My name is Seth, and I like watching Downton Abby.
There. I said it. I've owned it. It's out there. You may now revoke my man-card if you'd like. But before you do, let me explain...
I like a lot of things about Downton Abby – aside from the fact that the show is essentially a British period piece version of the Young And The Restless.
I love the cinematography. I love the look and feel of the way the show is shot. I like the music and the dramatic characters and plots and yes… I like the period-inspired sets and costumes of it all. …This isn't going well for the man-card yet, is it?
I even like the advertisements they play before and after the show.
I do a mean imitation of the guy who narrates the Viking River Cruises commercial. And the Ralph Lauren bit with all the cool cars outside the expansive, English estates; people hand-sewing vintage, leather-bound messenger bags and high-fashion pieces; the slow-mo on the catwalk strut in the crazy-manicured Engligh gardens – even the narration underneath it all – about how Ralph Lauren is an artisan perfecting his craft. "I'm creating a world," he says. "A world beyond fashion…"
He's raising people's eyes to something slower and more refined and based on the finer things in life in a world that's watching while they're scarfing down a cheeseburger from McDonald's as they take the latest Facebook survey to find out which member of the Brady Bunch their life most resembles – it's brilliant. Genius, even. Show people a world they want to live in that you have envisioned and created and that inspires them, and that they fall in love with it – even if they're not currently living in it.
So this past winter as I was watching these very ads and this very show, I had a thought… And the thought was simply this: I'd love to shoot something like that.
Wouldn't it be fun to dress someone up in those kinds of clothes and create that kind of look and inspire that kind of old-world awesomeness through a set of portraits?
AND – wouldn't it be fun to do that not with a set of pouty, cat-walking supermodels, but with a young girl?
Kids are a lot more adept at letting their imaginations wander into different worlds than adults are, anyway – the line between the world we live in and the world we WANT TO live in is a lot blurrier for them. We lose that along the way, and it's sad that we do. That loss too often prevents us from living the lives we want to live.
What if we took the Downton Abby look and feel and vibe and translated it to a girl – dress her up and let her get into character and have fun and immerse herself in it? That might be a fun little editorial portrait session to put together, wouldn't it? I thought so...
That was the inspiration behind these portraits of my friend, Eva Johnson. I didn't have to shoot them. I wasn't' asked or hired to. I put together this styled shoot because I wanted to – because sometimes it's inspiring to let go of the routine and reach for something a little higher, finer, less base and more from a world we wish we lived in – a world that I created.
If only there were someone or something or someone that could transcend the ordinary and inspire that kind of re-creation in our real lives...
Happy Easter, everyone.