vintage test shoots

It was the spring of 2006 and after giving Eliza highlights for the third time, we had finally reached the point where her hair didn’t have highlights anymore, it was a total bleached white look. I hate highlights, just hate them, end of story. Some people said that the hair looked like Debbie Harry’s hair back in the day, but I felt it looked more like Courtney Love singing about some doll parts. So, I arranged a test shoot. Alexandros Papanikolopoulos took the pictures, Ilia Darlin provided us with all the lingerie-like clothes we needed, Morfe did the make-up and I didn’t do much in the studio, I just messed her dried naturally hair up with my hands. But I had been working on that hair for months.


It was September in 2003, when my friend Myrto told me that the girls that own the Rere Papa boutique in Kolonaki wanted to shoot her for some flyers advertising their boutique. The shooting would take place at a (fantastic) lake on a mountain near the little town of Akrata and they would stay there for 2 days. Myrto went on to ask the girls if I could come along to keep her company and also style her hair and that led to my first session styling, before I even knew that this was an actual job. This shot was not used (plus I needed an 80s inspired picture) and that’s why it’s posted as a test shot. Renata (one of the 2 girls of Rere Papa) took the pictures and Olivia retouched it to accentuate the ¬†80s essence of the picture (no, no it’s not Photoshop, the sun really hit her earring).

I’ve always thought that my friend Lena is sexy. Sexy shouldn’t always be about high heels, red lipstick and garter belts (although there’s nothing wrong with all three). We were in Barcelona in the summer of 2005 and I had just cut Lena’s hair on her rooftop under the merciless spanish sun. Although the short fringe isn’t really a 70s thing, after I styled her hair and saw her sitting in front of the bamboo fence and numerous plants on her balcony, I knew we would get that 70s soft-lighting, soft-focus, Playboy feeling that I had in mind for the pictures.

It was a really hot summer day of 2005 in Barcelona and it also was the first time I visited Carmen at her place. It was kind of masochistic to work under those weather conditions but three hours after I started working on Carmen’s hair, she looked like a member of a girl-group of the 60s. I took the pictures and six years later decided (after Olivia and Jamie’s consultation and work that is) that the yellow tones of the picture that I’ve been trying to neutralize all along, make the picture look more vintage than anything. Die desaturation, die!

It was the beginning of 2006 when Harvey the photographer (previously of the Kitao team that specialized on advertising photography) suggested we do a test together. My friend Mariangela has always had a thing for vintage (and now gives swing dancing lessons) so I knew that this was the girl we would have to do pin-up with. Mariangela brought her own (authentic vintage) clothes and vintage record player. I did the hair (and cut her fringe in the studio), Marina Stat did the make-up, Harvey took the pictures and Eliza did the retouching, making it look like a vintage magazine cover (I love the glowing skin of that era).

At this point I think I should explain what a test shoot is. When a photographer, stylist, make-up artist, hairstylist or model want to start in the business, they have to do shootings where no-one gets paid, just to be able to showcase what they are capable of doing. Working with models is definitely a plus for testing, but my own friends have provided a huge amount of test work and they still continue to inspire me so so much. Maybe they are the ones responsible for this blog after all…

Back in ¬†April of 2009, when I was taking my first (and also last – not patient enough) make-up lessons, I decided I wanted to do something 1920’s inspired. My camera-shy artist friend Em had already been having her fringed bob haircut for a year and a half, so it seemed natural that she would pose for me next time I trimmed her hair. The cut may be a lot longer than Louise Brooks’s typical 1920’s cut but Marina Stat, my make-up mentor, helped me transform Em into a silent movie star. And if you think that doing 1920’s eyes and lips is difficult, try doing 1920’s cheeks.

I shot these pictures of Panos C. (above) and Greg (below) in the spring of 2006. Panos C. has always been fearless and inspirational, so this haircut was just one of the many edgy and unique cuts I’ve given him over the years. The story behind the picture of Greg however, is a totally different story. He was joining the army three days later and he had bleached hair, so he wanted to shave it all off. I begged him to let me dye it first and this is one of my most favourite colours I’ve ever done. Also one of the most short lived (2 days). Olivia, my digital right hand, created the amazing background for Panos C. and taught me about DaVinci’s early sketches. Panos’s make-up was done by Marina Stat.