Photography / Ivy Nine Designs
Model / Emily W@ Viviens Model Management
Hair and Makeup / Erin Bigg
Stylist /Ashleigh Kelly
All garments supplied by Melange Boutique
Words by Savannah Young
Gold Coast sisters Bekha and Jess LaFrankie, have a knack for capturing moments of pure magic through the lenses of their beloved cameras. After finding a niche on the Gold Coast for fashion photography, the stylish duo has since become a force to be reckoned with. We absolutely adore their recent ‘all white’ fashion shoot, which is exclusive to PITCH. It comes strongly recommended that you put these two talented sisters on your ones to watch list, as we predict that their fashion editorials will be featuring in all our favourite magazines in the very near future!
Below is a Q&A with Bekha and Jess that will fill you in on everything you need to know about the ‘all white’ shoot, and what was involved in making it such a success.
What was the idea behind this particular shoot, or in other words what were you trying to portray with these photographs?
We’ve loved the masculine trends that have been increasingly popular in the past couple of years so we wanted to try out an all white theme and give it a powerful, luxurious edge.
Do you think the clothes featured in the shoot are on trend for this season?
White is so classic, I don’t think it ever goes out of fashion. Even if it wasn’t all over the runways right now, you could still take apart the outfits and wear each individual piece with something else. The fringe shorts and high necklines are definitely on trend as well as the cutouts in one of the dresses. We were lucky enough to have such a wonderful stylist who even managed to find us a white turban, which we just loved!
The model featured in the photographs is stunning and wears the clothes so well. How hard is it to find the perfect model to represent both Ivy Nine positively plus the brands that they are wearing?
It can be hard to find the right models if you don’t know where to look. Our approach is generally to find a model with a look that we love first, and then design the concept of the shoot around them. Emily was so beautiful and as you said, the clothes looked amazing on her. We believe that it comes down to your communication with the model on the day that makes an editorial really come together.
If there was one photograph throughout the ages that you could claim as your own work, who’s would it be?
To decide on one that we both love equally we have to step outside the realm of our favorite photographers. Peggy Sirota's Photo of the Twilight cast for Vanity Fair December 2008 would be it. We admire the energy she captured and how she took the actors so far out of their characters and played with a whole new fun and casual world. It’s probably the fact that it’s so far from fashion that we love it, because the playfulness is something we rarely get to see in our own industry.
Being sisters, do you find that you both share similar aesthetics or are your creative processes completely different?
Mostly, we’re very similar. In terms of technique, composition and themes we are always discussing our ideas and helping each other. We both have an innate love for innocence, fairy tales, vintage and otherworldly. Often we can’t tell who actually took which photos, but when it comes down too little details during image selection we can easily squabble in a ‘candid vs. posed’ debate.
Tell us a bit about the setting of this shoot and why you chose it. Do you think the setting changed the overall mood of the shoot?
We actually chose the location to set the mood for the shoot; we wanted the white clothing and strong poses to be contrasted against the vastness of sky and sea. We’d shot near this area before so we loved the idea of the sleekness against the rough rocks and their naturally occurring lines.
Traditionally when you think of all white clothes you think of purity and innocence, however the styling and overall mood of this shoot gives the all white trend a modern edge. Do you think it’s a good thing to break the boundaries in fashion? If so, why?
Definitely, breaking boundaries is what makes fashion so dynamic and fun. When we come up with our ideas we like to take something traditional like the innocence of white and twist it around to give a new perspective. It was nice for us to get away from our typical vintage and girly themes into something with a little more backbone. We definitely try to push boundaries not only in fashion but also in ourselves.
Quite a few of your shoots feature water as a background, is there any particular reason for this?
Well, we live on the Gold Coast so it’s either beach or suburbs. We get so many clients requesting shoots at the beach so that’s a contributing factor, and when we do fashion we like to work in locations we know well. You would think we would get sick of it, but we find that the nostalgic feel of water works well with many of our concepts.
The rise in popularity of social media sites has made it much simpler for photographers, designers, and stylists etc to get their name out there. How much of an impact have social media sites had on Ivy Nine?
We basically wouldn’t be where we are today without the encouragement of the online community. When we first posted our work it was for a bit of fun and we didn’t take it seriously at all. Then people started requesting shoots and as the interest grew in our work, we started to believe in ourselves and realised that there is actually a future in doing what you love. That has been the most amazing part about it all for us.
There is a lot of competition in photography, what sets Ivy Nine apart from the rest?
Well, obviously there are two of us so we are able to bounce ideas off each other and get twice as much done. We started by operating in a market that no other nearby photographers had clued onto at the time, and that was teenage girls and their friends. In terms of our recent move into fashion we call ourselves conceptual photographers. Basically we tell a story by taking existing ideas and twisting them into modern concepts, or at least that’s what we try to do!
What is it about fashion that makes for great photographs?
Vibrancy, colour, textures and shape, because everything that is visual is epitomised in fashion. The fashion photographer is offered the opportunity to bring to life fantasies that do not exist in the real world, which is what we personally find so spellbinding about fashion photography.