The Mysterious World of Actress Lara Megan Mistretta


A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

In my search in photography for real life experiences, real people, real life stories, real life moments, I decided to search inside the world of actors and more specifically I wanted to see the life from inside of an actress, the places she likes, the place she lives and her passions.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

So I contacted Lara, a french actress born from the mix of an Italian father and an argentinian mother, an interesting 3 cultures cocktail. I had met her 2 years ago when we did a small shooting in a studio while I was in the photography school,  but this time I wanted to take pictures of her universe, staying with her during one day, to get a touch of her life, so I proposed her the idea and she immediately accepted.

That day I arrived to Lara´s home located in a typical parisian building in the 3rd district of Paris, a very particular place of the city center where you can find a mix between the jewish neighborhood called Le Marais, the trendy stores, the cool restaurants and also a strong presence of the gay community.

The door of the building had a beautiful grayish blue color with some small windows guarded by steal bars with amazing plant´s shapes. When you open the door a classical checked black & white floor welcomes you surrounded by mirrors that seems to be staring at you until the end of the hall where a door with colorful stained glass invites you to go into the typical parisian wooden snail staircases. Everything in the halls was perfectly painted, with really good taste and simplicity, it was like entering into the beginnings of XIX century in a really pleasant way.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I knocked in the door and Lara opens, letting me go inside of her calmed, relaxed and mysterious world. An apartment with a very beautiful light that enters through 4 huge windows and bathes the whole apartment with an special energy, an energy that I´m sure is potentiated by Lara´s aura itself. Lara was dressed like at home, in a really relaxed way, with a pink extra size shirt and black leggins, really confortable and natural, exactly what I wanted for the start of the shoot, I wanted the real way, her way.

We started talking about her place, her life, the weather, the light, the cappuccino that she made me, about how she eats in a really healthy way since she´s a child by her own decision, long before all this fashion of being healthy arrived (no meat or processed food is included on her diet), about her neighbors and the cat that from time to time she coddle when he knocks on her door and of course about the passions that she has in life besides acting.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I discovered that behind her big and beautiful eyes the soul of a real passionated artist is living the present to express her feelings, desires, dreams, fears and demons. Lara not only has followed her passion for acting studying at many different schools like Cours FlorentCNRR (Conservatoire National) Nice or Atelier Blanche Salant & Paul Weaver  and winning prices like the Soulier d’Or for best actress in “Lifever” at Festival 2013, the Grand Prix of the Jury du Dau’Film Festival 2013 and Special price of the jury for the best actress Palmares at the Vidéo Festival of Voreppe in « Lifever » de Ted Hardy Carnac 2014, but also she´s an avid writer keeping her own well decorated personal books and diaries, at the same time she also paints when the inspiration of the daily life comes and makes her hands flow with her soul over the canvas.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

But it doesn´t end there, she also loves to dance and letting her body free her inner energies and desires whenever she´s alone at her place or when assisting to the Centre de Danse du Marais – Mia Frye to dans street jazz. In sum, Lara is like one of those living volcanos that appears beautiful and calmed from outside, but inside her bowels the hot lave of her artistic passion is boiling getting ready to explode when the time comes to show to the artistic world her existence.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

When you talked to Lara, you feel the mystery on her life, on the way she sees and she talks, the way she thinks and goes from one topic to the other, the way she takes you from one situation to the next one, you start discovering the parallel worlds that she can see not only through her real eyes, but with the eyes of her soul. Since she´s a child she has had the ability to experience things that not many of us can, having out of body experiences like that one time while staying at her apartment being awake she was able to see what was her girl friend doing in the corridor of the entrance of the building while she was 6 floors above her, when her friend came back into her apartment Lara asked her if she was doing this and that and her friend was just amazed to tell her that was exactly what she was doing downstairs. The mysterious soul of Lara is enriched by this type of parallel world stories and many more out of which she could made a film saga if that was her desire.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

That day, as the time passed by, Lara started opening more and more layers of her life for me to see and to know, it was like an artichoke that was taking away little by little, one by one of her petals. We went for a walk, we had lunch together in a very typical parisian cafe, we went to the marché des enfants rouges, walk around different corners of the neighborhood and came back to her home with the soul and the life richer by the fact that we had learned from the life experience of each other in a sincere way.

A day on Lara´s life.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Here are the pictures of the amazing journey with the polyvalent, mysterious, calmed and full of good vibes of Lara Megan Mistretta, hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Cheers!

