This shoot was full of drama from the beginning. When there are lots of different elements involved like animals or vehicles, things always start to get tricky. But, I wanted the look to be elegant with an incredibly lavish car and a custom couture dress. So.. the hunt was on.
I have used classic cars in the past so immediately, I contacted a friend of mine who let us use his car for our teaser, Stump Hole Water. He lead us to Ruth Ann, who is the reporter for the Old Salem Chapter of the AACA. She writes their newsletters which are full of adventure and good humor. As soon as I told her my vision, she immediately understood and was so generous in her efforts to help me. Because of Ruth Ann, I was able to use the most incredible 1949 Mark V Saloon Jaguar.
This car is not only beautiful, but she is royalty. Her original owner was the King of Belgium and she's only the second car to come out the Jaguar factory as a left hand driver. Norm Parrish, the current owner, purchased her in 1991. Norm said even Jeff Gordon has contacted him regarding purchasing the car (but keep that on the down low).
After I found the car, I officially locked in my shooting date. I had previously contacted a large estate in Winston Salem about shooting on their property. The event coordinator was super nice on the phone in our initial conversation. She said, as long as I'm not with a wedding party or selling the images of their estate, I'd be welcome to use their facade and driveway. I mentioned the car and told her I'd get back to her with a date ASAP.
So... here's where the real drama begins. Now that I have the car, I call the lady back from the estate. I leave her several messages, but a week goes by and no response. So, I called her again. And then I emailed her, and after three weeks, I finally receive a response. Needless to say, I bailed on the estate for logistical reasons.
Now, I'm a little worried. My shoot is coming up in less than a week and I haven't found a new location! Jesse (who is my gaffer/electrician on all these shoots) and I drive around Winston Salem for two days searching in the best neighborhoods. Finally, we stumble upon this corner lot castle.
The house was empty, so I contacted the HOA to see who owns it. Apparently, it's owned by an insanely wealthy CEO who no longer lives in the state. Seriously? I'm supposed to find the contact information for a millionaire in Chicago? Yikes! Believe it or not, I sent the gentleman a LinkedIn message to which he said, "please welcome yourself to the property." I mean... what?!? He couldn't have been any kinder about the situation. He didn't ask for anything in return and he was fairly quick to respond to me. Love it.
Now, all we need to do is pick up the dress. My model, Brooke Goette, is a psychology major who, when she's not off to her last semester of classes, can be caught working on her art or volunteering. She loves pottery and sculpture and helps children with autism. She's incredibly silly and also bares a strong resemblance to Elizabeth Olsen. She couldn't be more perfect, right?
Brooke and I went to my absolute favorite seamstress in town for this gown. Ms. Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Alterations in Greensboro is so talented. Although she's most well known for her wedding gown alterations, she is also an atelier. You can bring any dress design to her and she will make it for you. She hand made both the dress, which is silk jersey and embroidered the headband for this photoshoot.
On the day of the shoot, everything goes just smoothly. That is really the best feeling. And it's what makes all the BS in pre-produciton tolerable. I had a great time with Brooke and Norm. Check out the behind the scenes photos below and as always, the final images are up on my portfolio page.