Photographer + Creative Director Everett Evans
Stylist + HMUA Erin King
Model NANA KAILIWAI
Step into a world where the vibrant streets of New Orleans provide the backdrop for an artistic revolution. In the heart of this culturally rich city, a new wave of creatives is emerging, capturing the essence of New Orleans through their lens. From photographers and models to fashion stylists and filmmakers, this creative scene is thriving with untapped potential, ready to be discovered by industry producers, executives, and brands seeking a fresh and unique experience. Join us as we explore the magnetic allure and artistic treasures that New Orleans has to offer. Capturing the Spirit: As the curtain rises, the photographs showcased within this article transport us to the mesmerizing streets and mystic interiors of New Orleans. Each image tells a story, evoking a myriad of emotions and painting a vivid tapestry of the city's soul. From the lively Treme homes to the enchanting allure of hotel interiors, the photographers have skillfully captured the essence of this magical city. The Colors of Creativity: New Orleans, a city brimming with color and culture, provides a vibrant canvas for artistic expression. The images radiate with the kaleidoscope of hues that mirror the city's spirited atmosphere. From the bold and vibrant neighborhood to the atmospheric, moody twilight hours, the photos reveal the full spectrum of New Orleans' creative energy. Innovators in Every Frame: Behind each captivating image lies a team of local talents whose dedication and expertise are paramount. New Orleans boasts an abundance of photographers, models, fashion stylists, creative directors, visual artists, and filmmakers, each contributing their unique perspectives and pushing the boundaries of their craft. These innovators bring a fresh and authentic voice to the creative industry, one that is steeped in the rich heritage and dynamic cultural tapestry of New Orleans. A City Reimagined: While cities like New York and Los Angeles have long been recognized for their creative scenes, New Orleans offers a distinct alternative that deserves attention. Beyond its world-famous cuisine and vibrant music, the city is a treasure trove of inspiration for editorial-style photoshoots. Its historic architecture, intricate street art, and captivating landscapes provide a striking backdrop that effortlessly complements any creative vision. A Call for Representation: Despite its creative wealth, New Orleans often remains underrepresented in many ways. This article serves as a rallying cry, inviting industry producers, executives, and brands to explore the untapped potential that lies within this artistic haven. By choosing New Orleans as a location for their projects, they not only gain access to a city rich in culture and beauty but also provide a platform for the local creative community to thrive and gain the recognition they deserve. Conclusion: New Orleans is not just a city of jazz and cuisine; it is a vibrant hub of creativity waiting to be discovered. The photographs showcased in this article are a testament to the city's allure and the talents that call it home. By venturing beyond the conventional creative scenes, industry producers, executives, and brands have the opportunity to unearth a new wave of inspiration in New Orleans—a place where high fashion, art, and culture converge in a symphony of creative expression. It's time to shine a spotlight on New Orleans, where untapped potential and endless possibilities await those who dare to embrace the city's artistic spirit.
Interview with Creative Director and Photographer Everett Evans featured in Issue 15
How would you describe your artistic style?
I would describe my artistic style as a fusion of editorial flair and authentic storytelling by combining realism and natural shots to evoke genuine emotions in every work of art I create.
What inspires you to create art?
I believe it's a blend of exploration, experimentation, collaboration with diverse clients and creatives, and the profound joy of personal expression. Each one of those desires has helped me to continue to grow as an artist.
What is your creative process like?
I often begin by drawing inspiration from various sources, such as fashion trends, art, photography, culture, music, and film. I will engage in extensive research, exploring diverse styles and ideas to enrich my creative palette. This phase fuels my imagination and sets the groundwork for the projects ahead. For example, I studied a lot of Beyonce's Lemonade Visual Album, to influence me with the styles, setting, and mysticism of the photoshoot featured. As ideas take shape, I meticulously brainstorm and sketch concepts, refining and expanding on initial sparks of inspiration. This stage is where my personal expression and ideas intertwine with the objectives and visions of my initial inspiration, creating a harmonious foundation for the project. For projects involving clients, fashion brands, or creative teams, I embrace collaboration as a cornerstone of my creative process. Engaging in open dialogues and sharing ideas with others allows for the cross-pollination of creativity, leading to fresh and innovative concepts that transcend my individual perspectives. Once the concept solidifies, I plan the logistics and details of the project. This could involve organizing shoots, creating call sheets coordinating with models, makeup artists, and other professionals, scouting locations, and acquiring necessary props or clothing items. I embrace spontaneity and adaptability during the creative process. As projects unfold, new ideas might emerge, or unexpected moments could present themselves. When this occurs I allow my intuition and creativity to guide me, resulting in authentic and magical moments that just can't be planned. After the shoot, I also do the post-production and retouching. Retouching is therapeutic to me, and is a process that allows me to work on my technical expertise and artistic vision, bringing out the best in each image. Upon completion, I try to take time to reflect on the project's outcome, acknowledging its strengths and areas for improvement. In my earliest shoots, I would send out Google questionnaires to everyone who was on the team to give me feedback. This reflective practice allows me to continuously grow as an artist.