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Universal Connection


© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I remember very well, when I was a child the first time somebody explained me that our ¨huge¨ planet was just a tiny particle in the middle of a infinite space. I felt an indescribable emptiness in my stomach and a feeling of confusion in my head, how could it be possible that such a huge planet, where the humans are the “kings” and “lords” would be just a grain of sand in the immensity of the universe?

Ever since then, I had this question on my mind and the curiosity about the universe, the stars, our planet and the energy that goes around all of them, specially how we as humans are connected to this huge and unknown system? Little by little, I started finding information, people and knowledge that allow me to start understanding a little bit more how and where to start putting the first pieces of the puzzle in my head and soul to understand the riddle.

After all these years, I have come to some conclusions, today I want to share one of them with you, which was my first personal approach to understand the universe at this moment in my life. I dont pretend for this to be an indissoluble truth and even less pretend to convince you of something… these are just some thoughts, that can evolve and change with time as the universe does every day.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Today I understand that we human beings are not the lords of our planet nor even of the universe, we are just another tiny grain of sand which has a role in the gear of universe. I started to think this way the day I found a paragraph in the book of CelsusOn the True Doctrine: The Discours Against the Christians“, the paragraph says “…And if they object this verse from Euripides: “The sun and the night are at the service of man”, I will ask, why were them made more for us than for ants and flies? The night doesn’t serve them, as it does for us, to rest, the sunlight to see clearly and work?…”

That specific paragraph made a change in my way to see the universe, I understood that our huge planet, which is in direct connection with our solar system and with the universe, is also in direct connection with that ant and vice versa. At the same time the planet has this same relation with me, with no distinctions, the ant and me are in the same level of relation for the planet, so If I wanted to be connected to the universe, I should have a honest relation with the planet as the wise ant does.

To have that honest relation with the planet, I should start by having a honest relation with me and that starts by finding what is my real task in life, as the ant knows it and just does it. In my case, for many different cultural and religious reasons that were blocking my mind, my soul and my spirit, it took me 35 years to find out which was that task  that will allow me a honest connection with the Universe.

When you find that task you should perform in the planet, you will know it immediately because ones you do it for the first time, every one of your atoms will be vibrating  of joy, you will lose the sense of the time passing, the more you do it, the more you will feel energized instead of tired and you´ll always have the desire of  going back and do it again.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

My task to connect with the Universe is the art of Photography, it is a daily task that connects me honestly with my surroundings, with the planet, with my interior, with the present but at the same time, in the same millisecond I press the shooter it’s also connecting me with the past  that I just frozen with my camera for ever. The act of photographing and photography itself are linked to connect me with the universe.

During the last year, I had the desire to do a series of pictures to show the relation I´m trying to construct with our planet and to the infinite ocean of galaxies that are out there. Last December, I went to a region in the central Colombian Andes range, which have been related to my family for the last 5 generations; we have been working and living close to those mountains, I have felt and seen those landscapes since I have a memory. When I am there, I always go to a mountain near the house, lay down in the ground, close my eyes and just relax, be in the present, breath and feel with all my senses the connection with our planet.

Last time while sitting there, I had the idea to do a series of photos in that place by night, so I could show the landscape in connection with the stars of the universe, all connected in one frame through my eyes; the 3 of us connected in one single image to accomplish my task as the ant does to be literally connected to the Universe in one picture.

Cheers!

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Photography: Like a Sailor Quest


Rue de Rivoli

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

The sun comes up, the alarm screams at loud, there is a new day starting to be discovered; my brain slowly, very slowly starts coming down from gamma vibrations to start connecting again with reality and my soul starts coming back filling my body from the crown of my head to the tip of my thumb until the moment when I´m completely conscious to remember that a new opportunity to start a search is now starting.

I say “search” because it’s the word that has haunted in my mind during the last times, a search that is more likely a Quest, which the Oxford dictionary defines as: A long or arduous search for something. It is a photography quest to find my own way to see outside through the discovery of my inside, I believe we see reality according to our own experience, which means reality is something as individual as the number of people in this planet. Even though everything is inside you, the quest to find the essence and put it in your pictures is the challenge.

LAC201507160231

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Fifteen minutes after, I jump out from the warmth of my bed, have an energetic breakfast, take a hot shower, check the weather predictions, get dress accordingly, grab my camera and sail out of my place into the big ocean that represent the streets of Paris.  Ironically I need to start a quest outside, to find out my inside as a projection in my pictures, it’s almost like a self therapy to rediscover yourself in every click.

