The official fashion photographer for the recent Project Green Search green modeling competition, Courtney Dailey shot beautiful portraits of the ten talented finalists. "Working with all of the contestants was simply amazing," she told URTH Guy. "It was wonderful to be in the presence of such forward-thinking, responsible young ladies."
Every contestant had a strong point of view on how we can make changes to our everyday routine to be more socially responsible. What Project Green Search aimed to do is seek out a model who could represent the green movement, with a commercial edge, while being true to her green roots. Any model can wear an organic cotton tunic, but can she explain why the organic cotton is a sustainable textile? What we were seeking was a model with integrity, who could be a cheerleader for green fashion. A fine example of this is model [and TDG Heart of Green Winner] Summer Rayne Oakes. She helps integrate the green lifestyle into mainstream culture. Currently, fashion is so black and white. There's a green fashion world and a mainstream trend world. Someday, the worlds will not just co-exist, but they will be the same. That's what we're all trying to do, make sustainable fashion not only trendy, but make it the norm. Models like PGS (Project Green Search) winner Rachel Avalon will help lead the way.
As a budding green fashion photographer, Courtney Dailey is pushing the envelope of eco-friendly trends. Her work has appeared on Ecorazzi and other green blogs, as well as in ESPN, Marie Claire (also owned by TDG parent Hearst), Indeed Magazine, Ace Magazine, Ambassador Magazine and elsewhere. She contributed principal photography to early issues of the web-only Coco Eco (reviewed here), and owns a studio in the heart of LA's fashion district, Snapdragon Studios at 155 West Washington.
"Being a green photographer means changing the way you shoot, develop and provide products and services to your clientele," says Dailey. "Making small but significant changes in my business makes my business smart and more responsible. I'm currently in the process of greening my new studio." She points out that shooting digital helps her avoid toxic chemicals, as well as work faster. Dailey says she also doesn't give prints to clients, offering only digital files sent via email. "I'm not sending out DVDs that would eventually end up in a landfill. If clients need prints I refer them to a local printer, who prints them once, correctly, the first time. At home we often find ourselves going through test sheets and several pieces of photo paper till we get it just right. Using a professional printer helps reduce waste."
Dailey says she chose her loft-style studio space because it is one block from the LA Purple Line Metrorail and because a large window provides clean white light, "bounced from a light gray building next door. I now shoot 75% of my work with this natural light source," she adds.
In the studio Dailey installed motion sensors that automatically shut the lights off after 10 minutes of stillness. She replaced the small incandescent bulbs on her strobes with compact fluorescent bulbs. Dailey's father, until recently an engineer for Ford, has been working on making her photo lights from super-efficient LEDs and recycled household materials. "I reuse paper backdrops over and over, scuffs or no scuffs, until they're virtually pummeled to death," she adds. When they are finally unusable, she cuts them up to fit in her recycling bin. Dailey also encourages her clients to recycle. "Provide a recycling option and people will use it," she explains.
Recently, Dailey has teamed up with another Midwestern transplant to the City of Angels (Courtney is from Detroit originally, and studied cinema and communications at Michigan's Oakland University). These days Dailey has been working with May Lindstrom, whom she describes as "a fabulous green makeup artist." According to Dailey, Lindstrom uses all organic, vegetarian makeup, "which looks amazing and smells good too!" She adds that by "using natural light, shooting digital and by using green products, we can offer a fully green experience."
Dailey also helped found GreenMUA with Remy C., with the goal of helping professional make-up artists green up their kits. She outlined some of that challenge to Remy for The Green Loop: "Most makeup artists have kits [that] they have spent years building. Asking a MUA [make-up artist] to go green is like telling your child to stop eating candy... If more green cosmetic companies sampled products to MUAs or offered artist discounts to simply get the product into their hands, I think a lot of MUAs would begin to start thinking differently!"
"Going green becomes a part of who you are and the way you do business," concludes Dailey, who has said that eventually she would like to get all her power from solar energy. "It can save your business money, help you get new customers and stay competitive. Currently, there are a handful of green photographers, but eventually we'll all be green."
Courtney Dailey shot model Xixi Yang after May Lindstrom applied "green makeup," in a waste-free shoot.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.