A year ago today I was in California preparing for a fashion shoot with Elizabeth Messina for The Knot magazine. I almost said no when she called me and asked me to be part of this experience. With less than 10 days to go before the shoot, I knew I would not have time to pre-oder flowers, meaning I would be at the mercy of whatever the LA flower market happened to have. Saying that I was intimidated would be an understatement. I was worried I would screw up this opportunity with Messina, and honestly, I was downright terrified to navigate the streets of LA- not to mention the aisles of the nation’s largest flower market. Luckily, I have a loving and supportive wife who believes in me and encouraged me to go outside of my comfort zone and take a risk. She didn’t think my concerns were really that big of a deal, and so with her vote of confidence I bought my ticket and headed to LA.
I got to the LA flower market at 3:00 in the morning. I had visions of the place being packed with eager florists competing for the best product. Yeah… about that… I was the only one there. I should have slept longer like all the other floral designers who knew better. Not only was I regretting my decision to wake up so early, I quickly started having second thoughts about my decision to come down to California at all, when I looked across the spanning rows of flowers and only saw orange carnations. It was 2 days before Halloween and it appeared the only product available were flowers I would not even use at my worst enemy’s funeral. (I don’t really have any enemies just for the record). I just kept hearing Messina’s voice in my head… “Make it look like spring!!” Yeah right, Elizabeth. Not going to happen.
After an hour of shopping and finding nothing, I started to panic. I also started to conjure up what ecxuses I could say to Messina if I just didn’t show up at the shoot the next morning… “oh that shoot was TODAY?… Oh no! I thought it was tomorrow!!” I decided that likely wouldn’t work. Other ideas that came to mind like being in a car accident or saying my plane crashed seemed like unbelievable excuses as well. Dramatic you say? Part of a designers job description. I blame it on the early morning and my lack of sleep, but I did start to go a little crazy.
Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw a frilly yellow center that looked like it would belong to a tree peony. I nearly ran to it. Ok. I did run. But I am glad I did, because that frilly tree peony wasn’t alone. There was also ranunculus… black eyed anemones… scabiosa… lambs ear… dusty miller… artichokes… herbs. There was everything I had hoped to find and more. I nearly purchased that entire section of the market, and regained my confidence that I could pull off the shoot the next day.
These photo shoots always look so dreamy, peaceful and magical. If only people knew what really happens behind the scenes and what goes into making a shoot like this happen. Despite the unfamiliarity of LA and the obstacles that made me want to fly home to Seattle, I am so thankful for this opportunity, was honored to be part of it, and love looking back on the photos.
photography credit: Elizabeth Messina
props: Found Rentals