From my experience, moving to another country (or continent) produces some element of homesickness for the 'motherland'. It took me about 2 years to acclimatize myself to NY way of living and now returning home to London feels so odd.. As if I'm familiar, but don't belong anymore. A tourist in my own country.
That being said, there are certain elements that I refuse to let go of, and will always bridge the "atlantic gap' for nostalgia and familiarity. Food and snacks, rain, and of course... pop culture. Music is one of those things that no matter how old you are, you remember the first time you heard it, and there are few artists who can bring back such strong memories from my days in London... Estelle happens to be one of those artists.
'1980' blew up in 2004 which was the year I moved to USA and I fell in love with her music. Her reggae tune 'Come Over' with Sean Paul still makes my best of playlists for shoots.
I was introduced to Estelle in 2014 through our mutual friend Kerin from A-Morir, an eyewear brand that Estelle wears frequently. E told me that she was about to launch her new album and I jumped at the chance to shoot her with a concept I had been wanting to do for some time.. She loved the concept (shooting her with a nostalgic vintage nod to her musical heroes, showing where she came from - no longer a young girl, but a grown and elegant performer) and I was thrilled.
I wanted to shoot in an authentic location and we ended up shooting at the Slipper Room in the LES, NYC. Creem magazine loved the concept too, and used the photographs and wrote an article to promote the album - read the article here , written by Greg Mania.
I found Estelle to be one of the most elegant and sophisticated women I've met. She has a really softly spoken voice, which was never raised except when she laughed. She had a very strong sense of style, and an iron will, with unwavering opinions on her looks. I respected her instantly for that. ;)
She was a pro - she knew her angles, she knew how to move her body, and she was a dream to direct. Our producer Carly Jane Chappell, an ex DJ, played some old school British funk and reggae and Estelle vibed on set, and sang along under her breath when she thought I wasn't looking!