To find your photographic voice, there are no shortcuts, no magic answers, no apps, no technology, no famous check lists of things to do like those ones which are so popular on internet or crap like that. It’s a process that takes time, effort, study, observation but the must important of all: doing pictures every day if it’s possible, it doesn’t matter if the pictures are not directly related to the field of photography that you’re developing right now.

Real photography at the end is about photographing what fascinates you,  every day for sure you will discover things that fascinates you in many different ways in your surroundings and photographing them will give you the opportunity to put all that knowledge together to after using it in your field. Harry Callahan ones said “To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures”

LAC201507140028

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

For me this quest is like the one the sailors did in ancients times: they sailed from their port of departure to the deep ocean searching for something they were not sure to find and even didn’t know what it could be. Every time I put my feet into the street, I feel that I’m immersing myself into the waters of the concrete ocean that lies just outside my door and starting a new journey without knowing exactly what I’m going to find.

Yes, it’s  a lonely work, no one can do it for you, you’re outside alone with your camera, with your thoughts, your emotions, your insecurities, your history laying in your back, silent, attentive, doing the ritual of a feline chasing for its dam, a dam that will be outside, in that concrete ocean to reveal something from your inside, yes, it’s ironic but it’s the way it is.

The final result of a sailing day can be great or poor, but what matters is the journey, because all that learning process will be put in your next photo. At the end, what really thrill me about sailing away into the concret ocean of the city is that I’m sure to find a new adventure that will make me feel alive in the present which I believe is the only thing that in reality I can decide for.

This time I made a selection of pictures of spaces, buildings and things that touch me in some way from my latest journeys, no people involved…hope you enjoy them!.

“Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there are no guarantees that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters …” – Harry Callahan

Cheers!

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Visual Introspection


© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I haven´t post lately with the same frequency as before and the reason is the Introspection. Yes, there are moments in life when you need to look inside your own mental and emotional bodies to understand more about you and specially about the struggle we have as artist to be ourselves, to find who we really are, to die and reborn every day to connect that with our art, which for me is photography.

Sometimes, the introspection comes from you and some others it comes from outside. In my case, it came from the explosive shake of my soul that came after my inner search for answers. Then suddenly, life put me in contact with some key persons that let me to answers about my photography and you know what? I found out that I was forgetting or missing the path to reach my own self, the answers that came from this persons were like fire alarms that woke me up to take things to a next stage.

Paris People

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I went back to the roots and started remembering why and how I started this path as a photographer 3 years ago and remembered that all started in the streets of Bogotá where I spend hours as a hunter, chasing for images to collect, to eternize in bits those instants that will never happen again in the exact same way.

At this moment, I realized that I haven´t been an street image chaser since I´ve been living in Paris as a profesional photographer, I realized that I was not taking advantage of the opportunity to live in one off the most interesting cities in the world, full of history, art, complexity and diversity, with strong contrasts between beauty and ugliness, richness and poverty, darkness and color and a million more of combinations.

Paris People

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I understood that I was wasting my opportunity in Paris to collect the present, wasting the opportunity to express my present experience through my pictures and at the same time to remember who I am. So  I decided to go out into the stone jungle of Paris and chase for those moments, those images that are alive in my present but at the same time are dying at while I´m pressing the shutter to become part of the past but to live for ever frozen into the frame of a picture. As Susan Sontag said on her book On Photography: “The photographer is the contemporary being for excellence; through his look, the present becomes the past.” I felt that

In the other hand, I also saw that I wasn’t taking all the advantage of the art and cultural exuberance of Paris,  so I also started to visit museums, go to exhibitions, go to publique libraries to study the work of masters like Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Robert Frank and more contemporary great photographers like William Klein and Alex Webb, to learn about their path, their life, their photography and to try to get under their skin to continue from there my search into myself.

All this started at the beginning of this year when I was searching for answers to find a way to connect my fashion photography with something close to what I like: the Street, the concrete reality of the asphalt and stone of the city. What I want is to put the fantasy stories of fashion inside a context that is in real touch with “real world” and I put these two word quotes because I’m talking about my real world, the one I see out in the streets, the one I see through my eyes, I feel through my soul and I concretize through my mind.

Paris People

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

The result of all this process until now has been a reunion with my self, talking pictures in the street, alone, walking for hours waiting for that special moment to happen, reawakening my instincts and, following them, rethinking my photography, because “photography is a universal force of reevaluation of life” as Sontag said.

But the most important discovery, has been this phrase of Moholy-Nagy: “The ethos of photography, seems closer to that of modernist poetry than that of painting. As painting has become more and more conceptual, poetry has more and more defined itself as concerned with the visual”. Ones I read it, many things felt into place because at the same time I feel photography has become more, and more poetic making the daily scenes of the real world look like magic, showing a world that although is taking from reality, it only exist int the pictures.

