, five of them have that certain look?

Personality, it all boils down to personality.

You have to smile, to make eye contact, to shake hands (firmly! a weak shake is a no-no), be bubbly and bring positive energy into the room. 
Sometimes photographers pick a model instead of another only because they felt a connection, they knew this girl/boy is no troublemaker and will listen carefully to directions throughout the shoot. I wasn't sure Olga was the model I was looking for this shoot but she was so funny during the casting that I couldn't help but book her, and my feeling was right.

Birgit@Metropolitan Models

I book people I want to work with ! So models be advised: 

- no more sour pussies on castings/shoots
- no more cigarette breaks every 30 minutes (and cigarette butts wherever)
- no more about:blank look in the eyes
- no more complaining ("oh I'm so tired! Tired of sitting having your picture taken? Go tell this to the assistants - puh-lease!), 
- no more lame questions ("are you sure this make-up is fine? SHE DIDN'T EVEN PUT MASCARA ON! Yes baby, it is exactly the way I wanted it, and "she" is a professional makeup artist, btw)
- no more dumb answers("who's this"?  - me pointing at a picture in his book - "oh, that's me!!". Thank you darling, I see that; it's your book, so only pictures of you inside it. Now, can you tell me the  name of the designer you are modeling for in this pic?") 
( and much more )


( I am kidding girls/boys. You know I love you! )



Marina Hermanovna

Friday, September 26, 2008

< Mostly Maison Martin Margiela. Mostly >

photos: Marina Hermanovna
model: Suzie Bird@Elite
styling: Laura Diesbecq
makeup: Morgane Goupy
hair: Makiko Nara
cat: vintage 
M&M's: photographer's own - but the model ate the whole thing!

No no no no, calm down. 
This post ain't no interview to the belgian designer every hipster loves more than life itself.
Oh, and in case you were wondering no, I haven't disappeared for good under a pile of unwashed socks or imploded after the fourth random guy called this week and asked me if I do ID photos. Like, duh!
I have been bee-busy doing this and that, and most notably I went to fashion photographer Boris Ovini's party, where I had the chance to:

- meet the adorable Karine from Metropolitan Models, who has been sending me an insane amount of foxes to check out on a daily basis ever since. God bless her.
- hang out with Boris, the most talented young photog I ever met who, unlike many colleagues, is not afraid to give you some advice and his true opinion about your work. Oh, and he's a hot piece of ass.
- try my newly found weapon of mass seduction: my nazi offspring haircut
If you think boys don't like girls with shorter do's (especially if you look like you are a Hitler'stache away from filming Anna Frank, the remake), you should think again. And then hit Tony and Guy (or cut it yourself blindfolded, which is just the same - only way cheaper).

This haircut - in association with a very androginous look -  has the power to make'em all meow and purr. 
It's like they are all closeted gays that would rather hang out (with a boyish girl) instead of coming out (with a real penis-bearer). Zing!

We have a deal. Let me write this white on white.

- eat two apples, a banana and some raisin. In the meantime the other guests had roughly a bottle of vodka and a half each.
This is funny because some of them that were pretty rude at the beginning (i.e. rolling up a joint while talking to me an then walk away to smoke it with somebody else) later became surprisingly friendly (i.e. hand me the entire filter to smoke some cardboard).
- meet the Uberstilish Goran, a designer from Maison Martin Margiela, that was irradiating coolness all around so brightly he had to wear sunglasses to protect his own retina. 

Although I'm a class-A wallpaper at parties I couldn't resist this dude that looks like he just popped from a Kusturica movie, minus a golden tooth or two.
I just had to speak to him. Here's what happened:

Marina Hermanovna: "I've been staring at you all night; you have the most amazing look ever"
He replied: "Funny. I was about to say the same thing about you"
MH - "You must be part of the fashion industry. Who do you work for?"
Goran - "Take a guess."
MH- "Ok, is it Helmut Lang?"
G - "No"
MH - "Ok ok, so is it Bruno Pieters?"
G - "Huh-uh"
MH -"Darn it! Who is it then?"

Who said models don't eat? Suzie likes to have 1kg cornflakes without milk every morning.

