Christina Gelsone is an internationally celebrated clown with a mission to bring laughter to post-conflict zones such as Kosovo and Afghanistan. The New York Times recently featured a story about her and her husband (who is also a clown) and their beautiful west Harlem apartment.
She could have easily been the most versatile model I’ve worked with, for her creativity and expressiveness is really quite unparalleled.
Our shoot began at the unforgiving early hour of 8, and because we’d run a bit late picking out costumes the previous day, neither of us got very much sleep at all. Quickly however, Christina’s enthusiasm paired with how great everything looked made me forget the lack of sleep.
Then, I had her juggle a couple of objects that differed in both shape and weight!
I thought it would be interesting to have her step into some different characters that we created on the spot. Here, she’s wearing a wedding dress she once used as part of a corpse bride act.
The day before, I saw pictures of Christina wearing a Qi Pao during her wedding which took place in China. Because she looked so striking in the wedding
photos, I wanted to have her wear it in the studio.
Admittedly, the Qi Pao with the white face is unconventional – the look seems both Chinese and Japanese, and Christina is neither.
She does this levitation move that is pretty awesome:
In case you guys were wondering how I lit these: just one profoto strobe with an octabank light modifier.
A few more days and I leave NYC for good. Though adventures await in Eastern Europe and London, I cannot help but lament.