This quote from Moholy-Nagy also made me remember that I used to write poems when I was in high school and university, but I stopped it ones I started to work, so it was a beautiful coincidence to find out this quote to remember and connect with my past, with something that was sleeping inside me and now I want to wake up… I finally understood that I might keep looking for poetry in my photography or pictures in my poetry.

So here is a sample of what I´ve been doing lately, I hope you enjoy them:

Cheers!

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Mylene Rocher for Pashioncase


Mylene Rocher for Pashioncase. © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

This time we have a model with her family roots from the french Island of Reunion, a piece of the real paradise in the middle of the Indian ocean. Our imagination will immediately take us to think about waves, mountains, nature,  movement, music, colors, dancing, lots of dancing and of course the good vibes of the people that live on this kind of areas which are not touched by the poisoning rush of the big modern cities.

Model: Mylene Rocher. Fashion Stylist: Sophie Ostrowski

Mylene Rocher for Pashioncase. © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Mylene is a good summary of all these things I mentioned before and specially because of her passion for music and dance which I tried to capture for this post. She´s been writing songs since a while ago and she already has 20 already written ready to be recorded ones she gets the opportunity. Actually, the music for the video we did: ¨The king of my jungle¨ is the first original song that she recorded in London in partnership with her boyfriend, I loved it since the first minute I heard it and of course it had to be the song for the video.

For our shoot, I tried to show all the musical and dancing energy of Mylene in the middle of the city where of course there are no paradisiacal spots but I replaced them for the colorful psychedelic spaces filled with street art that we can find around. All that mixed with the hippie-rock style that she likes which our fashion stylist Sophie Ostrowski translated for this shoot in 4 different outfits with brands like Aika AlemiA.W.A.K.E.H&M, AdidasEachxOtherZara and The Kooples.

Model: Mylene Rocher. Fashion Stylist: Sophie Ostrowski

Finally I asked Mylene what would she do if money wasn´t an issue to do what ever she wants and she answered me right away: ¨I will help children and old people in difficulties around the world”, a phrase that speaks about the human kind that the paradise can bring.
So here is the result of our dancing-musical shoot with Mylene from Woman Management Paris, I hope you enjoy it and turn up the volume of your laptops or smarthphones while you`re watching the video.

Styling: Sophie Ostrowski – Photography by LACuellar

Styling: Sophie Ostrowski – Photography by LACuellar

Cheers!
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WARSAW MERCEDES BENZ FASHION WEEKEND


Warsaw Mercedes Benz Fashion Weekend

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Last weekend I was invited by fashion designer Jessica Conzen to the fashion weekend in Warsaw. This was a new opportunity to see a new city, meet new people and share another adventure with Jessica, I’m really thankful with her for this opportunity, thanks again Jessica Conzen!!!

Warsaw was a city that intrigued me a lot, I’ve never been before in eastern Europe countries, so I had the idea in my mind of a city with this old Soviet Union look and ambience. All due to the old pictures I had in my mind from that era, to be more descriptive: a lugubrious, dark ,cold, colorless visual memories were the ones that seized my mind with the name of Warsaw.

Warsaw Mercedes Benz Fashion Weekend

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Fortunately life is full of surprises, those big ones that everybody love to have and even more when I had my head full of mistaken visual ideas about Warsaw. What happened was that I discovered a hidden treasure in Poland… Warsaw is the most beautiful, colorful, welcoming and luminous city I’ve ever seen in Europe. I was completely astonished with the friendliness of the people, it’s a city that seems to be painted with a magical colorbox, with a delicious offer of typical restaurants and the cherry in the pie is the beautiful women that appear in front of your eyes everywhere!!!.  So if you haven’t been in Warsaw and were not planing to go, I strongly advice you to included in your next trip.

In the other hand the fashion weekend was very interesting, there were many different designers from Poland and easter Europe countries like Eva GrygoChatty,  L.Rousseau Urban CoutureRina CossackDawid TomaszewskiŁukasz Jemioł and some other international ones like Natalia Rivera, Custo Barcelona and Leyre Valiente. It was the first time Mercedes Benz organized a fashion in weekend in Warsaw and the experience was very interesting to see what’s going on in this side of Europe.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

This time the experience with Jessica Conzen was intense, we were busy since 6:30 am the day of the show, she was all the time concentrated in preparing the show with the most professional polish assistant she could ever had: Monika Pod and me going around all the event capturing what attracted my attention. At the end, I just have to say that as always Jessica Conzen´s show was marvelous, I really had fun working in this backstage merged with so many different designers in an small space.

