The Making of Matagorda
Among all the other things COVID made a mess of this year, it really jacked with our photo shoot schedule. Normally, we try to spread them out a little – shooting four catalogs at once is grueling on everyone, and it’s a lot to ask of our models. So, our plan was to shoot the first couple collections the first week of April. Obviously, that couldn’t happen. Instead, we crammed all four collections into one (really) long shoot in June.
We actually started with the Nashville collection (wait until you read THAT behind the scenes!), and then we got to Matagorda, a collection we shot entirely outdoors at a beautiful and scenic home just outside Seguin. As you might imagine, shooting outdoors, in the country, has its own unique charms and challenges…
It was hot.
By now, y’all probably have a pretty solid understanding of the process, and that we almost always shoot collections in the opposite season. So, yes, we were photographing fall clothes, in the middle of June, in the sweltering South Texas sun. Don’t feel too bad for us – our hosts graciously opened their home to us, and we turned their fabulous “casita” into our own little hair/makeup/wardrobe headquarters for a couple of days, where we were able to seek respite. And of course, we had our enormous 49’ trailer. Well, sort of.
“It’s always something…”
The big ol’ trailer we haul around these days has become an integral member of our photoshoot team. But this time, it decided to act up. When we can’t connect it to a power source, it runs off a generator, which of course, has to be started and refilled and maintained. We lost power – and thus AC – a couple of times, and eventually, we all just stayed in the house or the shade, and the trailer became a glorified clothing hauler. As Hedy put it, “Good lord, a trailer’s worse than a boat – it’s always something!”
Oh yeah… Bugs.
Most of our Wolf Pack seems to be gals who were either raised, currently reside, or have spent significant time in the country. Small towns, family farms, ranches and rodeos. So you get it – we’ve got some critters. Most of us wouldn’t think a thing about them (although even to us, those big ol’ stick bugs and hearty grasshoppers were interesting), but imagine seeing it through the eyes of our little Los Angeles Lozzy. It never even occurred to us that LA doesn’t have cicadas. She wants us to ship her some.
Best to stay alert.
The home where we shot is gorgeous and impeccably maintained, so once you’re inside the gate of it, it’s easy to forget you’re out in the wild. But you are. And you might get a sticker in the cuff of your jeans. Or see deer dart across your path. Or, like Halley, you might walk into a hotwire fence. Just… be aware of your surroundings.
We could – and probably should – dedicate an entire blog post to “Things Said on Set”. Photo shoots have a jargon all their own. Some of it is actual industry terminology, and some of it is, well, just “DDR code”. The one that had us giggling on this shoot was “shy toe”. “Give me a little shy toe.” “I’m sorry, what?” “You know, turn one toe in a little like it’s shy.” Once you see it, it makes perfect sense, but it’s not exactly something you can just throw out and expect to be understood right out of the gate!
Jack of all trades…
By now, y’all have all gotten to know and love our little Jack Matusek. He’s a gem of a human. He’s truly Johnny on the spot, at all times. The runner of the errands, the bringer of the tea, the holder of the reflectors… and a lot of times, the comedic relief. One of the things Jack gets tasked with on photo shoots is “light testing”. Mitchell sets the stage for the shoot while the models are still being made up, and he needs a human of relative model height (so we’re out) to stand in while he adjusts the light filters on the camera. So we enlist Jack. This trip, he decided to have a little fun with it, striking a hilarious pose in every setting. He may not have a future in modeling, but he certainly has a cache of new profile pics.
…Master of destruction.
We’re not sure how, with all the homemade bread and butter he makes, but Jack stays a lean machine. So if we were taking bets on who would blow the bottom out of a chair, our money probably wouldn’t be on him. And yet… he ended up owing our hosts not one, but TWO new patio chairs by the end of the day. (All we can say is, for the sake of self-esteem, we’re just glad it was him and not us!)