He handed me a white business card for an answer.  
As I squinted my eyes to read the white on white typing, I had the feeling the card was grinning at me. Finally the letters stopped dancing before my eyes and I was able to stutter


For the love of half-price Azzedine Alaia platforms, you should let an old lady have a seat before coming up with this kind of shoker. What happened next is just as shoking. 
The fiercly-clad macedonian born designer kept shooting me from all angles, telling me such flatteries that my keybord is blushing as I'm typing.

Who said models are stoopid? Suzie can breathe and count her toes at the same time!
While wearing glasses!

He also said he wanted me to model for the upcoming MMM showroom... so he would show his pics at his office and eventually call me for a go-see @ MMM headquarters.
Riiiight. I was like - "Dude, do you realize I can almost babysit the other girls?"
He just said "Let me do the talking. Don't say a thing. You are perfect for this".

Two days and lots of mobile staring later I got a call from MMM. I went there and a handsome guy took me to an even hotter dude, that led me to this beautiful italian lady, that slid me into an all-black spray-on jumpsuit and stared at me together with her assistant.

Marina it's my agent. He says if you are going to make me look like a nerd I might as well go home and play some Wii.

Hot MMM Mama: "What do you think?" (ah, I almost forgot what a weird feeling is being a model, when people talk about your appearence as if you weren't there!)
Assistant: "Mmmmm. Isn't she too skinny?" 
(WTF?! Too skinny to model? I'll have a three-days non-stop Chocolathon to get this job!")
Hot MMMM: "Well she sure has skinny-minnie thighs but this is actually good for the present collection. Have you already done this work before?" 
MH (don't say 10 years ago! don't say 10 years ago!!)
"Yes, for Martin Margiela and for Paul Smith, in Milan, back in the day" (shit! I blew it!)
Hot MMM Mama: "Oh no you didn't! With Vicky maybe?!"
MH: (Hmm, I don't recall any Vicky... I barely recall my zodiac right now...) 
"Oh actually I don't recall. It was too long ago (there I go again. Am I stupid or something?!)".

I'm pretty sure there used to be a plant right here where I'm sprinkling... let's just keep wtering, it will eventually grow back!

So, to make a long story short they liked me. 
My favorite designer hired me, not as a photographer but as a model. Wow. 
This makes me a model-turned photographer-turned model, if this makes any sense at all.

I had to go shopping to celebrate right away, so I bought this pair of UNIQUE shoes from Topshop and I started an intense styling session as soon as I got home that involved as well jumping, stripping and tiger claw climbing invisible walls to "Super Freak" by Rocasound Revamp, much to my kitties amazement.

So because of work (and me being a little lazy blogging as well, I won't lie) I am posting today some old pics I took back in March of model Sandra "Suzie Bird" Plassard @ ELITE, hoping you will forgive me and wait a few more days to see my interview with Mr. Dellerba from Givenchy. 
In the meantime check out this french beauty staying sexy with very invisible makeup , bedhair  and grandpa attire.
Right after this geeky shoot her carreer took off and she did Gucci and MMM runway... 


Marina Hermanovna

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fabulous Encounters #3

Hi you guys, it's Marina Hermanovna writing in her sleep. You read me.
Yesterday night I thought I'd write this post about my relationship with male models ('cuz I have one, you know!). But it was pretty late, so the Self Appointed Queen of Procrastination went to bed to try get some sleep. That was around midnight. Two hours and a half later I was still staring at the ceiling. Damn it!
Insomnia, here we go again.
There must be something about counting your cat's hair, surfing gossip websites and eating stuff that's been dwelling in the fridge way before Cher's first facelift... I've tried it all. I've tried melatonin. I've tried cat cuddling sessions (it didn't work, but now I know how to purr). I also tried banging my head against the wall in the hopes of fainting. Nothing worked.

So what I do when I can't get no sleep is styling. I open my closet and let the nightspiration do the magic. Sometimes I came up with some good ideas. Some other times - mostly when the moon is black - I turn into Marina Scissors Hands (all of my cutoffs lost their legs right before dawn). What worries me is that laltely I've started cutting T-shirts in a post-modern deconstructionist frenzy. Soon enough I'll be dressing like a homeless person, and ask you for some spare change.
Let's just focus on the positive - Blake. I met him in Hollywood Blvd with Rachel.
He said "Hey, nice hat!"- I said "I do!"
Later we went to some place where the stars eat veggie burgers that cost like cattle. We talked about his paintings and then he popped out something that made me choke on my ice green tea. Something about a several million dollars house, and he wanting me to get his picture taken over there.