How do you approach the technicality of your work, both from yourself and others?
I approach the technicality of my work with a combination of precision and artistry. From a personal standpoint, I place a strong emphasis on mastering the technical aspects of my craft, such as camera settings, lighting techniques, and post-processing methods. A deep understanding of the technical elements allows me to translate my creative vision into captivating visual narratives effectively. While technical proficiency lays the foundation, I am not afraid to experiment and push the boundaries of traditional techniques to achieve unique and visually striking results. Balancing technical expertise with creative freedom allows me to craft storytelling images and fashion films. When collaborating with others, such as fellow creatives or crew members, effective communication is paramount. I strive to foster an open and collaborative environment where ideas and insights are welcomed and valued. Each member's technical expertise adds a valuable layer to the overall project, and I believe in leveraging our collective strengths to create something exceptional. Moreover, I am open to learning from others, regardless of their level of experience or background. Every project is an opportunity to grow and expand my technical knowledge. By staying receptive to new techniques and perspectives, I can continuously refine my approach and deliver increasingly refined and impactful work.
Are you a bit of an overthinker or do you like to let the art take the reins?
No, not at all! Friends and family would most likely tell you I'm nonchalant. I like to go with the flow of things.
What's the body of work you're most proud of?
Rebirth, The shoot I'm showcasing through this article. The planning, collaboration, and message behind it is by far the most special and intentional piece of work I believe I have put out.
Embracing criticism and negative feedback is an essential part of growth and improvement. How do you handle criticism or negative feedback on your work?
As a creative, I approach criticism and negative feedback as valuable opportunities for growth and improvement. I try my best to be open-minded and receptive to feedback. While it's natural to feel a bit disheartened initially, I remind myself that receiving feedback is an integral part of the creative process. Instead of taking criticism personally, I just view it objectively and as a chance to learn and evolve.
Which cinematic period do you find most inspiring?
I like films that were created in the 1980s and early 2000s Movies like Scarface, and Purple Rain. Both films exemplify the artistic daring and fearlessness that influenced me. They remind me of the power of storytelling through visuals, the importance of pushing boundaries, and the impact of portraying authentic and flawed characters. Moreover, these movies embody the spirit of their time, reflecting the cultural shifts and societal complexities of the 1980s, urging me to channel contemporary influences into my own work.
What film or television show has influenced your artistry?
I spoke about films in the last question so for this question I will use a television show as an example. The American Horror Story series is my favorite show of all shows. I like that each season is unique and based on a different story with its own unique setting, characters, and theme, but ultimately connects all seasons. I believe it stands out for its ability to push the boundaries of the horror/drama genre, continually reinventing itself while maintaining its signature elements of suspense, psychological, and striking visuals. In my artistry, I like to play with elements of psychology and mystery that plays on your emotional interpretation. I think the show's willingness to take risks and embrace the unconventional can encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone, daring to explore new and uncharted artistic territories, leading to fresh and innovative creations.
Tell us about your last binge-watch...Have you recently watched something that's a must-see?
Recently I binge-watched The Idol on Hulu, and I think any creative would love this show. You get to see the grit, pain, and controversy behind what can come with the lifestyle of a music artist, however, the concept can be relatable to any artist or creative. I believe The director also took huge risks in creating this show because it's so unconventional and breaks through the comfort zones of what many people wouldn't dare create. The show delves deep into the intricacies of personal connections, the challenges that come with fame, and the journey of self-exploration.
Which character from the world of cinema or television do you relate to the most? And, importantly, what is it about this character that truly speaks to you?
Ouu, this question is a hard one to answer, there are so many movies, shows, and actors lol! I can't even think right now, I'll come back to this! Actually, I just let my creative mind take over to answer this question from a different perspective, and I would like to pay homage to my brother Edward Buckles. director of Katrina Babies which premiered on HBO last year. His documentary is relatable being from New Orleans and dealing with Hurricane Katrina and the after-effects it placed on New Orleans youth that plague the city to this day. It's such an informative, and inspiring piece of work everyone must go watch.
In your opinion, how do you think the film industry influences society?
I think movies shape cultural norms, beliefs, and values of society. Films provide a means of entertainment and escapism, impacting emotional well-being. As a potent medium, the film industry influences behavior and attitudes, inspiring both positive and negative imitations. By shaping fashion trends and driving economic growth, movies also leave a mark on popular culture and various industries.
Who's in your thespian Hall of Fame?
Will Smith, Viola Davis, Halle Berry, Daniel Kaluuya, Issa Raye, Lena Waithe Shonda Rhymes, Jordan Peele.
Take us back to your first project, how did that moment prepare you for where you're currently in your career?
