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Hair by An Le

Today we welcome An Le to the blog for the first time. Le attends the Savannah College of Art & Design. He majors in photography and will graduate next year. His story Hair was shot in Savannah, Georgia USA, and the actual shooting was completed in 40mins. Le told us of his workflow… “I always plan a lot prior to the shoot,first with pencil sketches for composition and poses. I find that if I start out with some structure and then let things flow naturally, everything comes out beautifully and works effortlessly. But I also let everything come together and grow naturally during the shoot. This shoot in particular was very organic. It took us 5 hours to set-up the set and lighting but when we were doing the first look it started to rain…so everything was shot in about 40 minutes. But since I already knew what I wanted to achieve, the shoot moved pretty easily. One of my quickest shoot times ever in fact.”

Le is fascinated by plastic and explained, apropos the imagery in his story, that he has long been intrigued by contradictions, and by the juxtaposition of images that are perhaps incoherent. He said of the weird and post-apocalyptic setting he and his team created in the woods… “I find balance in the opposition of things and I have always wanted to do something cool with plastic. I’m fascinated by the texture (or lack-of) of plastic and its thickness combined with its opacity. It also gives me a weird sensation when I touch it. By placing the plastic wrap in nature, I sought to contrast the natural and the unnatural. The clothes (by Lauren Mayhew & Adriana Osorio Lugo) are also strange and exotic. I think the environment goes well with the clothes; it is as if they are in their own barren and opaque world.”

Le joked of his propensity for wrapping things in plastic… “I was inspired by Dexter, the drama show. But here I’m wrapping up nature in plastic and not people ;-). He adds… I was also inspired by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Their work is amazing and ambitious.”

When asked about photographers he admires Le says immediately “Oh! I love love Mert & Marcus, Steven Klein, Steven Meisel, Robert Parke-Harrison, Joel Peter-Witkin, also Herb Ritts.”

Le told us he asked the hairstylist to spray the models’ hair with colored hairspray so as to lift the overall monochromatic coloring created by the landscape.

Le worked with several models. We asked him ‘Did you go out of your way to find models with a particular look. Were they models you already knew? If you went out of your way to find them how did you do so?’ “I do choose the talents very carefully he replied. Most of the time, I choose base on the vision I have for the shoot. For this shoot, I wanted more of an edgy look so I chose models with great bone structure. This combined with the fantastic make-up by Mabani Hernandez and Zachary Taylor made the models look how I had envisioned them. When I was at school, I put up casting calls to find new faces; sometimes I used the models I already knew. And sometimes I put out a street-casting. Now, I work with agencies such as Ford, Red, Next, Supreme, Muse, etc.. Whatever works. I love fresh models. I like discovering new faces.”

We also asked designer Lauren Mayhew, a recent graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (this time in fashion design) about her work. She says… “I am currently working for Target as a clothing designer in my home state of Minnesota. I had the privilege of showing some garments from my Hair collection in September’s New York Fashion Week as part of Elle magazine’s Fashion Next runway show, and also had work published in the October issue of Elle. In fashion, I am very much drawn to unconventional materials, clashing prints, and the punk-inspired.

My garments were originally inspired by the stylized hair of women in Art Nouveau paintings. However, the inspiration rapidly evolved into a singular infatuation with the material of hair and the processes through which I could manipulate it. My work is all synthetic platinum blonde hair purchased from a beauty supply store that I then dip-dye a green pastel color (coincidentally reflecting current hair trends).

Since the material of hair was unfamiliar territory for my professors, I had to teach myself countless unusual techniques for working with it. I found help in weave and wig styling online tutorials and even a Chris Rock documentary called Good Hair. In a way, this collection was the culmination of my obsession of the past four years as my own hair was constantly changing colors and cuts. I’ve discovered that hair is essential to my identity (as I am certain it is for many others).”

Photography - An Le
Designers - Lauren Mayhew, Adriana Osorio Lugo
Models - Lauren Herasimtschuk, Paige Carpenter, Christina Beckum
Alexandria Angel, Zachary Taylor
Makeup & Hair -  Mabani Hernandez, Zachary Taylor
Assistants - Chris New, James Sakalian III, Elliot Ross