Managing different types of personalities on a daily basis is very challenging. Every photographer, client and project has it’s own set of needs. Patience and proper timing are necessary qualities to being an agent.
If you’re making the transition, you have to be self-motivated. Most stylists inherently have a sense of style - but that is not good enough. You have to be like any other entrepreneur & dedicate yourself to the business side of things. If you’re going to go freelance, know that the glamour scene is only about 10% of the job.
You can get an amazing shot just by suggesting the right things. Sometimes a photographer is so busy or stuck in one particular look, they can’t see the big picture for the shoot, but because T.J. has assisted talented people he’s already got that kind of knowledge - he’s sort of a free-floating lighting assistant. It’s a big help.
It’s a fun business and I actually really enjoy it. I love working with photographers, they know their work. I see hundreds of photographers and what I take away is how passionate everyone is and how hard people work. No matter what their personal style is, they are so driven and it’s such a pleasure to see that.
A lot of times a photographer or creative director may not know the intricacies of a particular sport. They might be a fan and have a certain concept, but their concern is more about how to achieve the look that they want — that image. My job is to ensure everything is authentic from every movement within the sport but also within the athlete, the individual.
I was a counter girl in Bloomingdales SoHo. And two years later, somewhere along the road I decided, “I gotta stop!” and that this wasn’t for me. I actually intended to be a writer. I went to school for creative writing and was travel writing before that, but I just went into this whole life tail spin and I couldn’t write. I had a creative block and I needed to do something else with my hands, so I started doing makeup.
After one year of studying Law in Lodz University in Poland I moved to NYC where I had my first fashion show with my new AGGA B. collection in Manhattan. All I had was the collection, one suitcase and very little money but decided to stay and pursue my american dream of designing, I was about 19.
Essentially, while we were both freelancing, we started a hobby of collecting pieces that were interesting to us. We steered towards vintage mid-century modern decor pieces that were not only relevant to design and décor back then, but also compliment with current designers and most importantly, I want to have them in my home.
I wanted to be an artist, so that was my goal. I wanted to be creative and do something in a creative field. When I proposed being a fine artist to my dad he said, “You’re not going to make any money!” Luckily, I went to a really interesting high school - just a public school, but it had a very good art program where I had studied both advertising and fashion.
I’ve been a stylist for 20 years. I studied photography, I’m from a family of photographers, so I still practice in the art of photography, but predominantly in the fine art respect. So if I had a title, I think it would be very long - it would be Fashion Stylist slash Photographic Video Artist.
When a photographer reaches out to me, we talk about what their needs are, the scope of their focus, what exactly they might need me for. So, I might help on one particular marketing project, but I can also help on estimating a project. But also, I have photographers who I work with on coming up with their whole marketing scheme for the year.
I graduated in 2005 and started photo assisting. When I graduated, I was shooting for Timeout and photo assisting and then I ended up photo assisting at the Crate & Barrel Studios - that’s when I transitioned from photo assisting to stylist assisting.
When I first moved to NYC, I worked at a fashion trade magazine as a writer. It was a small staff, the kind of place where everyone did everything. I ended up styling the in-house shoots. At the time I knew a lot of freelance photographers, and saw how freelancers work less and earn more. I wanted that! So I immediately started assisting.
Luerzer's Archive celebrated their 30 year anniversary at the Art Directors Club in NYC with cake, drinks and a live puppy photo op! Check out further photos of the event on their Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/luerzersarchive