I tryed to cover the event in a different way, being in backstage and also in the catwalk, trying to show what was going on from my point of view, trying to show more about the whole story of what goes on in one day of a fashion weekend. I was really blessed to have such a great light the day of the show: there were these huge 5 meters long windows that allowed a waterfall of light to come in and touch everything to make it more interesting, so here are the pictures and I hope you enjoy them!

WARSAW MERCEDES BENZ FASHION WEEKEND

JESSICA CONZEN´S SHOW

Fashion Designer Claudia Paz for Pashioncase


Claudia Paz Designs - © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Claudia Paz Designs – © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

The first time I met Claudia was in a cafe called Zaza by Rue de Rivoli, a nice chic parisian place at Le Marais the fashion neighborhood of Paris.  I ordered a beer while I was waiting for her and couple minutes later the Bolivian designer arrived with her latin american look strongly influenced for the Parisian style. She´s been living in Paris the last 10 years and you can tell by the way she dresses and the french expressions that escape out of her conversation from time to time.

I contacted Claudia because I was interested to know her passion story and how she has developed a brand where the main texture is the very Bolivian fabric of Alpaca, all in the middle of Paris a city that is know for glamour and sophistication.  So during that first meeting, we arranged a day of shooting at her workshop near the Arc the Triumph to get to know closer her story.

Claudia Paz by LACuellar - © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Claudia Paz by LACuellar – © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

The day of the shooting, I arrived to her Atelier, we did the shoot and we talked a lot; while she was smoking one of those long, slim, girly Vogue cigarettes this is what she told me about her life, her dreams, her brand and history:

Claudia started in fashion for passion after her parents gave her a sewing machine when she was only 12 years old, at that age she “started to make clothes, without know how to do it, just by following her instinct” as she said. At the same time she was drawing a lot and the first clothes she made were for her parents, her sister and after for the people that was around her. When she was 17 she started doing some catwalks with her clothes in Bolivia in a really empiric way.

From those beginnings she always had clear on her mind that she wanted to come to Paris and develop herself as a fashion designer, so she started studying french and thanks to the help of a teacher she applied to one of the most important fashion schools of the world called ESMOD. To get in the school, she had to compete agains other candidates, she presented her application and got accepted, immediately opening the door for her dream to live in the city of lights and develop as a fashion designer.

Claudia Paz by LACuellar - © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Claudia Paz by LACuellar – © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

She graduated with honors from the ESMOD and started to work with big brands as Givenchy and Tara Jarmon and some other small ones. All these different works gave her the necessary experience to know how the fashion world works and how to develop a fashion brand. Back on those days, working for these important brands, she met for the first time the Alpaca and right away she felt a strong connection with the fabric since it comes from the roots of her country of origine.

After 4 years of working for other brands, she decided to start her own brand “Claudia Paz” working with the alpaca as its main fabric, using the Bolivian vision but with the influence of the Parisian experience, as she says “I started working with Bolivia showing that Alpaca comes from there, but in a different approach, not in the typic ethnic way that you can see everywhere”

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The concept that she’s been developing with her brand is to create clothing for woman, made 100% with alpaca, with a high quality, exclusiveness and with the Parisian style but with the goal of having them in an accesible price for the market, which was her most important challenge because as we all know the Alpaca is a very expensive fabric. In the other hand, she wanted to work directly with the ethnic craftsmen communities who live in the Bolivian plateau who have worked with Alpaca for centuries; her idea was to learn a lot from them and at the same time teach them a lot of parisian techniques she already knew.

Model: Ashley Revollo from Woman Model Management

Now days, all of her clothes are made in those communities, helping them to have a new income and at the same time showing in Paris the know-how of Bolivian culture. Her objective is to continue establishing her brand in Paris, she also has already been selling in Japan and Switzerland and she’s very interested also in the markets of Australia, USA and China.

I asked her to tell me what was inspiring her for her next collections, and she told me that she has been lately really influenced by Cactus, since this is a plant that you can find all around the Bolivian plateau and also its green color reassembles the color of that magnificent land…she really loves green color and the savage and rustic idea that the cactus incarnates.

Finally I want to say that for the designers, I’m interested to show through my photography my vision of the environment where they work, their collections, portrayed them with something related to them and also to merge them with his/her inspirations.

