Featuring Dani Leigh
I knew we’d be fine when the model showed up with a perfectly 70’s denim jumper that she had thrifted for one dollar.
Dani was a new face to me, but her book showed presence, tasteful ink and those incredible cheekbones. We had a few inspiration shots to work from, but for the most part we planned to let the vibe and location guide the shoot.
For the location, we chose the dilapidated gatehouse at what was once known as Dupree Gardens. In the early 1940s, Dupree was a botanical garden that was among the most popular roadside destinations in Florida. WW2 brought gas rationing that killed the auto-based tourism business.
In time, the gardens were parceled off for development, and all that remains is the stone and plaster gatehouse. With its patina and texture, the gatehouse is a perfect playground for a shooter/model team willing to tough it out through Florida summer heat.
I don’t direct heavy-handedly. If pre-production is done correctly, the model and I go into the shoot knowing how the end product should feel. Hopefully, my direction leans into the model’s strength and pushes and pulls at the margins of her range. And while I always have the ability to shape a performance in the edit, the performance is still hers.
In this case, Dani gave me slightly different characters with each wardrobe change. I was able to follow as much as lead, which made for an equitable collaboration.
Land O Lakes, FL, USA