Photo: Roy Beeson
Makeup: Nina Soriano
Hair: DeAndre Peoples
Stylist: Derek Nguyen
Models: Lulu and Sophia at Wilhelmina
Photography Assistance / Production: Teddy Nelson
Photographed on location on Grand St., Hope St., Rodney St., Keap St., Borinquen Pl. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
The nature of the parks on Rodney St is a common space for a neighborhood that slowly grows and changes. There are little sections of street carved off from Borinquen Place with a park bench and overgrown spaces in between two luxury condo buildings overgrown with weeds and used as a dumping ground. The random placing of the plywood and the fencing has a strange beauty to it; symmetry to what happens in a world transformed by commerce and slow city planning.
Sophia is energetic and lively and the term effervescent is used more than once by the team. I really enjoy how aware Sophia is of not only that she is modeling but also of her personal role in the shoot and in her career and aware of the industry’s role in society at large. She actively thinks of the big picture and is not afraid to challenge ideas or her own thinking. She questions me constantly about books and writers and her own blog, which is about to launch.
We started our shoot in front of a building that has always been quite mysterious, yellow brick with blue aluminum sliding gates. No one knows what is in the building or has ever seen anyone go in there. There are no windows. My neighbor wants to open an after-hours gay bar there. Sophia walks in front of the building back and forth, we follow each other around a little bit, the standard game of chase between photographer and model, walking to camera away from camera circling around.
We next shoot in front of an open hydrant spraying water on the street, a common sight in the summer here. I found once a wrench in our basement that opens the hydrants. Just behind us watching us are Tia and a few other neighbors who gather every day and sit outside and listen to 1960s salsa and merengue music from 3 to 7PM. Tia asks me, “Where is my baby?” referring to my 6-month-old son who she constantly teases me that she will kidnap him.
As we run out of light, Sophia and I walk to Borinquen Street where we stand in front of the old car wash now torn down and a small flat iron building for mechanics also torn down and the Damon House, a substance abuse center that used to have lots of men standing around and pacing while chain smoking cigarettes. After a change, we walk beside the playground of the Arbor school PS 414, a new magnet school replacing one before with dwindling resources. We shoot on the street little in front of Lighthouse, Assaf and Naama’s restaurant, in what was a Cuban restaurant where we draw the interests of early diners there. We walk across the street and shoot at a bodega that has been there for years, where I used to buy “deli cat” food for the neighborhood feral cats at the cat colony down the street. We stop at a dry cleaners ask politely if we can shoot outside then come inside and climb up on the drop off the table.