Thayer Allyson Gowdy and Creative Luxury
One of the challenges of lifestyle shoots, something that Thayer Allyson Gowdy is very familiar with, is the pure amount of energy that has to be maintained. Getting a deep variety of imagery in a plethora of settings takes a lot of time, and a lot of focus. The energy compounds on itself on set and ultimately helps to frame the final images with the same energy spilling in. As beautiful as those results are, there’s another side to lifestyle that can offer the same kind of beauty. When Thayer shot for Tommy Hilfiger, it was a bare bones crew. It was just her, the art director, a prop stylist, and her digital technician, and it was exactly how she likes it. “It was kind of a dreamy job,” she says. “We had so much freedom… It was a rare opportunity that we got to just sort of collaborate. It was refreshing and really, really lovely.” Working with a group of people that small meant both physical and creative mobility, allowing them to find the right shots in their own time.
When it comes to treating her shots this way, Thayer uses an athletic example. “We had a shot list for the day we stared and we just sort of moved through it at our own pace,” Thayer says. “And we always got done really early and did extra shots. It’s sort of the same theory of a marathon: if you walk part of a marathon, you can still get a good time.” In truth, when photographers are working on broad projects with deep requirements, it is very similar to the work of an athlete. At the end of the day we judge the final product, their performance. But to get there requires focus, time, and practice. And nothing can beat perfect conditions on the day. Part of Thayer’s perfect conditions on this shoot was her relationship with Lionel Cipriano, the Art Director for the shoot. Their creative synergy on set is what allowed for the compounding good vibes. She explains that when you have a working relationship like what she has with Lionel, you can leave behind on-set drama, which is a big time save. “You get straight to getting an image done a whole lot quicker when you can collaborate that closely, we ended up getting so many more shots than we needed each day and we had a shot list as long as our arm,” she says. “It was great! And we had a good time!”
When it comes down to it, those relationships are as important to a photographer’s success as their prowess with a camera, and it really shows up in the frames. “Any time that you feel really good and there’s good energy, it’s really positive and relaxed,” she explains. That feeling permeates the entire set and suffuses the images with effortless beauty and a little shot of natural luxury.