Auberon is a powerhouse. Sequoia, too, is a force of nature who has shot countless portrait series and fashion editorials with all manner of West Coast lovelies: Skingraft, Eskmo, Zoe Jakes and Rachel Brice (for Tawapa/Wild Card/Five and Diamond), Galareh, Kucoon, Beats Antique, Lucent Dossier Vaudeville Circus, El Circo… the list’s about a mile long. In addition to her photography portfolio and video work, Sequoia’s also got a well-established background in fashion design (check out her S&G Clothing line), wardrobe styling, painting, and graphic design.
Recently, she took the time to answer a few questions about her collaboration with Auberon, and to let us know what’s coming next. (Thank you, Sequoia! Always a pleasure.)
Much of the Coilhouse readership is already familiar with your photography, but this may be the first time many of us have (knowingly) watched a video by you. Can you tell us a bit about the differences and parallels between your creative process shooting/editing film and your photography methods?
Sequoia Emmanuelle: I grew up watching music videos, [they're] a huge inspiration to me, and I have always planned on getting more involved with film/video as well as photography. In the last year I have been working on several videos for fashion, music and dance. It feels very natural to the way I see things for photography, but of course it is very different, too. For one thing, everything you shoot needs to be horizontal, so it changes the composition of how you set things up. Your lenses change, and lighting changes. You can’t use strobe lights for video, so you have to set things up quite differently. When it comes to editing, it’s quite involved, because you have to pay attention to all the moving details and make your cuts flow in an interesting and creative way, not to mention syncing up the music. Right now I am focusing on simple ways of creating artistic videos… using less is more for the time being, and I’ll surely get more experimental as I keep working at it.
Where was this video shot, and when? Did you guys have a fun road trip?
This video was shot in Lancaster, California [in] early December, 2011, right after shooting a series of promotional dance photos for Auberon’s new website. The road trip is a beautiful one, but luckily it’s not too far from Los Angeles. It’s amazing, the locations you find only a few hours away.
Auberon is incredible, as always. How do you two know each other, and what brought about this specific collaboration?
Let’s see… I met Auberon maybe six or seven years ago. I used to live in San Francisco and was very involved in the art, fashion, music and dance scene. Auberon is multitalented and at the time I met her, she’d hired me to shoot for her jewelry collection, Va-Shee Metal. However, before I met her, I saw a performance she did at a fashion show in LA for Tiffa Novoa, where she was doing a flamenco dance. I remember thinking she was one of the most beautiful and captivating performers I had ever seen. She mesmerized me! She still does. I just love watching her dance any chance I can get. We’ve developed a creative relationship and friendship over the years, and I also have collaborated with her performance group, El Circo. They performed last year at Lightning in a Bottle and Auberon came out on the stage with a song that totally touched me, and that became the song we used for the opening of our video, “Desert Dance”.
In addition to her own wardrobe, Auberon is wearing breathtaking, one-of-a-kind costumery by the late, great Tiffa Novoa (who Coilhouse featured extensively in Issue 5). Novoa was such a visionary; it’s wonderful to watch her pieces continue to breathe and move (especially during those reverse sequences)! After many years, her work is still having an unmistakable impact on current designs and trends. Would you like to talk a bit about her?
Tiffa was a great inspiration to me and many. I had been a huge fan of her work and wanted to shoot with her for quite some time. Tiffa had one day emailed me about doing a shoot. We were both in Bali at the time, but we never linked up. I was waiting patiently for the opportunity to create with her, but it didn’t happen until after she passed.
I feel deeply honored to be able to capture her work and keep its magic alive through the shoots I’ve done with Auberon and El Circo. It feels really special to be part of her history and art, especially being so close to many of her loved ones. Everything feels more meaningful.
What’s next for you?
What’s next for me is continuing pushing myself as an artist, a photographer, a videographer/editor. Reaching for the stars! I just love to keep pushing myself to get better and keep going bigger with everything I do. I love to keep surrounding myself with creative collaborators to work with and to grow with each other. I’m focusing on publishing a lot of my work right now in magazines, blogs and shooting, shooting, shooting! This year I hope to finally get this coffee table book finished! It’s time!