I met Cat and Beejay during a previous shoot and was immediately captivated by their palpable chemistry. While they are a strikingly beautiful couple on the outside, their love is slightly more nuanced – quiet, tender, elegant. Needless to say, I was stupidly excited when they agreed to come down from the Bronx to meet me in this East Williamsburg studio.
We strived to replicate a sleepy Sunday morning complete with disheveled hair, wrinkled white sheets and soft, diffused sunlight. With hardly any staging or direction on my part, we were able to capture some quiet and intimate moments between the two of them. Enjoy.
In a recent article, HUCK Magazine called her a subculture photographer extraordinaire, and rightfully so – RVCA ambassador Andrea Dosouto has the uncanny ability to draw out a broad range of emotions from hardy street kids and top-dollar skaters alike. As one of the very few established female photographers in the skate industry, Andrea has brazenly navigated a world of relentless competition and machismo to bring us a tender and unadulterated depiction of skate culture with her signature black and white photography.
Nomadic by nature, Andrea has traveled extensively across the US and throughout the globe. Thankfully, this brought her here to NYC late last month where we were finally able to meet after several months of IG likes and email exchanges. “I rarely let people take my portrait,” she told me. Needless to say, I was beyond honored to be able to shoot with her on this sunny Saturday afternoon in East Williamsburg.
Born in Galicia, Spain, Andrea was deeply entrenched in the skate scene from a young age. She frequented skate parks, the local Cyber and abandoned convents whilst photographing her friends and their various misadventures. This inevitably led to her moving to Barcelona to pursue a degree in photography at the age of 18. She followed up with a post-grad in photojournalism and has been documenting skate events and capturing compelling portraits of skate legends like Christian Hosoi (!) ever since.
A couple weeks after moving into my new apartment in Greenpoint, I had the privilege of shooting with the ridiculously talented and endearing Cat Davis in my bedroom. Cat and her partner Stephanie traveled all the way from the Bronx on a Saturday morning to shoot in this space. We experimented with white sheets and linens as the sun filtered in through the east-facing window. The result was a minimalist yet evocative photo set depicting the many faces of the model/mother/all-around beautiful woman Cat Davis.
Marimar is a born-and-raised New Yorker currently living in southeastern Bronx. Her striking features and remarkable ability to pull off a pair of combat boots and dark berry lipstick belie her warm personality. Within a year after graduating from Berkeley College with a degree in criminal justice, Marimar signed with Basic Model Management and has appeared in various runway shows including Brooklyn Fashion Week and Lingerie Fashion Week. For this shoot, we met up in the warehouse districts of Bushwick to create a look that is one part goth, two parts steampunk, and all parts New York.
Alex is a creative writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She spent her formative years between the city of Meridian, Mississippi and her grandparents’ farm in Chunky, Mississippi – a region located about an hour away from Mississippi’s Choctaw Indian Reservation and three hours from the cotton-growing Delta. “We lived in a very poor area in which we were the only white party of two,” Alex recalls. Still, she has fond memories of her upbringing. “I think that my earliest feelings of happiness and inclusion in this place, juxtaposed with my knowledge of exclusion in conventional conversations on race, most influenced my writing,” she says.
As is often the case, Alex’s cultural precocity was not always well received by her peers. At age 17, Alex wrote and published an article urging the local government to do away with the Confederate flag. This led to a string of hate mail and death threats – many from full-fledged adults. Perhaps this collision with societal conventions combined with an already culturally nuanced upbringing led to her aspiration to work for the State Department. At age 19, Alex packed her bags and moved to Barcelona to study Spanish and Catalan to hone her language skills and fulfill her dream. The following year, she relocated to Morocco to study Islam and document women’s stories there. Throughout her travels, Alex built the emotional and intellectual foundation for her unique writing style, palpable worldliness and subsequent degree in Gender and Cultural Studies.
Alas, Alex’s travels came to a halt when her grandmother passed away. This left an inexplicable void in her life. “For the first time I realized that I was raised by women only,” Alex recalls. “And [those same women] were dying.” A few weeks later, Alex had a dream in which her grandmother urged her to return to Mississippi. In a stroke of intuition, she left for home the next day. A few days upon her return to Mississippi, she met her husband.
Alex writes poignantly as a woman who struggles to reconcile her world view as a “Southerner” and the socioeconomic theories attributed to her demographic. “The academy is deceptive because it understands the politics of your community but not the heart and soul of it,” she claims. Drawing much inspiration from post-colonial writers who, in her own words, “supersede the antiquated ideals of their settings while also paying tribute to them,” Alex strives to shed light on Southern identity and the intricate human dynamics that inform its rich, nuanced culture.
Though Alex and I met over Instagram, we vibed instantly. Our shoot in this intimate studio was peppered with meaningful conversations about our childhoods as “outsiders,” the insularity of academia and Quechua villages in the Amazon basin. I can only hope that these photographs reveal even a sliver of her natural poise and intelligence. New York is lucky to have you, Alex.