Let me break this down for you:
- a hotter-than-lava male model stops me in Hollywood Blvd to compliment my outfit
- he wants to hang out (does this make me a cougar?!)
- he wants me to take his picture in a f**** gazillion dollar house
What's a girl photographer to do? Shoot him! Shoot him 'till he bleeds! So without further ado, let's bring to you the all-american sweetheart Blake Hardy.

- Blake Hardy -
Model @ Wilhelmina
Interview and pics by Marina Hermanovna

click onto the pictures to enlarge them
- It makes a HUGE difference -

1. Job/age/City your were born/City you live in?

I'm 21, from Cincinnati Ohio, the queen city as we like to call it… I live in L.A. now but I consider myself a gypsy. I feel like I have more to offer than just one title so I guess I'm an artist/model/stylist/jewlery maker/professional idiot.

2. When/how did you decide fashion was your business?
I think I've always known I would end up working in the fashion industry; I've been dressing men in my family and friends alike for a few years now and clothing is just another medium to express myself…. when I started modelling is when I got my foot in the door.

3. Favorite designers?
Marc Jacobs. I love a girl in a good Vivienne Westwood vintage piece. Prada is perfect for my body type, Ferragamo makes some nice shoes and Alexander McQueen is great at what he does; for everyday wear I love my close friend Lauren's line LnA. They have some dope high end knit tees that I can wear with anything. I also love pants by an L.A. company called "end of an era".
4. Last purchase, future purchase…
Ferragamo black leather dress shoes and "end of an era" high ankle rise black pants.

5. If your style was a city/a movie/a dish what would it be?
If N.Y. slept with L.A. and had a baby he would wear my clothes. Movie.. "Boondock Saints" mixed with a Spike Jonze skate video. Dish... ha umm steak and plantaines?

6. Name a style trend you could never follow or understand.
Abercrombie and Fitch and every other brand they've influenced. There is nothing wrong with a preppy look but being branded by one label and such a boring label is tragic, especially when you're paying them for the clothing. They'd have to give me a good rate to wear their name in giant letters across my chest.

7. If your house took fire and you had 30 seconds to pack before escaping, what would you take?
My Creativerec high top sneakers, the closest pair of jeans and my "end of an era" cashmere hoodie..and my medical marijuana jar so I can burn one down while I watch my house burn down!

To tan or not to tan, that's the question

8. What do you build your style around?
Whatever pants I put on that morning.

9. I could live my life in... is all you need (but if you are speaking about clothing then any pair of grey jeans and an electric blue deep v-neck).

10. Name three items or trends you’ll never be caught wearing.
You'll never see me wear Sketchers shoes. Anything created by Christian Audigier…and I hate how most men have a «"Friday night button down shirt" for whatever shitty club theyre going to.

11. Some girls buy too may shoes, others are bagaholics. I know one who has 100 bras. What’s your fashion bulimia?
Jackets. I've got way too many for living in southern California.

12. Tell me the three colors, three fabrics and the three brands you wear more often.
Black/white yellow and blue; I love cashemere but fabric isn't much of a concern to me. I just wear what I think looks good.

How am I supposed to change that bulb?

13. My youth fashion faux pas I’m not ashamed to reveal
Fake platinum chains and oversized Tommy Hilfiger shirts, ha!

14. The best fashion advice I was given
F**k what people think; if it makes you feel good wearing it then wear it.

15. Personal style icon?
Sinatra and I'll go with Johnny Depp for modern day; he pulls off the trashy sheek look pretty well.

16. Tell me the name of someone famous whose style is overrated and one whose style is underrated.
I don't pay much attention to the famous but Christian Audigier himself is the most pretentious person I've had to hear about in a long time. I love Gwen Stefani's style on girls, but you better own it to pull it off otherwise you just look like you're trying too hard.

17. Name a young designer off the chain.
All my boys over at "Creative Recreation" are taking over the shoe world.

click on the cuckoo clock to see the birdy come out*
T-shirt: LnA

18. When you’re designing (or painting !) you find inspiration in..
I take what the world gives me each day and reinterpret it in my art.. if not for my own personal amusement then just for anyone to see how I feel about life since putting it into words tends to be a difficult thing sometimes.

