Amanda Marsalis Is Surprised in W Magazine
Sometimes projects get a life of their own. When there’s the perfect pairing of model and photographer, the collaboration can reach beyond the limits or needs of the project. When Amanda Marsalis shot Gigi Hadid for W Magazine, they only needed one good shot. But on that day, they didn’t want to stop. So they just kept going. “Gigi is such a great model, we had such nice clothing, and it was W Magazine so everyone involved was tops,” explains Amanda. “It just seemed like a waste to only take one picture.” With all those resources and willing participants, that joining of passion and work flowers into a bigger experience.
It’s a situation that has to be handled delicately. You don’t always get to follow the energy on set. Sometimes you have to cut out early. “Sometimes with a celebrity, if you know you’ve got it, you don’t push it too much,” says Amanda. Shoots are as much about maintaining great relationships as they are about creating great work. When this shoot was gearing up, there was no way to know that it was going to turn into one of those special situations. Everyone had made it to set, each department was setting up their wares, and then they waited for Gigi to finish being styled. “And then she comes out and she’s dressed and as soon as we’re taking photos she was just totally engaged with me,” Amanda says. “I could tell that she would give me anything it was that I needed. And she just was constantly moving, but in a way that she was aware of the camera. She knew what to do, and she just gave it.” It didn’t hurt that both Gigi and Amanda are amazing at what they do.
Many models need more direction than what Gigi required, and it made everything work so much better. Many models are just hangers for clothes with beautiful faces. But the models that engage and change the campaigns they’re a part of do so by living in front of the camera. “When you meet someone and they have that sort of special sparkle, she had the special sparkle,” says Amanda. “As soon as I had the camera in my hand, it was like ‘whoa.’ It was really fun. So I got lots of options and then I got more, because she’s a really freaking good model.”
Ironically, they weren’t planning on having this be anything more than a typical shoot. They had a finite number of dresses and so they eventually ran out of options, and had to stop. "We were just like ‘Ah, I wish we had more dresses.' We could have shot a feature in the end," says Amanda. “I wouldn’t have known when I got to set how special Gigi is." Talk about a great surprise.