For my first project, I embarked on a campaign for my clothing brand, Chaleur. It marked the exciting debut of my first collection, incorporating a captivating photoshoot and a compelling fashion film. The collaboration with talented individuals made it a momentous experience. The remarkable photos captured by Cam Aubert were fortuitously discovered by a Vogue PR representative, leading to an opportunity to be featured in Vogue's esteemed 'Up Next Designer' section. Despite initial nerves, the production came together seamlessly and achieved resounding success. Working with the finest creatives in New Orleans, I had the privilege of having Delaney George direct my fashion film. She also skillfully captured the essence of my brand through the Vogue feature shoot, with models Taylor Freeman and Nicco Batiste showcasing the collection. That project served as a transformative stepping stone, propelling me forward in my career in remarkable ways. The success of the campaign and its recognition by Vogue provided a much-needed validation of my creative vision and talents. It instilled in me the confidence to pursue even greater opportunities and take on more ambitious projects. Beyond the tangible achievements, the experience taught me invaluable lessons in collaboration, project management, and the art of storytelling through fashion. It also helped me establish crucial connections within the industry, opening doors to new partnerships and collaborations. Most importantly, the project ignited a passion for using my brand as a platform to promote inclusivity and diversity within the fashion world. As I continue on my journey, I carry the lessons and experiences from that first project with me, fueling my drive to make a meaningful and lasting impact in the fashion industry.
How do you feel the Internet and social media have impacted cinema?
I think the Internet and social media have significantly shaped the landscape of cinema, influencing film distribution to be instantly reached all over the world with the birth of streaming. Marketing trailers, behind-the-scenes content, and interactive campaigns can generate excitement and boost ticket sales.
Finding the perfect harmony between your artistic style and the collaborating team’s preferences is an art in itself. How do you find the balance?
Ultimately, achieving the perfect harmony between my artistic style and the collaborating team requires a blend of diplomacy, adaptability, and creative synergy. By valuing the input of all team members and fostering a collaborative spirit, is where I find the balance.
Can you tell us about a particular difficult project you’ve worked on, and what you learned from it?
Having encountered challenging projects characterized by inadequate organization and communication, I gained invaluable insights into the importance of meticulous planning and efficient coordination in production. In the realm of filmmaking, organization, and communication stand as fundamental pillars, dictating the success or failure of a project. Through firsthand experiences, I came to understand that taking shortcuts can quickly spoil even the most promising projects. Thus, I have embraced a resolute commitment to uphold the highest standards of organization and communication in all my future productions, ensuring the seamless execution of creative visions and the realization of exceptional outcomes.
The most unforgettable line from a movie. What's that one quote that lives in your mind rent-free?
Norbit - "So, you wanna watch a bitch come down a slide? Well, I'm gonna show you how a bitch come down a slide. Oh, no...Excuse me, ma'am? We have a 300-pound weight limit. I don't weigh no damn 300 pounds. I weigh 165. How you doing?"
How do you handle rejection or not getting chosen for a project or opportunity?
Manifest the next one!
We all face those pesky creative blocks and moments of self-doubt from time to time. How do you effectively navigate creative blocks and moments of self-doubt?
I take a moment to step back and engage in mindfulness or self-reflection through meditation or exercise. Shout out to my brother Carlton @grgnola for training me consistently in the gym. I understand that creative blocks are natural experiences that all creatives go through, and breaks are ok.
Managing the entrepreneurial aspects of being an artist is crucial for success. How do you handle the business side of the industry?
Handling the business side of the art industry is paramount for achieving success as an artist. Drawing from a background deeply rooted in entrepreneurship, I have developed my business skills to enhance and support my artistic talents growing up in a family of business owners and pursuing a college education in business further fortified my understanding of essential principles like financial management, marketing strategies, and effective planning. Additionally, I recognized the value of mentorship and sought guidance from seasoned professionals in the creative industry. My mentors Ali McNally Fashion Stylist and Chris Scheurich Photographer, with their extensive experience, have generously shared invaluable insights on navigating the art business, avoiding potential pitfalls, and seizing opportunities. Through their guidance, I have gained a profound appreciation for the symbiosis of creativity and business, enabling me to promote and showcase my art effectively.
With SAG-AFTRA and the WGA on strike in their labor dispute against AMPTP. We're curious to know your take on the current state of the entertainment industry. What message would you like to send to AMPTP?
My heart goes out to all the writers, actors, and creatives who are currently facing the challenges of this unfortunate strike. I stand in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA and the WGA, supporting their efforts to address not only wage issues but also crucial concerns like AI protections, fair treatment for all members of the production team, and equitable streaming residuals and benefits. The impact of this dispute extends beyond the immediate parties involved and affects the entire ecosystem of professionals who contribute to the entertainment industry. It is disheartening to witness such circumstances, especially as the industry is already navigating its recovery from the pandemic.
What do you envision for the future of cinema? And where do you place yourself in the conversation?
I see a flourishing landscape characterized by inclusivity and fairness, and it seems AI is coexisting into the new future with humans; a thoughtful integration of AI technology. It is a future where actors and writers receive fair compensation and robust protections, ensuring that their invaluable contributions to the art of storytelling are duly recognized and rewarded. I remain committed to promoting the values of fairness, creativity, and human connection in the ever-evolving landscape of filmmaking and storytelling.