Sun brown - Hannah Rebecca Naomi
Stills of --
Hannah Rebecca Naomi
"a defining example of the cosmopolitan woman - independent, educated and stylish"
2017 turned out to be a very busy year for my team and I, the increasing demand for brand consultancy and business development kept me away from all my hobbies including photography. I continue to work with some amazing companies who are pioneering leaders in their respective industries, however, it had dawned on me how much I've missed the expressive freedom that comes with creativity, more specifically photography.
I arranged to have brunch with two businessmen and friends - William & John, founders of social media marketing firm Studio appetite, they themselves are keen visual developers.
Rooted in conversation I mention my recent inclination to get behind a camera again at which point William begins to talk about his love and passion for the creative industry and how he has recently filmed a campaign for sportswear behemoth Nike.
As he speaks I realise how much of our sanity hangs on expressing ourselves in as many diverse forums as humanly possible, furthermore, how these simple creative expressions that we each use selfishly for therapy also connect to our wider world leaving timeless ripples of inspiration in the lives of all those who come across them.
I make a conscious decision right there and then to start photography again. As the universe is never late nor early I look up to see the waiter at our table with a very healthy avocado and poached egg breakfast accompanied by a soya americano. Our table always looks so instagrammable - if only we were bloggers.
A week goes by and i'm still searching for inspiration I found myself lost and confused as if I were a child again lacking any sort of direction, “I've forgotten how to do this” anxiety arrives right on time followed by doubt, “maybe I've outgrown this” - why do we bury ourselves when in doubt or is it just me?
Nights go by and I repeat the common routine of laying in bed, in silence with nothing but the infinite Instagram timeline to keep me company. I stumble across an oceanic photo of a woman, strikingly beautiful and simple.
Hannah Rebecca Naomi.
She's a classic, stuck somewhere between Aaliyah and Janet Jackson, her warmth is as though I've known her in a previous life, her energy floats in the midst of elegant and cool, complimented by her sense of style she effortlessly pulls off oversized men's hoodies & T-shirts. It’s remarkable how comfortable she is in her own skin, she just seems to flow naturally allowing confidence to ooze from her. A defining example of the cosmopolitan woman - independent, educated and stylish - The ideal muse.
Hannah and I arranged to shoot on a lovely Saturday morning in Mayfair. The location was a beautiful town house designed by a client of mine, the interior is dressed with fun warm orange rugs, that dance with autumn green detailing, a statue arch entrance welcomes visitors into a bright living room which on this rare clear day serenades with light courtesy of the floor to ceiling windows which overlook London’s Mayfair streets.
Hannah arrives adorned in an all black outfit which romances with her golden brown skin complexion. I subtly analyse her, watching the way she walks, observing her minute expressions as she talks, trying to gather glimpses of her, letting her naturally state who she really is and capture motions I’d like to recreate once i’m behind the lens.
I seldom see intimately captured photography with penetrating stories anymore. For better or worse, street style inspired editorials seem to be the trend. I, myself prefer the hypnotic romance of Dior campaigns which reach toward my inner romantic who still believes in love at first sight. I aspire to create such stories, stories that resonate audience's beyond Instagram likes. Hence, when creating a visual project I try to learn as much about my subject as possible.
The short time spent with Hannah illustrates the profound layers of her being, as well as beautiful she is passionate about politics, healthy living and equal rights. She strikes me as a complex thinker, with a deep empathy for the world in-which she lives. Attempting to capture that side of her I found myself waiting for moments she would stop "modelling" but would rather, just be.