Q + A with the creators of new photography exhibit ‘Playlist’

This is not a joke. What happens when a photographer, a hair stylist and a makeup artist get together? An amazing fashion photography exhibit! That’s exactly what happened when Willyum Baulkey, Anthony Perez, and Danelle French collaborated on their second annual project. PATTERN recently sat down with them to discuss their new exhibit, called Playlist, which kicks off this upcoming First Friday, August 4th.

Allie Coppedge: How did you all meet?

Danelle French: Anthony and I first worked together on a large photoshoot. There were four photographers, myself, Anthony, one other makeup artist and eight models. Over time we started getting booked for the same gigs. People began to like the work we did together and started specifically booking us as a team.

Willyum Baulkey: Fast forward to me. I moved here about three and a half years ago from Fort Wayne. 

Anthony Perez: It all happened in a relatively short span of time – starting to work with Danelle and getting to know Willyum.

WB: I had seen their work before so I was familiar with its quality. It was just a matter of time. After our first shoot together, we just kept going!

DF: In fact, our first shoot was with Brooke and it was for PATTERN.

WB: That’s right, it was the sports inspired shoot called All The Right Moves.

AC: When did you all decide to start collaborating together on a larger scale?

WB: We build on each shoot we do together. Each project keeps getting bigger and bolder.

DF: We’re trying to top ourselves!

WB: We were actually working on another photoshoot when the idea for our last show, Celestial Bodies, was born. Then the minute that Celestial Bodies closed Danelle asked ‘what’s next?’

DF: I remember when you brought up the idea of doing Celestial Bodies, Anthony and I immediately ran off into a corner and forgot everything else that was happening.

AP: It sparked such an interest and a passion we have towards astrology and art.

WB: We all feed off of each other’s ideas.

AP: There’s a good energy.

AC: The name of this exhibit is ‘Playlist.’ Is music the theme?

WB: Yes. It’s something we all gravitated toward. Music influences everyone.

AC: Was it easy coming up with that concept?

DF: With this one we wanted to do 12 photos again. We picked 12 song titles to create an image about each title. The criteria being it had to be a title that was easily recognized. Whether it be a very classic or a contemporary song. There was some arguing over song titles.

WB: Trying to narrow it down took some time because of the plethora of music to choose from. 

DF: We each have artists we’re passionate about that influenced the decision some. But even if there’s an artist you love, the song title may not speak to you. Or the other way around.

WB: The one interesting thing about the three of us is that our music taste is completely different. We each have our own genre.

AC: What would you say each of your genre’s are?

DF: I love rock n’ roll. Classic rock. Rolling Stones, Prince, etc.

WB: I’m pop. I listen to what a teenage girl would probably listen to.

AP: And my taste is really broad. I like the classics, contemporary, and then some random stuff like EDM.

WB: What you’ll get with ‘Playlist’ ranges from Bowie to Beyonce. Something for everyone.

AC: What are some of the songs that didn’t make it into the exhibit that you really wish would have?

DF: I really wanted ‘Ring of Fire’ by Johnny Cash. But that got thrown out.

WB: Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ was talked about too. Some of the song titles led to more of a hair theme or makeup theme. So that was also part of the criteria. How can we all show our strengths in each of these pictures.

AC: How long did it take from concept to creation to make this exhibit happen?

WB: Eight months?

DF: Probably even more than that because we started conceptualizing end of last year.

WB: We sat down for the first time in January. Planned every photoshoot out in advance. There were six days with two shoots per day.

AP: We had this thing heavily organized from the beginning.

WB: Each shoot was a completely separate concept too.

What you’ll get with ‘Playlist’ is from Bowie to Beyonce. Something for everyone.

AC: This is your second show now. How is it different or better than your first?

AP: We definitely learned some things about hosting a show, getting to know each other even better.

DF: Buying enough beer is key…

WB: You’ve got to keep people well liquored.

DF: This one is really going to be over the top. People are going to be surprised. It’s not going to be your typical art gallery show. It’s not your typical first friday show either. We’re going to have a red carpet, photographer, music, and videography.

AP: We’re also going to have merchandise. The images will be on display. This year we just learned from last year what we could improve on, and pushed it to that level.

WB: It’s bigger, bolder, and louder. Pun intended.

AC: What was the biggest challenge of putting this together?

DF: The marketing and getting it out there is always tough. You build this thing and hope people come. Actually doing the shoots isn’t hard, that’s fun.

DF: I will say finding the models. Getting the right one for each shoot and that we agree on.

AP: I’m down to do whatever I can, but Willyum and Danelle definitely have that eye to find the right models.

WB: To build off of what she said, I know my biggest hurdle is always with logistics of organizing. Finding a time when everyone is available is always difficult. Especially when you’re working with 7 models.

AP: I couldn’t be more thankful that the team I work with are able to do these things. Danelle has her strength in marketing. Willyum is good at the organizing and communication. The biggest challenge for me was building the frames for the images. It’s something I dedicated a lot of time to so I don’t complain about it at all. I’m glad I was able to do something that gave me another creative role. For this shoe especially. I love the challenge of creating content, I’m driven by that. It’s definitely my strong point.

WB: There’s things in the show that have stressed us all creatively. We all went outside of our own box. We’ve done more than I thought we could. Going into it, we thought ‘oh, we’re going to do these fun pictures’ but we really did push ourselves.

AC: Tell me about your favorite piece in the upcoming show?

WB: One of the songs we used as inspiration was by Madonna. I have a huge love for her, so I put a lot of myself into that one. It will always hold a special place in my heart. Then there’s ones with artists like Blondie that I wasn’t a super fan of. Then going forward, I completely love how it turned out.

DF: There’s different pieces I love for different reasons. There’s a couple of them where I really love the makeup. ‘Man in the Mirror’ I didn’t do much with the makeup, but that image is so stunning. I know we made that but I want it hanging in my house.

WB: That one was challenging for me to shoot. I pushed myself out of my box. We were using multiple mirrors and actually have two different versions of that shot. There’s the final image that was framed for the show and the other was made into a concert poster as part of the merchandise. There’s multiple images of each of the song titles.

DF: There’s the framed, final photos and then different images for the merchandise. We have posters, t-shirts, calendars, and prints. The video that we’re showing will also have shots in there that didn’t make the show.

AP: All in all the content is much grander this time. That was one thing we emphasized. Getting more content for people to view. The last show was great, but this one we wanted to push that.

WB: When we did ‘Celestial Bodies’ it was one image was the print and one on the calendar. Even though they were great, the concept of music led us to question why we would limit ourselves to one picture. We have all of these images that can be used for different things.

AC: What do you hope for people to take away from the show?

WB: We want to showcase our work, our talents, and what we’ve been doing for the past few months. We also want to show a different kind of exhibit. This is very fashion influenced. We want to show that fashion photography is art. We want people to come to appreciate that.

AP: Images create a little flutter. You feel something when you look at them. It’s in actual physical form. Mingling with people helps you not forget it. It’s so much more tangible than what the digital is.

DF: There will be great music. Come dance and look at art. It’s a great mix of fashion, art, music, fashion, photography, beauty.

The Playlist exhibit will take place August 4th from 7-10 at the French Pharmacie.

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