For this photoshoot we worked in collaboration with Ashley Revollo from Woman Model Management Paris, an amazing half Cuban half Colombian model that lives in Miami but was in Paris for work during couple of weeks.

Obviously, as I always said, the spirit of Pashioncase is to have Natural Pictures, so there is No Make Up, No Hair Dressing and of course No Skin Retouch. 

Thanks a lot again to Claudia, to Ashley and to Woman Management Paris to collaborate with me for this story!!!

Cheers!

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Nicolas Hau for Pashioncase


Nicolas Hau for Pashioncase

Nicolas Hau for Pashioncase – © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

For my first male model story in Pashioncase, I was looking for a really special person, somebody with an amusing passion and with an interesting personality. So, there I was inside an office of Bananas Models in Paris, a place with a nice light, everything in white colors, a computer in the desk, a beautiful continuous light, a background and 3 chairs; everything inside a typical parisian building from the 19th century. I was waiting for the models of the casting that Guillaume (the friendly, working and kind booker) had prepared for me.

Nicolas Hau for Pashioncase

Nicolas appeared with his crazy light yellow hair which reminds me one of those powerful Japanese Saiyans from Dragon Ball Z , his soft voice, relaxed way of being and enthusiasm for his artistic projects. We started talking about him, about Pashioncase and very quickly I found out he was an artist who wants to generate shocking reactions on the public through his art  as he told me during our chat.

This french model, 23 years old, who’s studying graphic design whose passion is to paint and specially to do sexual illustrations, most of them are orgies, some of them are literal and some others are more abstract forcing the viewer to make an effort to see deeply inside to find out the sexual party that lives in them. He also does nudes of people most of them painted in a white background with a black pencil and also press edition and visual identity pieces. You can see his work on his website http://nicolashau.com/

Nicolas Hau for Pashioncase

Nicolas Hau for Pashioncase – © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

In the other hand he will also start studying theater at nights, to become an actor, although he has already done his first role in the film “Like Cattle Towards Glow” by Dennis Cooper & Zac Farley where Nicolas will play the main character of one of the four stories the movie will have appearing totally nude during some of the scenes.

When I asked him what would he do if money wasn’t an issue and he could do whatever he wanted in life, his answer was: “I would want to have the power to see through the walls to check the private life of people in every building of the city, to be like a little mouse that can sneak under the doors of the houses, I’m a very curious person” an unexpected answer, with some dyes of innocent voyeurism  that exemplifies the creative mind that lies inside Nicolas.

Nicolas Hau for Pashioncase

Nicolas Hau for Pashioncase – © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

After having all this information about his passions, I immediately  had the idea of creating a visual story where Nicolas  would live inside of his own artistic world and more specifically inside of his illustrations. I called the story “Searching for Inspiration” where you will see the illustrations of Nicolas surrounding him all the time and at the end himself living inside of them.

About his fashion style he likes the classic typical french style but with a crazy or funny touch which my partner stylist for this shoot Sophie Ostrowski brought to life for the story by using brands like EachxOtherNo Ka’OiÊtre CecileHarmonyZara, Ralph LaurenIsabel Marant and Obey New York.

I’m sure Nicolas will grow big inside the artistic world if he keeps that emotion and desire to express through art what he feels and thinks about the topics he is interested; he already has the talent, the aura, the creativity and the vision of a real artist, so the only thing that remains is to work hard to reach his dreams.

Wishing him the best of luck for his career as an artist model, here is the fashion story of Nicolas Hau:  “Searching for Inspiration”

Styling: Sophie Ostrowski – Photography by LACuellar

Directed/Written/Shot  by LACuellar – Styling/Designer:  Sophie Ostrowski – Edited by Mystic Colors – Music Amentia

Remember I’m interested on shooting the person living inside the models by showing one important part of their lives: their passion, all with a natural way (no make up, no hairdressing, no skin retouch). So if you are or you know any model with an interesting passion, personality and look, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Cheers!

Firma BlogSelf Iphonetrait

I Dont Want to Shoot Models.


STYLAGALMAIC

Tribal Invader by © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

 

The first fashion magazine Les Mondes was published in Paris in January 1901, in those beginnings the name of the model did not appear in the credits of the pictures because it was not important as it is stated in the book Fashion Body Cult:  “The work of professional mannequins and photo models was not considered a respectable career and this females had rather seedy reputations right up until between the two world wars.”

For my first fashion shoot, a friend lend me his small apartment by Place de la Republique, the day was gray and cold, I woke up early in the morning to have all my equipment ready, grabbed the metro and arrived one hour before the shoot to set everything. I remember how nervous I was because I didn´t have any idea of how to do a fashion shoot and I had to work with the make up artist and the model pretending to have done this type of work many times before.