19. Tell me a funny fashion anecdote so we can laugh a little.
I had a casting once with a couple of friends from Wilhelmina (modeling angency, ndr) and it was for a denim brand. There was 5 people from the brand at the casting and it was in a big open space.
While the clients were looking at each of our portfolios and pulling us each a pair of jeans from the rack to try on, my friend leans over to me and says « dude… I didn' t wear underwear ! » and I give him an « are-you-kidding » look and start laughing.
I can see his eyes wandering the room looking for a place to change and there is nothing since the client and us both are used to changing in front of everyone; so as they're walking us over our jeans I just hear him mumble « f**k it » and in front of his 2 good friends and 5 strangers who he is basically interviewing for a job for, he just drops his pants with no underwear and all in front of these people and changes like it was nothing at all.
The clients jaws dropped and I heard a couple laughs and finally one of them asks « do you usually go without underwear or was that a special show just for us ? ».
He said he just forgot, and we finished changing and left but we all had a great laugh once we were out of there.

20. A fashion advice you want to give women?
Don't be afraid to dress down more. You don't always have to wear a dress or a skirt and sometimes when a girl dresses a little more unisex it can be attractive (Marina Hermanovna just loves this answer: thank you darling, +1000 points for this)

can you see the ladybug on my cheek? click to see it!**

21. Miniskirt past 40, what are your feelings?
If you got the body and your children aren't in the room :)

22. How do you do your makeup; what about yout hair, how do you wear it/take care of it?
I dont think this question is meant for me but sometimes for fun me and friends will put on black stripes under the eyes like war paint and go rage it at a dance club.

23. All time favorite beauty products?
American Crew hair wax.

24. Cheap & chic : your feelings towards vintage and thrift shops.
F***n love them! Something doesn't have to be expensive or have a label everyone knows for it to be cool or look good. I go to thrift shops once a month to buy sell and trade clothes, and I enjoy it.

25. H&M or Zara?

26. What’s the best and the worst part of your job?
Best part is travelling and being surrounded by other creative people and the money, I won't lie. The worst part is the stereotypes that people label you with but even worse is when the stereotypes are true and you have to deal with ignorant close-minded vain people.

**of course there's no birdy /ladybug to be seen, c'mon! :D


Marina Hermanovna

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fabulous Encounters #2

Hi you guys! It's been...
Well let's just say that I cut my hair twice and shaved my legs 30 times since the last time, right?
(Yeah 30, I'm italian, so what?)

Ok, so here's the interview with my friend Constance, wearing some outfits right from her amazing closet.
As if her closet wasn't amazing enough, she told me she has left most of her bags and dresses in Germany, at her mother's.
I'm seriously considering renting a german mother with a closet full of MiuMiu myself. Anyway.

The reason why I haven't updated my blog lately is because I got an editorial for a French magazine, and this means a lot of work: finding locations, models, makeup & hair, defining the style with my inseparable Lorraine and then of course shooting.

After the shooting comes the part I dread,
the editing (aka "the part in which your favorite pictures just don't look good together").

And then comes Photoshop, The Almighty.

A picture of my left emisphere - irreversibly damaged, courtesy of Adobe

Hell yeah, I passed the last two weeks in front of my Mac - holding firmly my graphic pen, listening to some trash euro pop and oldies - hoping to see the light.
Classic nerd stuff.
I'm not finished with the retouching yet, thus I haven't seen the light yet.
My complexion is starting to look greenish but I'm pretty sure I can't be synthethysing chlorophyll.

But you guys, you can go out, walk your dog, collect his crap, eat an icecream and do all the things you can't do when you're PhotoWashing your brain away so just please, do me a favor.
Next time someone says "Oh no problem! It can be easily fixed with Photoshop!", do reply on my behalf:
"Uh-uh! SHE will retouch it with Photoshop! "it" doesn't retouch a thing! And no, it ain't easy".
Thank you for clearing that up.

marina hermanovna

Wanna see my editorial pics? I know! I know! I cannot show you the pics because the magazine comes out in October - till then, just words and maybe a few backstage shots!

- Constance Astbury -
Fashion Designer
Interview & pics by Marina Hermanovna

(Yes, I only interview hot & talented people. I hope you don't mind)

Reminder: click onto my pics to enlarge them
('cause I'm worth it!)

