The planning for each month’s photo shoot usually begins two months in advance of an issue, at which point I meet with the edit team and give them a tentative date and concept for the shoot. This issue’s shoot was finalized before the holidays, when my mind was toggling between photo shoot planning and Christmas shopping. Perhaps the chaotic excitement and overabundance of the holidays influenced this issue’s pared down, simplified concept. In any case, we literally stripped away all the extraneous visual noise until we were left with only the eyewear and the model’s face. This up-close and personal approach allowed us to focus on the beautiful details in these frames and what makes each pair unique.
Men’s fashion has always delighted in subtle details—the perfect patina of aged leather, the length of a pant or width of a tie, the texture of waxed cotton or nubbly knits. With men’s eyewear, the devil is also in the details. The small choices, from the shade of brown to the type of hinge used, distinguish an individual’s perfect frame from another style that looks ho-hum. Sitting on a counter, a group of tortoise frames may look very similar, but start putting each of them on a face, and the differences become apparent. Or conversely, take one frame, try it on a handful of people, and it will look different on everyone.
That was essentially the situation we found ourselves in at our men’s eyewear shoot: three models, 11 frames and the question of who should wear what. My initial pairings of frame and model were quickly revised once I had the men try the frames on. Face shape and size, complexion and yes, personality, all came into play when picking frames. Most amazing was how a frame that looked “off” on one model could illicit an enthusiastic “thumbs up” when another model tried it on. We even shot one frame twice in order to ensure that we truly captured it at its best. The selection process was full of surprises, which in itself was a pleasant surprise.
I hope you enjoy the final results of the process and also think about the assumptions you may have concerning who should wear what and why. Of course, the experience gained from fitting customers on a daily basis shouldn’t be tossed out the window, but don’t forget to throw a few curveballs out there too. We make all sorts of assumptions in our daily lives, judging people by their looks, their clothes, their age, their gender and their ethnicity. Putting those judgments aside helps everyone see more clearly, and that’s a vision we all can agree on.
• Iris Johnson