Tantalum: Thank you for contributing PRISM for the 4th issue of Tantalum Magazine. Can you tell us how the shoot came about?
Avo Yermagyan: PRISM was an impromptu shoot that I creatively directed & styled, which came from a sudden moment of inspiration. I was in the middle of working on another editorial shoot with photographer Jeff Slater, when we decided to shoot this story. As inspiration comes, one must go with it.
Tantalum: Describe PRISM.
Avo Yermagyan: PRISM was inspired by my interest in exploring the many sides that we all have deep inside of us. I believe that we each have different facets, most of which we keep hidden from the world. Prior to exposing these parts of ourselves, we must personally face them. It is by going through life's dark, trying, & often tearful experiences that we are able to emerge more beautifully than we started out. Only when we are transparent with ourselves, are we able to cast a PRISM of light into the world.
Tantalum: Do you usually base your styling on the direction the photographer gives you or on hair or on makeup?
Avo Yermagyan: For me, styling is about the moment. Of course one plans for each shoot, discusses references with the photographer, & has countless ideas in mind prior to shooting. However, once a shoot begins, it has a tendency to take on a life of its own. I feel it is important for everyone working on the shoot to be open to collaboration, free themselves of personal ego, & let the collective creativity flow. At the end of the day there is one common goal, which is to get "the shot".
Tantalum: What where some of the challenges you face when selecting pieces for a shoot?
Avo Yermagyan: The art of styling is in the choices. It is just as much about what I AM NOT styling the model in, as it is about what I AM styling the model in. Contrary to what most people believe, styling is not simply about piling a bunch of jewelry on a model & calling it a day. Styling for me is about trusting your instinct to discern & then having the wisdom to choose with restraint.
Tantalum: How did you get into styling? was it something you always wanted to do or was it a fortunate accident?
Avo Yermagyan: Styling was the obvious next chapter in my creative evolution. I was working in PR for years. I styled shoots, special events, red carpet appearances; art directed photo shoots, look books, advertisement campaigns; & produced press previews fashion shows, launch events. After styling a number of shoots with my friend, photographer David LaChapelle, I was absolutely inspired & have been styling ever since.
Tantalum: Do you have any mentors/muses?
Avo Yermagyan: My muse at the moment is HIH Farah Pahlavi. I am inspired by her style, strength, & beautiful spirit. Her memoir, "AN ENDURING LOVE: My Life with the Shah" moved me beyond words - it was a fascinating book that I could not put down. It showed me that we can always choose dignity, hope, & love above all else.
Tantalum: What do you look for when choosing designers you are going to work with?
Avo Yermagyan: The fashion chosen for each shoot is solely to bring the story of the characters that we are working to create to life in the photographs. I choose designers based on whether or not their pieces are key to articulating the narrative of the story behind the shoot. For me, it is always about the achieving the look, never about the label.
Tantalum: What inspires you?
Avo Yermagyan: Music inspires me - I cannot imagine styling a shoot without music.
Tantalum: How did it feel to see you work in print for the very first time?
Avo Yermagyan: It was fantastic to see my work in print for the first time - believe it or not, I get the same thrill every time I open up a magazine & see my work - the feeling is indescribable.