1. Job/age/City your were born/City you live in?

I’m a fashion designer/ stylist/ painter/ creative thinker born in west Berlin. I actually live in L.A.

2. When/how did you decide fashion was your business?
When I got my first italian Vogue, at the age of 13.

3. Favorite designers?
I admire designers who follow the less the market rules – just like Martin Margiela and Miuccia Prada.

boots: Jil Sander
trench: vintage

4. Last purchase, future purchase?
Egyptian gauze wrap-skirt found on a long weekend in the desert of Palm Springs. I only think of the present…

5. If your style was a city/a movie/a dish what would it be?
It would certainly be « La dolce vita » by Federico Fellini.

6. Name a style trend you could never follow or understand.
None ?

7. If your house took fire and you had 30 seconds to pack before escaping, what would you take?
My vintage Playboy sunglasses!

8. What do you build your style around?
My mood determines my style. Mostly.

9. I could live my life in….
Bikinis and havaianas flip flops from Brazil.

dress: Givenchy
shoes: vintage Stella Mc Cartney

10. Name three items or trends you’ll never be caught wearing.

Never say never…

11. Some girls buy too may shoes, others are bagaholics. I know one who has 100 bras. What’s your fashion bulimia ?
Boots! I just can’t get me enough boots…

12. Tell me the three colors, three fabrics and the three brands you wear more often.
Black, Lila and Off White / Right now it's Givenchy, Balenciaga and Prada.

13. My youth fashion faux pas I’m not ashamed to reveal.
None !

14. The best fashion advice I was given.
Just follow your instinct.

15. Personal style icon.
Bianca Jagger.

16. Tell me the name of someone famous whose style is overrated and one whose style is underrated.
I have to be political correct and keep those secrets unpublished.

17. Name a young designer off the chain.
Students in college.

18. When you’re designing you find inspiration in...
People and all medias.

19. Tell me a funny fashion anecdote so we can laugh a little.
Once I had to cut a dress like 3 seconds before the show and then pinn it back together faster than light, and just pretend everything was made on purpose…

dress: Prada
shoes: vintage Marni

20. Fashion advice you want to give men.
Follow what suits your personality.

21. Miniskirt past 40, what are your feelings?
If you have the body and you know how to rock it, go for it.

22. How do you do your makeup; what about yout hair, how do you wear it/take care of it?
I love Shiseido's makeup. As for hair, I use products from Hawaii to keep it smooth.

23. My all time favorite beauty products and fragrances.
YSL nail polish and Odeur 54.

24. Cheap & chic : your feelings towards vintage and thrift shops.
Love ‘em ! One of my inspiration meccas.

25. H&M or Zara ?
No no no, I’d rather find something more original at thrift stores.

26. What’s the worst/best part of your job ?

When styles come out differently then you expected but in a surprisingly bad way…
And the best part is when everybody goes 'AHHHH' 'ooohhhhhh' 'amazing’ and any other word from the “joy vocabulary” - and all sorts of happy expressions on different faces. That speaks for itself.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fabulous Encounters #1

I know, I know.

dress: New Look
necklace: vintage
cat: one of a kind

I haven't been posting for ages - I'm sorry. I've been preparing the first of our three upcoming Fashion Encounters, which, together with my occasional working to pay for my spaghetti, made it impossible to update this blog. Up till now!

But  I'm back, chattier than ever, with a whole lotta pictures -  hoping you'll just give me some love in return. 

Soon enough I'll be posting the other two interviews/photoshoots I've been bragging about lately, one with a male model and the other with a very special fashion designer. 
You know you can't wait!  ;)

Marina Hermanovna

Fabulous Encounters n.1
 Lorraine Cassen - fashion editor
Interview by Marina Hermanovna 

Plume, Lorraine's cat, wasn't too pleased with the photoshoot

1. Job/age/City your were born/City you live in?
I'm 24 and I've always lived in Paris. I'm a fashion editor for magazines such as Enjoy, Dandy, L'Homme.

2. When did you decide your future was in the fashion industry?
After 3 years studying litterature, I had the opportunity to get a summer job at DS magazine. And that was it.

