Puttin’ on the Ritz

“She learned to survive and reinvent herself.

She envisioned a better, elegant future for herself.

Like me, she knew you had to have a vision.”

-American Hustle

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The Ritz Carlton in Downtown Los Angeles, March 2014

Photographer/Director, Evan Woods

Model/MUA/Stylist, Morgan Ryan 

 

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“There is it,”  he said. I focused my eyes in the direction of Evan’s attention.

The Ritz Carlton.

It shined liked a beacon of light against the dark starlit sky. A diamond amongst all other skyscrapers. Outlined in fluorescent light we were innately drawn to its beauty, like moths to a flame. Only this time we were bringing the heat.

As we made our way up to the lobby, a  dormant volcano in my stomach awakened from its once deep slumber and began to bubble. This feeling can be described as excitement mixed with a dash of danger. As a little girl my dad would ask if I wanted  go on a mission. By ‘mission’ he meant errand, but the aspect of play surely made the mundane feel exciting at that age. Their was a spark of this childhood memory as we entered the 5 star hotel. We merely intended to use the space as our playground and like kids in a candy store that would be no issue.

.  .  .

 I jumped out of the shower when my phone rang.

“Helllurrrr, I’m Here,” sang a familiar voice.

Shit.

The sun was setting and we were in a rush against time. Evan rummaged through my closet as I began doing my makeup, which consisted of a simple bold magenta lip and some mascara on the top lashes. My hair still wet from my shower, Evan encouraged me to leave it and let it air dry. This put me face to face with one of my pettiest fears,  going out in public without styling my hair. To be completely honest, I have always gone out of my way to control my hair and keep it as far away from it’s natural wavy state. At that moment, Jim Morrison reminded me,

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that,

fear has no power,

and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. 

You are free.” 

A good photo comes down to execution and performing under pressure, and you either got it or you don’t. Evan and I began a method of creation in which I simply coin, “guerrilla editorials.” With a spontaneous element to our work, we don’t necessarily plan our shoots. In a way, we go against everything that has been taught about a standard photo shoot. We move based on instinct and intuition. Till this day I still seem to surprise myself  with how easy things work out when you don’t try.

One thing is for certain:

We don’t follow rules,

we go out of our way to break them.

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