Romeo and Juliet Genlux + Video

15 01 2010

Romeo and Juliet Genlux 1All Images © 2009 Melissa Rodwell Photography

When asked to shoot an editorial for Genlux Magazine, Stephen Kamifuji, the creative director, gave me two choices: I could shoot a beauty story based on a man and woman kissing or a fashion story based on the famous love story of Romeo and Juliet. I chose the fashion story. The theme for Genlux’s fall fashion magazine is Love, so obviously kissing and Romeo and Juliet are story ideas that depict the theme. Honestly I would have liked to have shot a beauty story for Genlux because it’s been a few years since I’ve done one for them but when Stephen presented both ideas to me, for some reason I felt more inclined to do the fashion story. I worked with stylist George Blodwell again because I like his work and I like working with him. Whether George’s website showcases more celebrity dressing/red carpet styling rather than editorial, one has to remember we are based here in Los Angeles and our market is celebrity driven. Many talented stylists ( wardrobe, hair and make up included ) market themselves towards the celebrity market when they are based out of Los Angeles. If you click on the artists name that has a hyper link and actually check out the agency site and more importantly, the artist’s link, you will see that most agencies have a celebrity section along with the editorial and advertising sections on their artists.

Check out the Behind the Scenes Video! A HUGE thanks to Matt Stone, for filming and editing the video ~


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After speaking with Stephen on the phone, I wrote out a shot list and put together a mood board for him. We ended up bouncing ideas back and forth and finally came up with the final concept. I wanted to shoot the story in a studio rather than on location because I wanted the story to have a “stage play” feel. Since Romeo and Juliet is a Shakespearean play with a lot of emotional twists and turns that ultimately ends in tragedy, I thought the studio, lit like a stage, would be a great way to tell the story. One of the ways I worked out the shot list was by going back and reading the play again. It helped me to develop a beginning, a middle and an end to the 8 pages I was given. Once we decided on the shoot date I reached out to Frank Moore at Celestine, who referred me to Patrick Tumey. I’ve worked with Patrick a bunch of times and he’s not only a talented make up artist, he’s great to have on set! Johnny Stuntz did the hair. Johnny is repped by Photogenics here in LA and he’s just the coolest.

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Of course, casting began right after we settled on the concept and shoot date. I wanted to work with Peter Ursich again, as I had just shot him for another editorial and I really love how he photographs. I sent Stephen the link to his pictures on the LA Models site and Stephen agreed he was perfect as Romeo. Now I had to find a girl that would work well with Peter. I contacted Phira, a booker at  Photogenics, to help me on this one and after seeing a few girls decided on a gorgeous new face. Joanie Del Santo was our Juliet. Both models were so great to work with. Joanie did a great job especially for being new to modeling. And I thought Peter and her worked great together. They had a nice chemistry between the two of them!

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I shot the editorial at Smashbox in West Hollywood. Great studio, great team of people there! And they make a damn good cappuccino! I used my Nikon D2x, switching back and forth between the  35mm 2.0 and a 85mm 1.4 lens to capture the shoot. My f-stop averaged around F8. I was at a 100 ISO. I never went below 1/125 with my shutter speed.  Since I wanted to shoot the editorial to look like a stage production, I lit the set accordingly. In other words, I created stage lighting with two profoto heads with beauty dishes angled high above the models and a small chimera softbox on a third head, placed to the side of the models to create a fill light. I used some back lighting at times to create a “spotlight” effect as if it were on an actual theater stage and we were viewing a play. Alex Vazquez was my first assistant, Carmen Chan was second assistant and Matt Stone came out again, this time to capture it on video. David was there to upload the images after they were shot. My team has always been important to me and I like to give credit to all who put in their best to help me accomplish a shoot.

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The day was pleasant and the shoot went very smoothly. We shot all 8 pages under the 6 PM wrap time. The creative director and editor  were on set the day of the shoot as is the norm. Again, the team of people involved in a shoot are so important. The end results from all of my shoots are the sum total of the whole team’s effort. Sure, I’ve worked with people who I haven’t clicked with or I have felt were not putting in that great of an effort. I’ve worked with people that I didn’t work twice with. However, even if the chemistry wasn’t there the day we worked together but they still did a great job, I’m going to give them the credit they deserve. It’s about acknowledging talent and effort. It’s a competitive business, if you haven’t gotten that already from my blog. If I can do one thing positive for my team, it would be to always be grateful for their work and give them as much credit as I humanly can. Here are the end results from a team of people that continually come together to create!

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