Lookbook: Lolô Ascar
“Josh, I want to make a fashion look book for my latest designs and would love you to be the photographer” The message is from the fashion designer Lolô Ascar. She and I became friends through various Brazilian adventures.
“Oi, Lolo! Legal! I would love to shoot with you. When do you want to do it? And do you have a location in mind?”
“Great! Yes! We will shoot Saturday downtown if that’s ok. I was thinking Theatro Municipal. What do you think?”
“That sounds great. I am free Saturday and I think we can get some great shots there. See you then!”
It’s awesome to have such cool and talented friends
I arrive at the theater to see Lolô Ascar and Clarrisa standing outside her car. They are pulling bags of material out of the trunk. The two are good friends and Lolô Ascar asked Clarissa to model for her today. I was hoping to have a new model this shoot to diversify my portfolio, but the familiarity Clarissa and I have will be good for the shoot.
“Oi! Tudo bem!?”
I greet them as I get closer to the car. It is an overcast day, perfect for shooting outdoors today.
“Oi Josh! Tudo! So glad you could do this!”
“Me too! Do you need help with any of that stuff?”
By now there are two bags on the ground, each overflowing with heaps of lace, hats and other types of fabrics.
“No, No, that’s ok. These aren’t heavy. They are extra stuff we can add to these dresses when we get over to where we want to shoot. We can then get different looks with out major complicated wardrobe changes.”
“Oh cool. Well let’s walk around a bit and scout out where we might want to shoot from.”
And with that the three of us are off.
The 1500 seat theater, finished in 1911, is a hodgepodge of architectural styles. The facade represents everything from baroque and art nouveau to neo-classical. I knew from my visit to this part of the city a few weeks ago we would not be able to get into the theater. Across the street though is Praça Ramos de Azevedo. Both the neighborhood and park are rough around the edges and will serve as a perfect backdrop.
Clarissa, Lolô Ascar and I walk around the building to scout locations. A tourist group following around a petite tour guide passes in front of us. The guide yells her information to be heard over the periodic rumbling of jackhammers from the intersection nearby. Men and women sit on the steps of the theater, talking on phones, texting friends, eating and enjoying the busy-ness of the city around them.
Location shoots are always fun as we draw attention everywhere we go. Today is no different. Walking around with Clarrisa dressed to the nines, my camera gear hanging off me and Lolô Ascar toting bags of materials we are quite the sight. I pick out pieces of phrases and questions thrown our way, some of them polite, others not so much.
We snap a few shots on the steps of the theater so I can test lighting. A group of awe struck kids come up to Clarissa, asking if they can get their picture taken with her.
We head across the street to find spots in the park to shoot. The park is rough looking, with abandoned fountains, loads of graffiti, and unkempt plants. It’s a perfect backdrop to give a contrasting edge to the delicateness of the dresses. I snap a few more shots to get my settings just right and we go to work.
We shoot for close to two hours in the park. The late afternoon overcast sky casting perfect light to get the dark, edgy mood I am looking for. Lolô Ascar offers art directions for looks while running back and forth to get more material. We are killing the shoot.
Near the end of our time in the park, two teenage girls walk past us. With trendy hair and an edge to their fashion Clarissa asks them if they would join us for a few shots. The girls seem shy at first, but after a little more coaxing from Clarissa and smiles from Lolô Ascar and I, they join in. Whatever shyness they had before hand disappears the moment they step in front of the camera. They are tossing out so much attitude and popping their poses like they’ve been doing this for years. We thank them for their time and they skip away, giggling and laughing to themselves.
With darkness starting to creep in, we make our way back to the car. We stop only to snap a few shots in the shadowy recesses of the theater. As we move around the front of the building we notice the doors to the side lobby of the theater are open. Theater workers mill about inside. Without saying a word the three of us look at each other and know we need to get inside. Lolô Ascar and Clarissa take the lead as we head up the steps and into the bright white lobby. We pass through the 15-foot tall wooden doors. After some pleading and batting of eyes, the workers allow us to snap a few shots inside. We use our allotted 15 minutes before being graciously told t0 leave. We thank the workers and burst back out into the cool night air. Another day down, another awesome fashion shoot completed. You know, I could get used to this.
See photos from the shoot here: Lolô Ascar Lookbook: a fashion shoot at Theatro Municipal de São Paulo.