“You’re an artist. You’ll know what to create. It’s in you”
Sallie hired me to be an artist.
No expectations. No shot list. Not even a timeline.
She said, I want you to come to my apartment in LA, and just photography my wedding dinner with my family and I. So I showed up, and literally, there was a private chef cooking dinner in their apartment overlooking downtown LA, and Sallie getting her makeup done, and Justin just hanging out with their dog in their apartment.
Sallie is born, raised, and still living in Los Angeles. No. I’m not just talking about the shiny movie star and influencer LA people know now. I’m talking the OG 90’s grunge K-Town Rooftop Koreans type of LA, where you better have some street smarts type of LA. She’s literally seen the transformation of the city over the past decades.
So when she told me that, I thought, we gotta go back to the roots.
I found a rooftop garage right next to their apartment, and we literally just walked around the parking garage and surrounding block for their photos. She let me do whatever I wanted. I got to play with light, shadows, movement, scenic, you name it. I love shooting in cities when there is the sun because it’s like one giant photographic playground of interesting stuff.
Think about it like this, I can do as much as I can with a small amount of clay. I can make you a small bowl, or maybe a mug. But when you give me a mountain of clay to play with, I can make you a vase, or multiple vases, and as intricate as can be. And that’s how I felt. I literally felt as if I had a mountain of clay to work with.
We ended the night back at their apartment with their family, and as the lights came on in the city that we could see outside their window, I thought, “Yea. This is the way to do it.”
And so at the end of the night as we were hanging out on her patio overlooking the LA skyline, she lit up her cigarette and gave me a benediction before I headed off:
“Your art is your art. Don’t compromise”