Photographer Melanie Dunea is famous for her ability to put her subjects instantly at ease, be it a five-star chef or a Hollywood superstar. The resulting images have an engaging effortlessness, which reveal the inner essence of a person. Here, Dunea recounts the to-ing and fro-ing that takes place with celebrity shoots—and why it only looks easy.
FRIDAY, NEW YORK 6 PM: Sitting in a meeting with my agent; phone rings incessantly. It’s People magazine. Can I be in Los Angeles for a cover Tuesday a.m.? All hands on deck. Agent: Find flights, hotel, rental car (remember I MUST be in Nashville Wednesday morning and travel agency is closed now, yikes). Asst: Find other photo assistants who are available in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
7:15 PM: Creative call with People team. Sh*t. Need to think of ideas and fast. The story is at home with Kenny Chesney in Malibu. (Since when does Kenny live in California?? I can’t keep up with him!) Ideas, ideas, where are you?!?!?! While talking to magazine, texting Kenny: Me: Malibu? Kenny: Yes. Me: Where? Near ocean or in hills? Kenny: See you Tuesday. Me: Wait I need to know…. Kenny: Gtg love ya.
7:30 PM: While People finds a stylist, I have 30 minutes to brainstorm ideas….Hmmm, lemme think. I have shot Kenny a million times…what does he like?…his boat, the sun, music, grilled chicken, working out, the islands, diet Red Bull…FOOTBALL, yeah, I remember, he was talking about football and he used to play baseball.
8 PM: The deal: People is thinking an “at-home” shoot and would I mind shooting some stills from the house. Why not? For the “looser shots,” I propose messing around with the football and baseball. They approve.
SATURDAY NOON: Talked with stylist, need jeans, T-shirts and swimming trunks. (Maybe I can get him in the pool?) I emphasized that Kenny may only wear his own clothes. (It has never been any other way.) Prop stylist calls—we need vintage footballs, baseballs and gloves, plus a float for the pool.
MONDAY 10 AM: On the phone with Redbook organizing country singer shoot taking place in Nashville on Wednesday. Shot list arrives from People—there are 17 shots. Geez, we will have to work fastola.
3 PM: Car picks me up for flight to Los Angeles. Trusty assistant Joanna is helping me remember the zillions of bags I need (camera, tripod, digital stuff, grip bag, iPod, chargers, carts, etc.)
6 PM: Los Angeles-bound
TUESDAY, LOS ANGELES 6 AM: (Well, really 9 a.m. NYC time.) Thirty minutes in the gym so I can maintain my sanity today…. 8 AM: Breakfast with photo director so we can strategize the day.
9 AM: Wheels up and off to shoot. We leave from the hotel while the assistants leave from the equipment house. We’ll meet in front of Kenny’s so we can go in together.
10 AM: Arrival at house. Kenny is at the gym!!! That gives us time to tour the house, plan where we want to shoot and pre-light. The house is GORGEOUS and the weather is perfect. We start to prioritize our shots. Holly, Kenny’s public relations lady, approaches looking grim-faced….The first hiccup. There are NO summer cowboy hats. FedEx was meant to be sending them overnight from Nashville, but the package can’t be found. OK, time to move on, we’ll have to shoot with the black hat. Big fat bummer.
11:30 AM: Kenny arrives. We have a good catch-up then the bad news….No baseball or pool shots. Pack up the 40 pairs of jeans and other clothes, Kenny wants to wear his own clothes. I should know that by now. Go to his room to pick out clothes. Slim pickings….
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye