NYU Photography Student did Part of Her Dissertation at Our Studio

Andrea Harden

Last night, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, NYU photography student, Andrea Harden used our studio to complete a major segment of her dissertation. The theme was merging the old west with urban and modern setting and an artistic way.  Andrea brought several females models and a stylist and experimented with several cowgirls old west outfits and a single and multi model scenes. She also experimented with several lighting setups and various types of cameras including medium format film. It was quite clear from what we observed yesterday that her shoot was in the planning phase for quite a while and that she though about many artistic compositions and lighting conditions to get produce the desirable results mentioned above.

Digital Merit staff was delight to be of help. Our policy has always been to help photography student with their projects by making our studio readily accessible to them to execute their creative ideas. We offer large discounts on studio rental to any photography student who have valid school id and a letter of assignment from the school. In Andreas, in addition to receiving the standard 25% student discount, we let her have access to more lights, light modifiers, props, and tigers for free to facilitate her getting her project done to her satisfaction. We further kept the studio open after our normal closing time to accommodation her schedule.

Andrea spoke about photography work and explained that she was initially inspired to become a photographer simply because she did not want to forget the beautiful and memorable things that she see or come across in life. She later found that she is attached to fashion photography and wanted to hone her skills to become a better photographer and pursue her dream to one day turn professional. She chose NYU to study photography because as she said university has a very strong liberal art program which she was attracted to study art courses the could help her enhancing her creative and artist skills.  She explained that she a good illustrator and that is another reason why she chose the liberal art program in NYU. She further explained that upon graduation she would be seeking employment opportunities with fashion magazines and that she is hoping that within five years from graduation that she would be working for some leading fashion design outlets and magazines.

Several behind-the-scenes photos were taken of last night events. Some of these are posted below.

Andrea Harden
Andrea Harden, at Digital Merit Photography.
Andrea Harden, shooting at at Digital Merit Photography.
Andrea Harden
Andrea Harden, at Digital Merit Photography.

IMATS NY Day 4 – Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Business of Make-Up: Agency Panel

Day 4 was the last day of this four day show. It continued the strong showing of the prior day – refer to my earlier post regarding day 3 which was my first day of coverage of this event.

Again the place was at almost full capacity and the crowed was a little larger than the day before it appeared. Vendors looks very seriously busy on Sunday and more presentations and demonstrations were taken places at the various sections of the pier notably the four stages setup for the show.

These presentations/demonstrations included a creature booth demo by the well know special effect makeup artist Jim Udenberg, avant-garde beauty techniques by Toni Malt whose work is regularly published in major fashion magazines, corrective make-up by Eve Pearl who won five Emmy awards, and make-up for a pop star by Nzingha who has 30 years experience working in the entertainment industry and who won many prestigious awards in recognition of the excellence of her work.

I was able to attend four full presentations during the day which where of particular interest to me due to the nature of their topics. The first was a panel discussion on the topic of the business of make-up, panel consisted of, Madeline Leonard who represented make-up artists since 1986, Sue Devitt who has long and successful makeup career and currently consults makeup artist who are in process of developing their own brands, Carine Trezza a make-up artist that currently leads the social media and communications department at OFRA Cosmetics, Luis Casco a self-taught celebrity makeup artist for more than 25 years, and Jeanna Bonello a beauty influencer who work with hair and makeup artist. Panelist shared their ideas about how to stand out and get noticed in a crowded market, and concentrated how to hone one’s kills and use social media to market yourself. Many advice given by the panelist on who to use social media properly to reach clients and build many followers organically.

The second full presentation/demonstration I attended was about the business of beauty, color and photography by Roque Cozzette who opened up and spoke about his up bringing and how he had challenges in his life that was able to overcome to become what he is today and creative makeup artist, a photographer, and an owner of a new make up brand. He also gave a make up demonstration on a model on the stage while he was making his presentation and answering attendees questions.

The third full presentation was Battle of the Brushes: Character/ Prosthetic Awards Show. Student makeup artist participated in the competition whose character/prosthetic theme this year was Victorian Emporium. The first place winner receives $5000 award. This year the competition was very tight and a high-level of excellence was achieved by all participating students. At the end, the award went to Samantha Martino.

The fourth full presentation was called Eras Reinterpreted and was by Gisel Calvillo, a senior Mac Pro Artist and her assistant who demonstrated and explained to techniques used to achieve iconic Hollywood looks from decades ago such as the Bombshell, Vamps, and Sirens. It was really a fascinating presentation and added to heavy, noticeable and welcomed presence by Mac Cosmetics this year at the show.

Roque Cozzette and his Model
Roque Cozzette and his Model
Topic: Business of Beauty, Color, and Photography.
Gisel Calvillo
Gisel Calvillo of Mac Pro demonstrating on a model an iconic look.
Battle of the Brushes Competition
Battle of the Brushes Competition: Character/Prosthetic. Theme: Victorian Emporium.
Body Painting at the Graftobian Booth.
Body Painting at the Graftobian’s Company Booth.
Make-up artist Nzingha
Make-up artist Nzingha demonstrating the latest fashion/rockstar make-up trends.











IMATS NY Day 3 – Saturday, April 14, 2018

Battle of the Brushes

I was once again very fortunate to cover the International Make-up Artist Trade Show (IMATS) in New York City. The show is organized by the Make-up Artist Magazine and sponsored by some of the big names in the beauty industry such as Makeup for Ever, Kryolan Professional Make-up, NYX Professional Makeup, etc. The show is the biggest annual gathering in New York for makeup artists,exhibitors, educators, and enthusiasts to share, celebrate, and explore what industry offer in terms of new products and trends. The show also includes a the Make-up Museums which show case special effects work from advertisements, Hollywood films, television productions. It also includes the Battle of the Brushes Competition aspiring makeup artist compete against each other based on a predetermined theme. I covered this show the past few years and it continues to remain a major attraction for makeup artists of all levels.

This year show featured very interesting pretensions, demonstrations, and discussions by makeup celebrities and top professionals in the field. A notable mentioning go for a very surreal look created by renowned illusionist Mimi Choi who created an iconic look using contouring and highlighting and without the use of prosthetic. Other notable presentations are the “Beyond the Brushes” by Nick Lujan, where he demonstrated vibrant make up techniques that are designed to inspire, “Flawless Bride of All Ages” by Eva Pearl who had a multi-faced presentation in which she discussed and demonstrated her techniques on color correcting and matching any skin color tones, how to book a trial and what to charge for, and, “The Art of Contouring” by Fatima Thomas of Mac Pro who shared her technique on how to sculpture the face to produce pleasing results and what products to use. Many more presenters provided tips, techniques, advises, and demonstrations throughout the day on the four stages that existed at the show.

One thing I pleasantly noticed this year was the noticeable and welcomed presence by Mac Cosmetics which was absent or minimal in past show. Mac Cosmetics participated with a well-designed booth and product counter with wide selection and adequately staffed to assist visitors to both. During the day they offered body painting demonstration with an attractive design the matched art work painted on the walls of the both. Furthermore, the company offered 30 percent discount to anyone buying products during the show and at the stores during the show period. Furthermore, the company provided at least two on stage pretensions during the two days that I covered.

The Battle of the Brushes competition was held in the afternoon for the characters prepared by makeup students. This year’s theme was “Wildwood Warriors”. Early in the day I visited the Battle of the Brushes Platform where the students prepare their models for the competition, and interviewed one the students “Sam Gaspari” from LA, California who explained that she went to a makeup design school and that she was delighted to make it to the IMATS to compete and that she was inspired by certain characters she have seen on TV and that she designed her character based on the her makeup talent aided by online research and literature reading. The competition itself was very competitive and all the students presented outstanding work. The first prize, however, the total of $5000.00 went to Veranika Kotava who came up with very unique makeup design and matching outfit.

One of the favorite presentations/demonstrations was provided by make-up celebrity artist Saisha Beecham, and social media personage Jordan Hanz who demonstrated manipulating make-up for special events.

On the shopping experience, there were new shades of colors everywhere, I could not however pin a trend but noted that new natural and naked colors as well as highlighting, and contouring colors, as well as long-wear/water proof products were getting prominent presentations by vendors and attention by shoppers.

Also as far as brushes are concerned, it appears that there was another battle of the brushes taking place on the vendors floor. Many brush sellers were competition for the sale of their products, and clearly there was one vendor who appeared to be the king of the hill at the show with lines extending hundreds of feet that required additional security officers to be present to regulate the traffic.

A final note, I personally find attending this event to be the most efficient and probably economical way in NYC to update my kit with quality items due to the number vendors present and the extent of the products that the offer as well as the bargain prices and discounts that they offer during the show. Many of the attendees that I interviewed shared this opinion with me. In fact, some of them indicated to me that they came primary for shopping. I however, give equal weights to the shopping experience and the on stage presentations by the experts in the field.

Mimi Choi
Mimi Choi creating a makeup illusion at IMATS.
Body Painting by Mac Cosmetics
Body Painting at Mac Cosmetics Booth.
Body Painting
Body painting by artist Athena Zhe at the Graftobian Booth.
Makeup Student, Samantha Gaspari getting ready to prepare her model for the Battle of the Brushes competition.
Sam Gaspari
Sam Gaspari’s artistic creation present on stage during the Battle of the Brushes Competition.

You can also see video of the above Wildwood Warrior competing in the Battle of the Brushes Competition on YouTube at the following link:

Gina and Rich’s Wedding

Gina and Rich Wedding.

Digital Merit staff was delighted to cover Richard and Gina’s wedding on March 31, 2018. The wedding took place at the Crown Plaza Hotel at White Plains. Staff met with this lovely couple about a month and half ago at the hotel to discuss the details of their wedding and be familiar with the facility and the locations and arrangement for the ceremony, reception, and the preparation room and suite.  Gina and Rich love story is a beautiful one and you can read about it at ginaandrich.com  , and this story is essentially repeated below just in case the site hosting is a temporary one provided by the venue.

Gina Romero and Richard Lauricella met in 2016, while she was working at a place he went often. He became enchanted by her smile and beauty. She just melted with his funny personality and his handsome face. They started to talk as friends while he was going where she worked. One afternoon, Gina had to take the train to Long Island, and Richard offered her a ride to the train station, and here is when he asked her for her phone number. A couple of weeks after Gina decided to move to New Rochelle to be closer to work, and Richard offered her help to move her stuff since she was living on her own. There first date was at the pizzeria and it was magical! . The afternoon turned to evening and ended with ice cream, where they talked until it was late and they needed to work the next day. And the rest, as they say, is history.

In October, Richard told Gina to go to the Rockefeller park in Thornwood, where they go to walk with Taco-their dog that they adopted. Richard Lauricella surprised Gina Romero by proposing in the woods, and she was in such shock that she could not answer, while he was on his knee. Gina then jumped up crying and they kissed each other, while she saying “YES YES YES I DO! I WANT TO SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH YOU BABY!”

They’re so excited to start the next phase of their lives together and can’t wait to celebrate with you in March!

It was really a beautiful wedding and staff covered the wedding from preparation to reception from about 12 noon to 10 pm. Everything went very smooth and couples looked very lovely. The ceremony was performed by the officiant, Minister Sandra, and it was very beautiful ceremony that was done in English and Spanish. Following the ceremony staff went with the wedding party to a local park for some really nice portrait photos, then returned to the hotel for the reception for the couple first dance, the bride and father dance, and groom and mother dance and the dinner, the cake cutting and bouquet throwing and the speeches, etc. It was really a lovely day from the beginning to end.

Gina and Richard Portrait
A wedding portrait in the park of Gina and Richard

We also added a highlight video of the wedding which can be seen at the following link: