The prettiest movie I’ve seen in a long time.

I know I’m a little late on this one, but The Diving Bell and Butterfly (Day 264) was really spectacular.  I love the idea of shooting from the view point of someone who is completely paralyzed and only has his limited site from wherever he’s orchestrated by the people surrounding him.  The challenge of focusing his eye becomes the audience’s entertainment.  As Julian Schnabel says, it’s a movie about seeing.

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi635765017/

From a photographer and stylist standpoint, it makes you think about creating a world from one perspective.  Here’s the trailer.

Is copying the most sincere form of flattery?

Yes, and surprisingly, increases the fashion industry’s sales.  I found this video on Ted TV about how copyright law’s grip on film, music and software hurts them in the long run, while fashion’s policy of being practically copyright free boosts innovation and sales.  Johanna Blakley talks about what all creative industries can learn from fashion’s free culture.

I highly recommend exploring TED TV if you haven’t already.  Why spend a million dollars to get advice from Bill Gates over lunch when you can watch one of his talks on Ted TV naked (if that’s your thing), in the privacy of your own home ?

As gay as a Sunday afternoon.

Sometimes my job forces me to rely on different cliches and stereotypes so that an image is eye catching and instantly apparent.  My challenge was to really overstate the different stereotypes we have of homosexuals. Relying on these stereotypes may be at odds of what we all know to be true about life.  My inspiration comes from nothing actual, but rather taking one small characteristic and running with it.  I have a lot of gay friends and none of them are represented here because they wear shirts other than in convenient stores, hate spandex, and only use oil while cooking.  You can almost relate it to reality TV.  Why do I like to watch the Real Housewives?  Because extreme characters are entertaining.  Yes, this photograph is silly, but I think it captures the fun in the gay community of Chicago.  I can only speak for myself, but it sure makes me want to go to the parade this weekend.

A big thanks to the photographer Michelle Nolan and hair, make up artist Kerre Berry, and TIME OUT for being such a delight to work with!

Shopping fo’ “realz.”

Being a stylist in Chicago and working with more ad and editorial clients than anything else, I find myself shopping for real people more than models.  In comparing the two, shopping for models is a breeze; women are typically a 2 or 4, men are a 15.5 to 16 shirt and 32/34 pant, pretty much across the board.   As you know, “real” people’s body parts grow in different directions and at different rates.  They may be one size in one area, but completely different in another.  The key to shopping for these mystery bodies that you haven’t seen pictures of yet or have met in person is to ask the buggers out of them with questions before you hit the stores.  Just getting their sizes is never enough because most people are married to the wrong size and don’t even know it.  Here is my questionnaire that has never done me wrong.

  1. What is your height and weight?
  2. What is your pant, shirt, jacket and dress size?
  3. Shoe size?
  4. What body feature do you like to emphasize, if any?
  5. What body feature do you like to camouflage, if any?

For editorial, I have a couple of more questions for the talent.  This is because if I’m shopping for someone who is featured in a magazine, I really want them to love what they’re wearing and to really feel like themselves, but better.  I don’t want to put someone in an Opening Ceremony dress when they shop at Ann Taylor.  The story is about them, so let’s keep the clothes about them too.

  1. Where are your favorite places to shop?
  2. How would you define your style?
  3. What could you never see yourself in?

The last thing that I have learned the hard way is to never go by the comp cards given by the talent agency.  ALWAYS call to reconfirm their sizes.  I once had a “real” talent gain 40 pounds since his comp card was taken and clearly wasn’t the same size anymore.  Yikes!  You can always avoid this headache by calling first.  It’s always the little things….

LIFESTYYYYYLLLLLEE!

I have to admit it, I hate the term lifestyle for naming a genre of photography.  I can’t utter the word without yelling it like I’m Oprah giving away free cars.  It’s a pretty silly way to sum up a series of pictures because who’s lifestyle are you talking about?  I sure don’t live that way, but I do wish I was as fun and cute as these girls.  A big thanks to Avery House for taking these amazing shots, Julius Toussaint for the hair, Ford for letting us use their lovely ladies, and Kerry Crawford for the amazing makeup.  You can now also see the images on my site at www.www.courtneyrust.com

To be continued….

I’ve been working more in film and video over the past year where I’ve been painstakingly focusing on the art of continuity.  It’s one of the most important tasks a costume or set designer undertakes because everything must make sense from frame to frame and be continuous.  This is something I never had to worry about in print.  Stylists in print’s only concern is the perspective from the camera.  No other angle in the room matters.  You’re also only concerned with that splice of 1/125th of a second.  It is by no means easier, just different.  But, as you know, you can really make or break a scene if the opening shot of the breakfast table has Sunny D and the cut going back to the same scene shows Hawaiian Punch.  Your goal is to avoid head scratching and appearing in the goofs category on IMdb.  Therefore, you have to document like a crazy woman absolutely everything that makes it to tape and keep referring back to your notes.

Last week I had a special opportunity to work with an outstanding crew on two short films shot on the south side of Chicago as a set decorator.  I can’t wait to see the final product!  Here are a couple of outtakes.

Nuts!

You win some, you lose some.  A freelancer’s schedule is excellent most of the time.  I’ll admit it, it’s really nice to have a random day off in the middle of the week.  I get to go to Trader Joe’s and not feel like I’ve just watched 400 moms go AWOL because I have an unpredictable, completely random schedule where I get most things done when everyone else is working.  In the good ol’ days, you were so busy that you never batted an eye at telling someone you were booked, even though you were actually going camping for the weekend.  Those days seem to be gone for the most of us.  You never know when the economy is going to jump ship again, and the industry is going to come to a screeching halt.  Also, I just like to work. But what if your schedule is completely out of your hands?

Today, I got a VERY exciting phone call from a television producer in LA to work on a makeover series with the winner from Project Runway.  The call was especially painful because she told me all the HOLY CRAP, please pinch me details of the project prior to mentioning the dates.  This just happens to be the week one of my favorite ladies in the whole wide universe is getting married, a wedding I’m standing up in.  Wheeeew, no that’s not a stiff breeze, that’s the sound my stomach makes when I get the wind knocked out of me.  DANG!  What’s a lady to do other than pass the job to someone she really trusts.

Now back to the positive….  Another plus about being a freelancer is that you get to refer people when you’re unavailable.  I look forward to these opportunities.  I know I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for the special people I met in the early days who liked me enough to pass my name along to photographer’s when I was a photo assistant, even though I was green.  I still get 70% of my work from referrals.  I’m forever gracious for those referrals and the best way to say thanks in our industry is to pass your great opportunity onto a well deserved friend.

Today I may have lost an unbelievable opportunity, but I’m positive it won’t be the last AND most importantly, I got to send a special thanks to a friend.