NYC-based photographer Zayira Ray photographed her latest series "Bianca on Fire" on Lomography CN 400 film. We chatted with her here to find out more about this shoot and her process.
Hi Zayira! Tell us a little about yourself.
Hello! My name is Zayira, I'm a 19-year-old portrait and fashion photographer born and raised in NYC. My work largely focuses on topics of identity and femininity with an ethereal and dreamy visual approach, using the city as both a backdrop and anchor for most of my subject matter. Currently, I'm a photography student at NYU Tisch, where I'm now experimenting more with bridging different art mediums and crossing genres.
What is this series about?
This series is called "Bianca on Fire" and features Bianca Redmerski from the Identity Models and styling by the talented Natasha Bock. The dynamic photographs aim to portray Bianca's bold beauty and vitality through fashion, color, and movement. I shot the photos in Red Hook, Brooklyn, to juxtapose high fashion looks with its gritty, industrial backdrop. Another crucial element that tied the whole body of work together is color; namely, the visual contrast between bright reds in her clothing and the gray, more mundane background, making Bianca pop — hence "Bianca on Fire"!
What was your experience like photographing this subject?
All of these photographs are from one roll of film. Sometimes, I try to limit myself with photographic resources, so that I can really hone in on what I want to shoot and subsequently establish a larger sense of intention between myself and what I'm producing. This is especially true for film, where accessibility to the medium is much more limited than digital, which personally, I love. With less room for trial and error, this shoot was largely about patience, observation, planning, and really honing in on my larger vision for every single shot. I used Lomography CN 400 film, which rendered beautiful tones that really brought the intended color pop to life, bringing out the reds and enhancing the moody, dynamic look of the images.
Pick a photo and tell us the story behind it.
While we were waiting at a crosswalk for the light to change, Bianca was standing in front of a traffic pole and I noticed that the red sequins on her dress were reflecting off of it in the sunlight, and it looked like a gorgeous projection. Because the background was distracting and I wanted to focus on the light reflection, I asked Natasha to hold up a red backdrop she had brought, while I shot a close-up portrait of Bianca leaning against the pole, the reflected red sequins dancing around the frame.
If you like Zayira's work, be sure to follow her on Instagram.