Metro Magazine

March Issue // Metro Magazine // Men's Fashion

The March Issue of Metro Magazine is FINALLY on news stands and I've been super excited to see the final product of a fashion piece I photographed for the magazine a couple of months ago! For this spread, we collaborated with an illustrator to bring in a little artistic flare to the project, which is the first time I have ever done this! It was so hard to hand over images, not knowing what they would turn out like! Our goal was to create a fashion editorial that showed great style, yet was light hearted and a TON of fun! Think well-dressed-men-being-boys. Lets face it, every single guy I have ever met has a boyhood dream of playing with guns! Shooting this spread was so much fun! Our models really got an incredible workout that day and our entire crew was phenomenal to work with! Make sure to pick up an issue to see this fun-ness on the glossy pages!


Photographer: Eliesa Johnson

Styling: Erick DeLeon

Hair/Makeup: Fatima Olive

Talent: Thomas Sellwood, Wehmann Models & Talent and Orlando, Vision Management Group

Post Production: Liz Hardt

Assistants: Brandon Werth, Louisa Podlich



Behind the Scenes // The March Issue!

Last week I photographed a super-cool fashion shoot for the March issue of Metro Magazine! The concept is SO much fun, I can't wait for you all to see the final product this spring!

We shot a Orbit Studios, which is an oh-so-lovely studio space! I fell in love with the giant sweep there and just HAD to use it for this shoot!

Special thanks to Louisa for taking these behind-the-scene photos from our day! If you want to see more, head on over to Fashion Editor, Mary O'Regan's blog!

As always, I couldn't have pulled off this magic if it wasn't for the help of one AMAZING crew:

Styling // Erick DeLeon of Modern Day Dapper

Makeup // Fatima Olive

Talent // Tom Sellwood, Wehmann & Orlando, Vision

Assistants // Louisa Podlich, Brandon Werth, Collin Hughes

Publication // Metro Magazine

Location // Orbit Studios

And we couldn't help but have a little fun on the side....

2010 Keeper Awards // Metro Magazine // On News Stands NOW!

The latest issue of Metro Magazine is fresh on the news stands and I am SUPER excited about this issue!

This month's issue includes the 2010 Keeper Awards, which is an award given out by Metro to 7 amazing artists in our city! I've photographed this article for the past 3 years and we have always done in-studio portraits for this. When I was invited to shoot it again, I wanted to switch it up! Sometimes I think that we are bombarded by fancy, over produced shoots, whenever we look in a magazine. I wanted to give the readers a break from all of that and offer them some amazing, honest imagery! All of these portraits were photographed on location and using the existing natural light that we had! I am beyond excited to share this with all of you, because I am super proud of this year's spread! I also wanted to give the readers a stronger sense of exactly who these people are!

Make sure to pick up your copy, which also features some yummy breakfast on the cover (breakfast is my personal favorite food!) Check out all of the amazing artists who are the current Keepers of Minneapolis!

Congratulations to all of the wonderful people who I met while shooting this! You made this an AMAZING feature!

AdFed Award Winner!!

Well, I have some exciting news!

For the first time ever, I entered the AdFed Awards - and I WON!!!

AdFed MN is a non-profit professional trade association serving the local advertising community including agencies, advertisers, suppliers and students. Each year, they host a big awards show, that is basically the Academy Awards of the local ad world! Advertisers, Agencies, Designers, and Photographers from all around submit work in several different categories. These categories  range from everything from Guerrilla Marketing Campaigns to Billboard ads!

I entered in two of the Photography categories this year and here is how I placed:

Photography - Self Promotion - Campaign

Title: The Modern Day Man

Award: SILVER!!!

Photography - Editorial - Campaign

Title: Fine Lines

Award: Merit

I am BEYOND thrilled that The Modern Day Man shoot took the Silver honor!! This was a test shoot for my portfolio and to be honest - I didn't expect to place at all! I was more entering this competition for the experience and exposure to just be critiqued and judged, so I am SO excited about actually winning! I also love that this was something that I dreamed up and worked with an amazing team to create - and that it is good enough to be award winning! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make the awards show, so I'm don't fully understand what this winning thing means, but I do know that my work gets published in a book that is distributed among the Advertising community!

I've posted images from both shoots below - enjoy!

The Fine Lines Shoot for Metro Magazine also received a Merit award in the Editorial Campaign Category!

The Grand Finale // Self Styled!

For the past 2 years, I have photographed many people around this city for Metro Magazine's Self Styled article! I have had SO much fun with this particular spread and it has been a staple for the magazine since it's start! The time has come to retire Self Styled and move onto bigger and better things. With this, I bid adieu to this spread and present you with the final Self Styled portrait!

NAHA Awards // Recap!

This past weekend was one of the proudest moment in my career thus far! I traveled to Las Vegas for the 2010 NAHA Awards! For those of you who don't know, this is basically the Grammy's of hair, which I a shoot I did for Metro Magazine was nominated for the Editorial Hairstylist of the Year!

It's very hard to explain this award and I, myself, didn't realize how big of a deal it was to be nominated. Hundreds of thousands of hairstylists submit images to NAHA each year and only the best of the best are nominated! And when I say the best of the best, I mean the MOST fabulous, hardworking, innovative and talented stylists are in this group. During the awards ceremony, the founder of Aveda was giving a speech and he said this, "You can have the greatest hair in the world, but without great makeup, a great stylist, model and photographer, the world will not understand the utter talent of your work." I found this to be amazingly true, because in the world of fashion, you are only as good as the talent you are working with. I've said it once and I will say it again, COLLABORATION in this industry is key to produce an amazing shoot. It is imperative to set a big standard and only work with great people, or your work might not reach the level you want it to.

