Editorial content here on the blog has been lacking as of late, which is why I'm thrilled to finally be able to share these images from my latest shoot with everyone. After a long time working with similar themes and concepts, I wanted to try out new ideas and create something a little different to my usual aesthetic. It's a subtle change, but baby steps, right? I tend to feel comfortable repeating similar styles or ideas when it comes to photography, and it's good too to have your own signature, but it's when you step out of your comfort zone that you really grow and learn more about yourself.
Over the last couple of months I've been proactively exploring new magazines, websites, photographers and artists, in order to expand my views not only on fashion (which can be very luxury-oriented and pretentious a lot of the time) but also on culture, society and our current generation as a whole. Now I'm not saying that I've done a complete 360° in my photographs to reflect all of this - far from that. I'm still at a stage of processing all the information and making connections. I'm still learning and how to incorporate and reflect them through fashion photography.
For this set of photos, I've reverted to my old practice of being a one-man-crew on set. I enjoy collaborating with other people, like stylists and make-up artists, but I felt like this shoot needed some form of intimacy. I wanted it to feel like a whisper. Although you can't see what it's like on set, the mood and vibes are still somewhat evident in the photos. The inspiration for this story comes from the idea of leaving a soirée in the early hours of the morning. Rather than feeling melancholic that the party is over, our muse continues to dance and be filled with life, choosing to begin a new day.
After a long summer break (four months to be precise), this final week of September marks the start of a new semester at university. And it's absolutely glorious. Going back to school equates to going back to a familiar routine. While I'm not the biggest fan of the nine-to-five-zombie sort of lifestyle, I'm definitely a person who requires some kind of structure. Call me crazy, but I feel so much more alive and motivated when my plate is too full.
When I have too much free time, my attention, energy and thoughts tend to get misdirected. Once that happens, it simply spirals out of control. Rather than being productive, I find myself sleeping at sunrise, after completing yet another series on Netflix. Very often over the last several weeks, feelings of being overwhelmed by nothingness has clouded my creativity, making me struggle to get any work done. As a result, I haven't been up to par with sharing my photos and experiences here on the blog either. In short, I was stuck in a major rut over the summer - both professionally and in my personal life.
Ever since returning to London a week and a half ago, however, I've really been feeling inspired in so many different ways. I've been making a conscious effort to alter my lifestyle for the better. I've adopted healthier eating and sleeping habits. I've been meeting new people and having honest conversations. I've been feeling thankful for everything in my life. Now, I'm finally seeing things turn around. Who'd have known that being on vacation for too long could be a bad thing, eh?
I'm looking forward to the next couple of weeks as I settle into my new routine and discover what awaits me - hopefully, more clarity and less fears and doubts. I'll be sharing more of what went down over the summer as well, so watch this space!
Photo assistance - Sarah Wong
Wearing: Pal Zileri - Shirt // COS - Sweater // Forever 21 - Cigarette trousers // & Other Stories - Shoes // Zara - Backpack // Georg Jensen - Watch // Cutler and Gross - Glasses // Thrifted - Newsboy cap
Yesterday I turned 23. It's the one time a year when I reflect on how much my life has changed over the course of 12 months. Every year I think to myself, wow it can't get crazier than that... But guess what? It does. With every increment of my age, I learn new lessons from life. Important lessons that will stay with me for a long time.
I'm older, but not wiser - in fact, my foolishness grows with each passing day. Being an adult doesn't necessarily mean that you have your life sorted out. Growing up should be a liberating experience. It means to be able to accept the things you cannot change, and live with positivity and gratitude. It means to learn whose opinion matters and whose doesn't. It means to break free from conformities and compromises. It means to be bold enough to live on your own terms and never apologise for it.
Thank you to every single one of you who has taken a moment of your precious time for this underserving fool. Your presence, physical and digital, were the best presents I could ask for. Your hugs, phone calls, comments, Instagram posts, text messages, tweets, video calls, Facebook posts and snapchats have filled my soul with so much joy and I am ever so grateful from the bottom of my heart.
Sorry to break this to you, kids - contrary to popular belief, no matter how blessed you may be in the genetics department, modeling isn't just about good looks. Ok, maybe it is a little bit, and you may land a commercial or editorial job here and there, but is that all you want? If you plan to be in the game for the long run, if you really want to be remembered as a person and not just as a living mannequin, what you need is personality. Repeat after me, kids. It permeates through the lens and shines off the pages of a glossy magazine. Or a computer screen. Or most probably from a smartphone if you're living in 2016.
Personality is exactly what Layla here has - and not in a loud, boisterous, "look-at-me" sense. She's soft-spoken and she's quirky, but she isn't afraid to strike up a conversation and put her best foot forward. She's got that 90's laidback, IDGAF attitude, but without coming off as pretentious. In fact, she was eager to learn. Layla possesses a strangeness and charm that's both infectious and intoxicating. And guess what? This particularly humid morning was the first time Layla was on the set of a shoot. For someone to make such an impression on their maiden journey into the world of modelling, the future looks hella bright for her.
Despite the naysayers who insisted that my first time in Italy should be somewhere "nicer" (like Venice or Rome), I decided that a visit to Milan completely warranted my time - so I spontaneously booked my flights and the rest was history. In the land where culture meets commerce, you'll find hidden treasure on every street, between iconic landmarks and esteemed establishments. It was four days of wandering on foot (with the occasional Metro ride here and there), experiencing Milanese flavours, and falling in love with a culture full of romance. Here are some snaps from my time there and a list of places you really ought to visit.
Photo assistance - Aditi Dhanu
Look 1: & Other Stories - Shirt // Zara - Jeans // Givenchy - Patent Oxfords // Prada - Sunglasses // Topshop - Denim jacket, with 'fixated' embroidery by Hand & Lock
Look 2: & Other Stories - Shirt // Acne Studios - Trousers // Givenchy - Patent Oxfords, scarf // Moschino - Bucket bag
Look 4: & Other Stories - Shirt // Vintage - Linen chinos // Bottega Veneta - Leather weave bracelet // Prada - Sunglasses