Hey everyone! I'm Grant, an LA based writer/artist and long time friend of GSS. Welcome to the start of a new blog series for the website that will be published in addition to the Love Letter every week. Get Some Sleep is so important to me, and I'm excited to share the brand's past, present, and future evolution with all of you here. We'll be going through the daily minutia and interesting projects that happen every day in the operation of the brand.
A unique sort of project has graced us in the past few weeks, taking shape in a series of photoshoots for GQ magazine. For Daniel, I know this is a testament to how far the brand has come. I view it too as a tremendous accomplishment and further step of industry legitimacy for GSS. The brand is going to be featured in 3 issues of British GQ, the first of which was released in October. We’ve already completed the first two shoots, with plans of the third in the works. Despite the importance of this project, I think something that meshes well with all of our work styles is a solid lack of planning.
That’s maybe something to be proud of, maybe not- but for each shoot we’ve had exactly a day to do it, and are coming up with the ideas on the fly. Our photographer and friend Marlon is a core component of these shoots. I personally know almost nothing about photography, so watching him meter shots and run around cameras in tow is a special kind of fantastic. During this latest shoot, I threw on an orange celestial and paraded around the warehouse parking lot until we filled a roll of film. It was damn hot outside and we tried our best to scrap together a wide variety of options to go with for the final photo. Here's Jossue grabbing everyone waters:
While Dylan drove off to rush develop the film, we hit another round of digital photos in order to have some backups. I’ve never modeled anything ‘professional’ in my life. Everything has always been for friends who inevitably run their own brands. I have no idea what the best pose is or where I’m supposed to hold my hands- hell I’m not even sure if I do that great of a job. I think its extremely fun to just try though. That’s all running a brand or being part of this independent design community has ever been at its core- just having fun and trying things to see what works.
When I started my first brand 5 years ago I didn’t have any sort of plan or major goal in mind, I just wanted to make some shirts. I think all of us (the community of small brands defined loosely) hold this ethos still to a large degree when pushing ourselves forward artistically or on any major project. It remains of paramount importance to keep trying weird little ideas and having fun. Maybe Daniel agrees with me, maybe not, but having friends model for a major shoot is kind of the essence of what it meant to start a brand 5 years ago. You make the shirt or the hoodie, ask your friend to come over and model it, and throw up the pictures online and see what happens. This method is tried and true, and there’s no reason I see it failing anytime soon.
I want to provide a little insight and closer communication with each member of the GSS family overtime. Today I’m going to start with a quick interview with Marlon, the photographer of this shoot. Marlon is a close friend and amazing artist. As someone who knows very little about photography, I’d describe his style as dreamy and warm- a perfect fit for these shoots. What follows is a short interview with Marlon:
How did you get introduced to GSS and how long have you been following the brand?
“It was my friend… he linked me to the website and told me there was a sale or something going on. A month later he told me there was a giveaway and said join it. I entered the giveaway, I didn’t expect to win. They picked the winner but the dude didnt like or share the post… I ended up getting picked.”
What was it for?
“The denim jacket, dog. They hand delivered that shit.”
Can you tell us a bit about your journey as a photographer and some of your personal highlights in your work so far?
“That’s hard. I picked up a camera around 19 years old. That’s gonna show my age! After being inspired from all the wallpapers on wallpapers general on 4chan I was like: I wanna create shit like that. I guess for highlights, filming a movie that made it into the Metro Manilla Film Festival and won an award. That’s gotta be it”
Do you have any favorite equipment or techniques that you used for this GQ shoot, which contributed to the final result?
“It’s the Mamiya, I love that camera. I wish I took it on my Nikon though. It’s a Mamiya 645. Regular 80mm lens.”
What's the most memorable moment or experience you've had with the brand as both a photographer and a friend?
“The most memorable was shooting the popup last year, with Dethbeach. It was my first time hanging out with everyone like Dylan and Daniel. I got to meet everyone else that really loved the brand.”
How do you see your photography evolving in the future, and do you have any dream projects in mind?
“My dream project right now is with a model looking directly back at the camera… from lots of different places. Just a simple shot, but from lots of different places. Like a skyscraper window, a train, always looking back. I’m gonna stitch it all together into a video.”
Like of a bunch of stills?
“Exactly. For the future I wouldn’t mind shooting for other brands.”
Plans for the next GQ shoot? Walk me through your thoughts.
“Not using expired film like last time. I want to hit a shoot where the moon is huge— a super moon. With the model looking up, maybe a hoodie with ‘I hope I don’t feel like this forever.’ It has to be a super moon, its coming up in a few weeks. I’m going to use my Nikon FM2. I think it’s an FM2- I don’t remember all my cameras anymore. Last time I shot with portra… 800?”
Working on any creative project is a slow process of improving incrementally, and this GQ project is no different. Each shoot I think we’ve all realized what does and doesn’t work, and are starting to understand what’s going to make next time better. Even after two, we’ve established a decent workflow, and editing process to get a same day turnaround. The more planning we add into the melange- and greater degree of creativity, the higher quality shoots we’re going to be able to produce. One advantage of working with a close team of people like this is that the process can be updated and streamlined as the need arises, something that breaking a project up can destroy.
I’m excited to share the last of the three shoots with you all on here soon, and appreciate you making it with me to the end of this post. I wanted to say a sincere thank you for submitting all the poems last week, and hope you enjoyed reading the ones from the winners on this week’s Love Letter.
This week, in the spirit of improvement, I’d love to read suggestions for improving the blog. If you have any ideas, please share them below in the comments and let me know if there’s anything you’d like to hear about regarding the brand. We’ll have some larger contests soon and will absolutely take poetry submissions again at some point. Thanks so much everyone, I’ll see you next week!