Addiction

Killer Love by © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

The make up artist arrived, a friendly french-asian girl, with amazing light brown eyes, we talked about the script and got ready for the model. At this moment, I had in my mind more questions to solve than answers to give to my team for this shoot. The model arrived on time, she lived in a village outside of Paris, a beautiful, tender and soft girl; we started to do the make up, talked about the script and one hour after we started shooting. Everything went well and smooth, we finish the shoot, both (model and makeup artist) said Bye to me and I was again alone in my friend´s apartment happy with the result of the shoot, but most important, with one thing clear in my mind: what I wanted to do was fashion photography from there onwards.

I had this same ritual during the next fashion shoots: the team arrived, the model arrived, the make up & hair were done, we  talked about the script, we shoot, we finish, everybody leaves and I was alone again.  That´s how it is normally goes in every fashion shoot, of course there is chat, exchange of experiences, work and different vibes like any other job…. but I had always the feeling that something was missing, something was not making sense for me at the end of each of those shoots, even though when the result as a team was great because we got the pictures we were looking for, there was always a feeling of emptiness in some part of my soul.

The work of a model is really tough, it´s not just being beautiful and posing in front a camera to get the pictures or the video, it involves a strong knowledge of the body from the top of the head to the little toe, they have to build their bodies with long hours of exercise, take care of what they eat, be ready to work no matter how they´re feeling that day, spend long hours going to castings, waiting and running from one place to the other and spend long ours working in the shooting. At the end everybody is interested on using the model as a canvas to paint the story that the they want.

STYLAGALMAIC

Tribal Invader by © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Today I feel that models are becoming like when the first fashion magazine Les Mondes appeared, objects: a beautiful, well prepared, expensive object;  you can see it even more in the catwalks where they don´t show any emotion and even some brands don´t even want people to know who they are by covering their faces with beautiful masks or any other object to make their audiences concentrate in the clothes. As I said before, the goal of that object called model is to be the best canvas, with the exact texture, measurements, colors and quality that the client wants to paint, but who cares about the person that lives inside that physically beautiful canvas? I´m very sure at the end nobody cares about it, the business just use them to reach their goals…….until that moment when they becomes famous and the canvas gets a name and a history that makes everybody to be interested about its life story. Now I know this is exactly what I felt was missing after every fashion shoot: Besides shooting the model, also shooting the person,  that was that thing which disturbs me deep inside. So I thought, how am I going to shoot the person and not just the model? my answer was: to shoot them playing a story about something they really love to do: their passion.

I started to contact model agencies and arranging castings, where I could have time to really meet the person that lies inside of the model.  What I found was the confirmation of what I was thinking: Nobody cares about the person that lies inside the model. How did I find it out? well, during the castings I started to talk with them about their life, passions, stories, goals, dreams, etc and since the first model to the last one I interviewed last week, all of them told me it was the first time instead of posing or walking or showing a portfolio, somebody was interested  about their lives as persons.

Addiction

Killer Love by © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

I´m filmily convinced that for Pashioncase I don´t want to shoot models, I want to shoot Persons with real stories from their lives, playing their own life story based in the passion they have. I want to meet the person (or at least a small part of it), I want to give them the space to show to the world an intimate piece of their soul and I want to interpret that intimate part they share with me through my eyes.

To finish: I know a professional model should be able to get the result that the client wants without thinking if her style, life or passions go with the brand or designer concept and I´m not pretending to criticize or change the way it works, I know and I understand it is the way it is,  but I think brands and designers should care a lot more about the person inside the model and not just to see them as one more piece of the marketing strategy.

I know I can be naive, but I imagine that getting to know the person who lives inside the models, knowing their passions, their fashion style or their way of seeing life and matching the right person (model) with the values of the brand, for sure will give a 100 times better results or at least more human than the work done with a model who does not identifies with the brand, at the end the models are persons who (as everybody else) give life to fashion, as Marc Jacobs said: “Clothes mean nothing, until someone lives on them.”

Cheers!!!

Firma Blog

cropped-lac201308120029.jpg

Making a Career Change: From Sales Manager to Photographer


Panoramic picture of Bogota

Bogota Panoramic by © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

It was a cloudy cold day in Bogotá, I was driving my car after work to the coach´s office, my mind was calmed but at the same time I had this same feeling of anxiety as when you’re waiting to kiss for the first time a girl; I knew this appointment was going to be important, but I never guessed what it would mean in my life.

