This was a truly wondrous day, full of talent and creativity.
I had been collaborating for just about a year with fashion stylist Nicky Rybka Goldsmith, on various fashion editorial photo-shoots. Over this time every now and again Nicky mentioned Grace and the new amazing drag family happening in Manchester #manchesterqueens .
Intrigued I checked Grace and the Manchester drag family, with her amazing look and makeup prowess how could we not do something. After a meeting with us all and a variety of themes discussed and rejected, the thinking caps were on.
The theme of Grace representing the four seasons was born.
Both Nicky and myself knew we wanted it to be almost surreal and hyper reality in the feel to match Grace’s personality. With Nicky’s fantastic eye he pulled together some amazing creations, using costumes from the Royal Exchange Theatre Hire department. I researched and found some amazing premade backgrounds to use with the studio images, as this was to be a full on postproduction affair. That in mind there was only one retoucher to be part of this special photoshoot, a once assistant of mine and now a gifted retoucher based in London, welcome to the party Vanessa Short.
With backgrounds selected and each various lighting setup planned in my head the day arrived. I collected the gorgeous Grace resplendent in head toga and headed off to the fab hire studio Loft in Manchester. A car full of amazing stuff arrived with Nicky, seeing the four looks laid out gave me a tingle. To tie the photoshoot in even more we shot in succession of the seasons. Fantastical use of various accessories and reworking of pieces from Nicky gave the looks a definitive fashion look that was the remit for us all.
Grace had planned a look for each one, so Spring began our day. Each seasons pose carefully shot to be placed with the background in postproduction. It was a just a dream and a pleasure to work with gracious Grace.
Selection of the final images with Nicky and off they went for Vanessa’s magic.
As they began to come back from Vanessa, I was thrilled to see them all sit alongside each other. Then the release of them onto social media followed, we went for a teaser campaign releasing one a week. The reaction has been amazing. I have left the last bit for a few words from our muse Grace on her thoughts on playing the Four Seasons Fashion Style
Grace is now one half of the new venture Born.uk.com
Born is a makeup and styling studio specialising in trans beauty and confidence building. Based in Manchester
I was thrilled to be their photographer for the day again back at Loft to take the images to lauch the website, you can even see me in action in the promo video .
Stylist Nicky Rybka Goldsmith
The Royal Exchange Costume Hire
Grace Oni Smith