3. Favourite designers?
Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Christian Lacroix and of course Balenciaga.

So he managed to hide while the weird stranger kept blinking his big black eye

4. Last purchase, future purchase.
Two weeks ago I bought a pair of leather and wood sandals at Zara. Right now I'm dreaming of glads with heels, but I haven't found the perfect ones yet.

5. If your style was a city/a movie/a dish what would it be ?
Definitely Paris. Even if it sounds a bit cliché Paris is the most beautiful city in the world, and here women have an incredible style, as you can see on our blog. If I could live in a movie, I would choose Grease for the party dresses, the retro glasses and the perfect brushings. If my style was a dish, it would be an ice cream with whipped cream on top : colorful, girly and sweet.

Let's continue our investigation into this girl's closet, shall we?

6. A style trend you could never follow or understand.
Urban streetwear style, like Marithé and François Girbaud... it might be charming on some girls, but it just doesn't work for me.

We've found the body of evidence: this girl is a huge fashion victim!

7. If your house took fire and you had 30 seconds to pack before escaping, what would you take? 
My cat, Plume.

8. What do you build your style around?
First I choose the shoes and some accessories; the rest of the look just follows.

9. I could live my life in….
Jeans, especially skinny: I think they are elegant and comfy.

10. Name three items or trends you'll never be caught wearing.
Ballerinas, and others flat shoes. Baggy jeans. And red, that looks awful with my blond hair (aside from accessories).

11. Some girls buy too may shoes, others are bagaholics. I know one who has 100 bras. What's your fashion bulimia?
I can't resist scarfs, I must own at least 50, and I keep buying more!

12. Tell me the three colors, three fabrics and the three brands you wear more often.
I wear mostly black, yellow and my beloved pink. As for fabrics I wear denim, cotton and cashmere. My favourite brands are H&M, New Look and N2 jewels.

13. My youth fashion faux pas I'm not ashamed to reveal.
I've made many faux pas, because I've tried anything. But the combo miniskirt + fishnet stockings and stilettos takes the cake. Or maybe baggy jeans with a big Nike / Schott logo sweater... this used to be cool when I was fifteen. I'm just sayin'.

14. The best fashion advice you were given?
Color on your nails is good for your mood!

15. Personal style icon.
Kate Moss, Agyness Deyn, Cameron Diaz.

top and bracelets: H&M
skinny jeans: Cheap Monday
sandals: Bruno Frisoni
wristwatch: vintage
hat: Sandro (not visible in this pic!)

16. Tell me the name of someone famous whose style is overrated and one whose style is underrated.
Cameron Diaz always looks amazing on the red carpet. She can make a jumpsuit look expensive. Kylie Minogue has the worst look for me: granny in the daytime, blah at night.

17. Name a young designer off the chain.
Gareth Pugh, but he's already big in the UK.

18. When designing you find inspiration in...
I'm afraid I cannot design… I'm absolutely hopeless.
(To be fair that's my fault: she's a stylist not a designer - I should have asked her a different question! )

19. Tell me a funny fashion anecdote so we can laugh a little.
Spaghetti straps just don't like sitting on my shoulders, I guess. They tend to pop in the middle of the street, of course when I'm on my way to work and possibly late.

20. Fashion advice you want to give men.
Steer clear of hair products and huge baggy jeans. Try instead handbags and V neck t-shirts.

21. Miniskirt past 40, what are your feelings?
If the legs are OK why not? A woman can be beautiful at any age.

top: vintage
vest, pants  and necklace: H&M
bracelets: Claire's
sandals: Zara

22. How do you do your makeup? What about your hair, how do you wear it/take care of it?
I'm a make up addict, I can't see myself going out without powder, blush, flashy eyeshadow, khôl, mascara and lipstick. I bleach my hair so I must take care of it; I use moisturizing masks from Mizani.

23. My all time favorite beauty products and fragrances.
I'm addicted... to Dior Addict! I think it's sexy. And I'm also a fan of AquaEyes crayons from Make Up for Ever: fancy colors, easy to apply.

24. Cheap & chic: your feelings towards vintage and thrift shops.
I'm crazy about vintage and I love going to thrift shops and markets where I can find unique items for a few euros.

sweater, bracelets and T-shirt: H&M
shorts: New Look
platform sandals: Fornarina

25. H&M or Zara? 
H&M forever. They have the best styles, prices and quality.

26. What's the most difficult part of your job?
To deal the with the big ego of oh so many people…