Behind the Scenes of W Magazine’s September Issue: On Set with Boo George

It’s late June and the photographer who got his start photographing gypsies camping in the mountains of his native rural Ireland—and who recently brought home first prize in the W Magazine and International Center of Photography (ICP) initiative The Shot—stands in the wetlands of Marine Park, Brooklyn on an esteemed September issue cover-story photo shoot with a crew of 20. But for Boo George, it’s just another day.

Having photographed diamond miners in Zambia while braving the Congo border, Brad Pitt in the desert of Namibia, and looked down from an open helicopter to capture Victoria Falls, today George finds himself on a nature preserve once home to hunting and fishing grounds for Native Americans—transformed by high fashion faces and their industry go-to glam teams. And on the occasion of this photo shoot, which will produce limited-edition prints exclusively for sale on Artsy, we, too, found ourselves in attendance on this hot summer day.

We discovered George seated on an apple box framed with wheat-like grass, peering through his lens at two of the four models whom he directed with his affectionately raspy voice and Irish charm. With their waist-length hair woven into pairs of braids, the models were watched with vigilance by hairstylists armed with comb and spray, not unlike the makeup artists awaiting last-minute touch-ups—likely needed after we witnessed the production crew throw sand mid-air into the frame in a dramatic addition to a shot. Surrounding George, photo assistants hovered with hand-held reflectors while other crew members worked on preparing additional sets, from rocking chairs to a teepee-like tent to a standing wooden barn door facade. Beneath the shade of a tent, photo assistants wrangled with equipment and dumped image files as producers and W magazine staff held court, and back at base camp, the stylists manned a dream-closet filled with Prada, Hermès, Céline, and Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci (among 30 equally coveted designers). Just around lunchtime and with the sun still high in the sky, we left Marine Park as the models retired to their trailers and the crew took a break to eat—including Boo with a specially ordered hamburger and fries.

Browse the first-ever collection of limited-edition prints by Boo George: Visit sale.

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