When this shoot was being dreamed up, I tried for YEARS to get a magazine to pick it up and let me shoot something BIG! Why didn't I just do it as a test shoot on my own? 1) I wanted it published for everyone to see 2) I wanted to spread the love of fashion to Minnesota and the Midwest 3) I wanted to get paid for it 4) I wanted to be able to work with the BEST in the industry and by having a magazine behind me, I knew my chances were much greater! Grant Whittaker did an AMAZING job with the styling. He is a person that tops my list of people I wanted to work with, so I was ecstatic when he signed on! I knew that we would have some fabulous choices of attire and when he walked on set with over $150,000 worth of clothes, I knew this was going to be GREAT! Faatemah built all of the hair and wigs for the shoot and I was amazed at her talent on the day of the shoot. I mean, this girl can do HAIR! She not only understands what quality is, but she is all about pushing the limits and being innovative with the hair she creates. I was taking a HUGE risk with this shoot. Minneapolis had never seen an editorial spread like this, so people were either going to love it or hate it...

Let me tell you, taking this risk was the best thing I ever did. When it all comes down to it, this idea I dreamed up, this goal I had set for myself, these people I worked with, this magazine I convinced to support me, it ALL came together. As I was sitting there in the VIP section of the NAHA Awards and my images were flashing up on the big screen, I looked around at the PURE talent that I was surrounded by. I was a part of this. I was with ALL of these amazing, driven and talented people. I had pushed for an idea, so WE...the entire team...created something that was THIS BIG. I have never been more proud in my entire career!!

The winner in our category went to a stylist named Steve Elias, who is an amazing dude! Of course, it always sucks a wee tad to go all of that way and not take home the big prize, but absolutely none of that mattered or matters to me. I am so, so proud of everything this shoot has accomplished and all of the recognition it has received. It's opened my eyes to an entirely new world of fashion and reminded me not to settle for anything less than greatness.

Below are some images from the 2010 NAHA Awards! Faatemah and her crew opened the night with a runway show, followed by a few people you might just recognize...

North American Hairstyling Awards: NOMINATION!!!!!!!!

Ohmygosh, ohmygosh, ohmygosh, ohmyGOD! Last night, while hosting a BBQ for some awesome photographers, I received a call from the OH-so-fabulous Faatemah. I knew when I saw her calling that this was going to be good news, but I had NO idea how good!

Big Risk = ENORMOUS Awards!!

This past year, I really, REALLY, wanted to do a high-fashion shoot for Minneapolis and finally convinced the crew at Metro Magazine that I could pull this off. They believed in my and my mad skillz, which was awesome, but I also felt like I had a lot to prove with this opportunity. When I sat down with the editors and art directors, we made it clear that we only wanted to work with the best of the best. Faatemah was our first and only option for hair, but this girl was BLOWING UP, so we didn't quite know if she had time for our shoot. I was prepared to make it worth her time and she came to us and said she would love to collaborate on this shoot, but it must be good enough to enter and win the North American Hair Styling Awards (NAHA).

What is NAHA?

The North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA) is the most prestigious photographic beauty competition in North America, celebrating the artistry and skill of the professional salon industry. Each year, individuals are recognized in 13 categories of excellence during a star-studded awards ceremony. NAHA is part of PBA Beauty Week, North America's largest, most inclusive beauty event, offering unlimited networking, education, and professional growth opportunities to all sectors of the beauty industry. PBA Beauty Week is produced by the Professional Beauty Association and is held in cooperation with Cosmoprof North America.

The judges take into consideration the following:

Concept or overall creative approach

Art direction and composition

Demonstration of skill in the execution of style, make-up and appropriate wardrobe

Harmony between photographer's execution and stylist's creativity

Appropriateness of image for concept

Technical ability corresponding to category entered

Continuity of all images within the entry

Appropriate use of lighting highlighting details

It's the Grammy's of Hair.


This is SO cool, for so many reasons, but I think the coolest of them all is that it is a true testament to the level of professionalism and talent from both the hair stylist and photographer. The hair has to be rockin', and the photography has to rock even more to effectively show the full potential of the hair. It's a unique marriage between artists that has to be dead on to win...and we did it!!

I can't even tell you guys how HUGH and AWESOME this is! Out of HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of entry's, we are at the TOP and that is one, amazing, feeling!!!

You can check out all of the Nominees in 13 different categories here and NAHA will announce an official winner of each category in July!

Special Thank-You to Faatemah - for being so awesome and pushing us to enter this! and the Staff at Metro for letting me live out this crazy dream that has CLEARLY been a great success on so many levels!

You can see Behind The Scene images from The Fine Lines shoot HERE!

The Final Layout: Fine Lines

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In the words of Faatemah, "Get ready girl, your world is about to change..."

Photogen Inc Featured: To Each Their Own Blog!

"We would  just love to feature you, your work in the MPLS fashionindustry, hear more about your style and inspirations..and just feature the talent that is Eliesa!!!!"

These are the words that came along in an e-mail a few months ago and of course I was more than happy to meet the lovely Kate and Molly of To Each Their Own.  This is a lovely fashion blog, focusing on fashion in the Midwest! Apparently these two sisters fell in LOVE with the November issue of Metro and they flew in from Chicago and Arizona to meet with me!

I'm very honored and humbled to be featured on not only photography, but my outlook on the Minneapolis fashion scene as well! What a treat!

I'm super happy with how the article turned out - CHECK IT OUT HERE!


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Special THANKS to Kate and Molly for a fabulous afternoon and great conversation!

Here's to Fashion!