“Dude, we have the perfect model for your shoot,” said Miles (one of the barbers at Syndicate). “She’s got a chin strap!” A confused look must have washed over my face because Miles went on to explain. “She’s got a Goatee!” “Ya, and Miles made out with her when he was drunk,” yelled one of the other barbers. They all started to laugh.
The cast for the Syndicate shoot was a surly bunch. Chin Strap and Rug, nicknamed that because of his super hairy torso, were pulled in off the street. (There is question as to where they permanently live.) My assistants and stylists pulled the rest of the guys in from the bar next door. I was dealing with a band of murderers, thieves and Punks. However, a more perfect selection of models couldn’t have been picked for the concept of the project.
Ok, that last sentence is probably a lie. No one is a murderer…at least I don’t think so!
Syndicate is a total guy’s joint, in the most heterosexual sort of way. Which is ironic considering that the shop sits in Long Beach’s Gay district. All the barbers have an abundance of tattoos displayed (face included). The shop’s walls are riddled with framed Tattoo art and band posters, along with unused skateboard decks, a vintage motorcycle and a deer’s head. Playboys, Rolling Stones and other such magazines are offered up as reading material. The vintage furniture is ripped and tattered, yet comfortable. The radio blasts a healthy dose of obscure Punk Rock. It’s as if the shop itself is permanently shooting a giant middle finger up at the world.
The Creative Process
I wanted to capture this vibe for the project. To add, I told my stylists to give the girls a burlesque theme, while trying to keep it fashionable. The girls did a great job displaying their deviant personalities. The mood board above illustrates the inspiration for the project.