Bucket hats, dancing the night away with your BFFs, surviving on a balanced diet of fried chicken and doughnuts…yep, we've all been there. And when said things feature in the lookbook for Loewe’s second collaboration with Paula’s Ibiza, it's safe to say this is definitely our mood for summer.
Yet while an enviably cool cast appears in front of the camera, a look behind the lens reveals our latest obsession, and photography protégé, Gray Sorrenti.
If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Gray is the 18-year-old daughter of fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti – the man behind those endlessly re-grammed and reposted Calvin Klein images from the nineties featuring Kate Moss, shooting for everyone from the New York Times and Chanel to i-D.
Naturally, Gray inherited a good eye.
Don’t assume the family background means she’s resting on her laurels. A name will only get you so far – the rest is commitment and talent. Which is why Jonathan Anderson tapped Gray to shoot the latest campaign for Loewe’s capsule collection with Paula’s Ibiza.
ELLE UK spoke to Gray to find out how she’s juggling photography and school work, alongside modelling and having any semblance of a social life (that, and more about her time on the road in New Orleans, shooting for Loewe). Here’s your introduction to a photographer whose work we’ll no doubt be seeing a lot more of.
Tell us about shooting for Loewe. It looked like a great time. How did you find the people you featured?
We had a lot of fun and I think it really shows in the pictures. Shooting Loewe Paula’s Ibiza was a very special project. Jonathan Anderson and the [creative agency] M/M team gave me complete artistic freedom so I seized the opportunity to give them something from the heart.
I told them I wanted to shoot Paula’s in New Orleans because it’s a city that I know well, and they were completely into the idea. We all flew down to New Orleans, I brought my friends from New York and we ran around the city taking pictures, meeting great people, capturing the essence of the city.
What was the most memorable part of the shoot, and your favourite spot to shoot in?
Every neighbourhood in New Orleans has a story, a style and a history. The landscape is lush, hot, humid, and colourful, just like it’s people. We hit all the neighbourhoods, dipping in and out. We met kids on the street, ran into parades, drove out to the bayou, jumped a few fences and snuck into abandoned places.
We took pictures in front of the Bunny Bread factory, where my mom used to skip school with her girlfriends, and then headed down St. Claude Ave., where my grandpa Iggy was born and raised in the early 1900s. We met two sweet brothers who live in the neighbourhood and they jumped into the pictures. I wanted the experience to be real, and show the charm and truth of the city.
Tell us about yourself: Gray 101. Where are you based? Are you still studying?
I’m a New Yorker. I’m still in school, but I’m almost finished and want to study film afterwards. I’m a lover; I was raised on love. It’s what drives me, so I’m into documenting my friends and the madness in the world at this present time.
What do you most enjoy taking photos of?
My friends, people on the train and in the street. Right now I’m documenting everywhere I go. Every day there's something new and somewhat ridiculous.
Did you always know you wanted to pursue photography as a career?
No, not really. I do know that, from an early age, I was intrigued by imagery and film. I would spend hours in my tiny room setting up scenarios and acting them out, so I guess that’s where it started. I can’t ever remember not being surrounded by beautiful mind-bending images that are forever ingrained in me.
I am very lucky to have grown up with my dad and his love for taking pictures. It has definitely rubbed off on me.
You grew up surrounded by fashion images, who are the photographers whose work you enjoy most?
Daido Moriyama, Bruce Davidson, Mary Ellen Mark, Dorothea Lange, William Klein, Tina Barney, Malick Sidibe, Davide Sorrenti, my Aunt Vanina Sorrenti and of course, my dad, Mario Sorrenti.
Growing up in his studio has taught me a great deal about the relationship with my subject and the importance of building a great team. Working together to create an image that is not only beautiful but that provokes and speaks to you on an emotional level.
You’ve got a lot on your plate with modelling, photography and school. What do you when you’re not working?
My mind is always working on ideas for projects or the next shoot, but when I’m not studying I go downtown to hang out with my girls and we go dancing. I love music and I am crazy about dancing.
What’s the secret to juggling all of those things?
I just do it, but being very organised and making time for myself to think and digest it all helps.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Love what you do and work hard. Know your craft. Fear is your worst enemy.
What are you most looking forward to in 2018?
The summer! Swimming in the Mediterranean and hanging on the rocks with my friends and family. Taking pictures and shooting a short film so I can get into college.
Who are the other young artists and creatives that you’re most excited about?
My brother Arsun and his band ARSUN, photographer Zora Sicher, painter Atticus Wakefield, artist Lua Beaulieu, filmmaker Jack Irving who worked on Loewe with me, artist Brandon Hartley, Blue Lindeberg and Manon Macasaet.
I’m surrounded by so many great people and talented young artists. We are all trying to find our way and make our mark. What I love about my generation is that we are conscious, awake and not afraid to work hard.
The Loewe x Paula's Ibiza collection is available to purchase here.
This story first appeared on ELLEUK.com.
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