I’m always grateful for the inspiration delivered by the countless yet precious photo shoot opportunities afforded to me by my career in magazine publishing.

For my very first photo shoot at W in the mid-’70s, I secured a vintage Duesenberg to up the grace level of a Halston gown presentation near Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side of NYC. Following an extremely muddy and sweaty fur photo shoot at a horse farm on Staten Island one year (One of the models fainted from the heat!), I decided to follow it up the next year by photographing the fur jackets in air-conditioned bank vaults on Wall Street.

And then there were the golf shoots at resort hotels from Florida to Palm Springs using golf pros and country club members to lend an air of reality to the lush course settings. In the late ’80s, my wife and I staged ski fashion shoots on actual ski slopes using instructors and rescue team members again in quest of the reality factor. Downsides to those slope settings would include a broken leg by one of the showboating instructors, nearly falling into a frozen lake while scouting a location and once being stranded on the top of a mountain after shooting to late into the afternoon! I’m also forever inspired by the shoots at the Joshua Tree satisfying my desert longings.

With 20/20, the range of energized ideas have been equally vast and always so stimulating. There was the evening shoot on Lincoln Avenue in Miami with the models play-acting as celebrities. And I think I might still be slightly numb from the near winter shoots in both Montauk and Southampton glorifying the glam of sensational sunwear.

But even the more standard photo studio shoots have consistently had their exciting moments with the array of eyewear enhanced by talented models, and unique stylists working with a top-notch array of photographers under the watchful eye of both art directors and editors detailing animated feature themes.

And that studio scenario is the case for the women’s eyewear feature in this issue. The challenges of even the simplest photo studio shoot have certainly intensified under the pressure of the pandemic now nearing its second year. At the onset of the lockdown, even studio shoots became impossible but at about three months in, the edit and art team rallied to begin feature shoots anew.

Each month our team wonders if we can even pull off another photo feature and… so far… so good.

I thrive on these shoots. I hope they play well to your ongoing adventure in this optical arena. Onward we are hoping to continually fulfill the full spectrum of your hopes and dreams when it comes to engaging in the vision we know as… 20/20 Magazine.  

James J. Spina
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