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On-shoot necessity: A comfortable pair of shoes. As a photographer, you will spend the majority of your day standing in the most strenuous positions, and your feet will have to carry you as strong and steady as a tripod. Make sure you always have a great pair of sole-soothing shoes on. 

Perks of the job: There is nothing like a good cup of coffee, but having a strong A-team of smiling, funny people is unbeatable. With a joke in the air and a good sense of humor, no shoot seems impossible, and the day rolls by smoothly.

Gear hauler: I travel with a Lowepro Micro Trekker 200 backpack. Lowepro backpacks are superlight, perfect to pack and well constructed. 

Quirky style: My favorite pictures bring humor to situations that don’t initially seem funny—like Elliott Erwitt’s pictures. The world is full of things we don’t see, but they are there. We just have to start looking. 

Guilty pleasure: Reading. I’m a former newspaper reporter and copy editor, so words—especially compelling stories with distinct narrative structures—resonate with me and impact my creative process. I was really inspired by the novel Sudden Death, by Álvaro Enrigue. I wish more of his works were translated into English. I get excited about people who find creative and elegant ways to stretch—not necessarily break—constraints, boundaries and expectations. It’s like the challenge facing all creative people who work commercially; I find that so invigorating and inspiring. 

Lighting gear: A Profoto D4 2400 Air pack and three heads, bought in gently used condition—and for a bargain basement price—from a small rental shop in New York. I shoot a lot on location with 110-watt-second, battery-powered kits, but I also need gear that can handle higher output and all-day sessions. The D4 nails it on so many levels, except for one: the head plug-in ports don’t have covers, which seems like a significant oversight, even as a pack that’s billed as an in-studio workhorse. Studio work can get as messy, or even messier, than location work! 

Pastry: Pain au chocolat. No matter where I’m shooting in Paris, I can always count on finding a delicious one! 

Signature collection: Now and Then, by Sarah Moon. Moon is one of my greatest inspirations. Fashion moves so quickly, and she is able to keep up with the trends while still creating timeless pieces of art. At the beginning of my photography career and before I had a clear idea of my own artistic vision, I admired Moon’s style, which connects her whole body of work.

Rising star: Berlin-based Harley Weir. Her subjects hypnotize me with a childlike femininity that is romantic and a bit perverse. To me, her photography feels dreamy without being overly shocking or too sexual, like her Obsessions series for Self Service magazine.

Mind-blowing photography: Everything by André Steiner. I have his book L’homme curieux. Every time I open it, I discover something new that I hadn’t seen before. I’m always surprised by how timeless his images feel. One of my favorites is a portrait of Lisa Fonssagrives called La danseuse (The dancer) because of the energy within the photograph. 

Artistic muse: I keep a little chandelier crystal in my pocket for moments of random inspiration for in-camera distortions. It has assisted with my coverage of New York Fashion Week and even with a few portraits. Old-school camera tricks are the way to my heart. 

Fantastic mash-up: Tim Walker’s Hieronymus Bosch–inspired spread for Love magazine. Tim’s work consistently blows me away, and his “Bosched!” editorial for the spring/summer 2016 issue brought me to my knees. When I look at this spread, I can’t help but see the creativity and artful consideration behind each decision that was made on set. 

Tech resource: I am really into the content that Showstudio provides on its site (showstudio.com), including the podcasts and live streams of notable editorials. It’s incredible to see photographer Nick Knight innovate on set in real time with 3-D scanning and new technologies. 

Timeless equipment: My trusty Flexfill. I use one on every shoot, and I try to keep one everywhere—my camera bag, my studio, my trunk, my house. I even keep one at my parents’ house. I must own ten of the reflectors, and they’ve all been worn to shreds. I like the quality of light produced by an old, worn-out silver or gold Flexfill reflector. 

Promotion that stuck out like a sore … : A photographer named Justin Poulsen made a promo where he shot a hand giving a thumbs-up, but the thumb had been cut off; he then gave out USB thumb drives that looked like actual thumbs. I thought it was a funny, clever and well-executed marketing idea.

Guilty pleasure: People watching. No, not like normal people watching. I watch people and give them full-blown backstories. I love sitting outside, in a bar, in a restaurant—you name it—and I give people names, jobs, even their own guilty pleasures. This is seriously what I love to do. I have friends who will do this with me, and it’s actually incredibly fun. I’ve only been busted once, and I had to tell the guy the name and job I gave him.


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