Last week my sweet friend Jess generously treated me to lunch at Breslin's, and a couple of doors up there is a perfumerie called "Le Labo." It's a very high-end place with some famous clientele. Jess had received a bottle of their perfume as a gift and wanted to pop in and check it out. It sounded fun and I love perfume.
The store clerk was a lanky, gregarious young man with striking grey eyes. He complimented my dress and declared my scent as "vetiver, definitely vetiver," and we hit it off. He mentioned wanting to really focus on his career as a model. He'd been doing some runway work and fashion spreads and wanted to do more of that work. I said very cheerfully, "Oh! I'm a photographer!" Which I'm sure he hears allll the time. But we kept chatting and I showed him my work, and he flipped out and said he wanted to work with me.
A couple of days later he texted me and we set up a meeting to do some photos. He needed some head shots for his portfolio and I wanted some work with an actual professional model, so we decided to meet in Midtown and bum around for the afternoon. We met up near Macy's and immediately had a bonkers afternoon running and laughing around Central Park.
Vinny is a self-described "American mutt," with Puerto Rican, Italian, Irish, and Jewish ancestry. I found his face fascinating because he is such a chameleon. He can play gay, straight, urban, urbane, comical, angelic and frightening. He really does have an innate talent for understanding how to use his face and body for a compelling portrait, and for such an outgoing, funny guy, he really can throw a stony gaze.
We did a bunch of straight-up head shots, and then did a series of experimental shots and short videos. I brought along a lace shawl that I thought would be fun to play shadows off his face. He immediately seized it and stuck it on his head and sashayed up the road. The results were stunning. Vinny inherently got what I was looking for and vice versa, so it was a really brilliant combination.
I am so grateful to have met someone to work with who gets what I'm going for. I hope to work with Vinny again in the near future, we had some fun ideas for another shoot. But be on the lookout for him - I have a feeling he's going to be big.