When I arrived to the place, I went upstairs through a dark hallway and knocked in the brown wooden door of  Thuoper (a Colombian company that has a powerful tool for life coaching). The coach opened the door, a friendly bald intelligent guy stretch my hand and invited me to go to a small typical corporate meeting room, it was already 7 pm and nobody else was at that office besides us. After a short introduction he started the coaching session, driving me through the technique and using all his skills as an expert live coach to take me  exactly until the point where I reached my own answers to my life time question: what is my purpose in life?

The temperature was comfortable, his speech fluent, secure, professional and friendly, my mind was running through all my life memories and finally the couch stop the chat, asked me the decisive question and suddenly my brain (which was calmed until that moment) exploded into a boiling pot of images and every blurred thought in my life became sharp: I understood that I was not using my brain´s natural abilities but on the contrary I was using exactly the ones I was weaker during my last 9 years when I started studying  industrial engineer (the career that I graduated from). What that meant is that I was forcing to maximum capacity my brain, using it in a wrong way influenced for all the conservative external influences that shape my life until that day and the worst: not using and taking advantage of my natural talents.

Rainbow in the Andes - © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Rainbow in the Andes by © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

After that moment I started a long search that lasted  3 years to understand where should I address my life.  I read tons of books, watched hundreds of movies, talked to dozens of people and tried some different options to discover that thing that I was really passionate for and you know what? the  answered was always inside of me, my mind and soul have known this answer since the first day I had conscience but the society, the rules and the city where I lived my childhood did a great job by burying deep inside of me that treasure diamond of my passion.

One year after, I received an email saying that my application to a master in public relations in an important university of USA was rejected, I had worked during 6 months, every day to enter to this master, so I started to feel completely disappointed and totally lost in my live, I put all my hopes into reaching that goal of the master but it didn’t happen. Days after, I decided to hear for the first time in my live my inner voice and made the decision to start a small course of photography (which I have always wanted to do), hoping to clean up my mind and soul from all that long battle to find my purpose in live.

The good news are that I fell in love with photography since the first minute of my first class from the small course and I kept doing some other small courses, but it wasn’t until the day I watch the Steve Jobs video at Stanford University when every single piece of the puzzle fit perfectly and I was able to connect all the dots in past to make the final decision to become a photographer. Yea, those dots were always there, around me and I didn’t see them before:

  • My addiction as a child and the tons of hours I spent watching the pictures of my mom’s magazines without even knowing how to read.
  • The using of a camera since my first years as a boy scout and the curiosity about the old Kodak camera from my Great Grand Father that we still keep at my home town.
  • The thousands of pictures I took when I was an exchange student in Kansas.  Me, as person was never inside of the frame of them but they were about moments or places that I lived, which for my mom was the worst thing not seeing my inside all those places I visited in USA, but now I know it was because I enjoyed to show on those pictures the reality that I was seeing through my eyes more than showing that I was physically in those places.
  • The huge wall I had in my room when I was an adolescent full of all the pictures from fashion campaigns from the 90’s that I use to cut off from magazines.
  • And finally my love as an adult to buy paintings from different artist for the deco of my flat.

All these things were the ones that came genuinely from my interior because I loved doing them and had an immense joy to develop, those ones were the true expressions of my interior and all of them were related to visual arts.

Picture by Colette L Photographie.

Picture by Colette L Photographie.

The rest is history: 3 years later I decided to sell everything I got from my 12 years of work in marketing and sales to come to Paris and become a newborn fashion photographer enjoying the passion for work everyday.

It´s not easy to start from zero again, living in a foreign country, developing an activity where you have no experience, having no connections, learning a new language, understanding another culture, etc. a 180 degree life change, but I  can assure you that this experience at my 38’s has been the most exciting experience I have ever had. At the end we have just one life to live and to spend it doing something you don’t feel passion for I feel is a waste… time is the only thing you can not buy to get it back afterwards.

Life will always show you the way and deep inside (heart, soul, mind or spirit) you will always know what is that thing that you love to do in your life, so my advice is to open your eyes to the opportunities you get, even though at the moment those aren´t  the ones you´re looking for and open the ears of your inner self , it will always be screaming at you what’s that thing that you truly love. Don´t let  the external influences block your inside call and don’t be afraid,  the worst thing that could happen is that you end up enriching your life by meeting a new world full of knowledge, experiences, people, languages, cultures and ways to see life.

Are you ready to make the change?

Firma Blogcropped-lac201308120029.jpg

Louvre Museum

The Louvre Pyramid by © L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.