In a tight corner of the hotel's entrance near a large floor to ceiling window, the group lays out wardrobe looks to help match with PlayHardLookDope's jewelry of choice. Pulling away from the group who are at the moment gearing up and trying on bracelets and necklaces, Ebony notices a small, quaint "guests only" garden and seating area just outside the main entrance.
It was a chilly Thursday afternoon in New York City when PlayHardLookDope's Founder, Jon Nelsen, and Brand Creative, Ebony Mackey arrive at chic Lower East Side's "Public Hotel" with Fashion and Editorial Photographer Stephen J. Mihalchik, who is also a close friend of the NYC based jewelry designer.
The trio makes their way up the popular orange-tinted escalator to the main lobby and coffee bar. Harschin, who stands an impressive 6'6 with an even more impressive beard is talking with RTL journalist, Janina Beck, and videographer, Sascha
Hello's, laughter, hand-shakes, and, hugs dominate the energy in the room while hotel guests and workers glance curiously at the bunch. "We apologize for being late", Ebony announces. A little anxious as the weather has not corporated with the pre-discussed ideas of the jewelry shoot, but the show must go on!
RTL is Germany's largest private television network hosting an array of talk, competition, and, reality shows. Today the network would follow along as PlayHardLookDope decorated Harschin in their popular lifestyle accessories while Stephen J, Mihalchik took close-up shots of the Model, jewelry, and scene.
Scoping out the hotel garden looking for good lighting potential and areas where the product will pop and the model will photograph well are the final steps before the shoot begins. This will work perfectly!, (she thinks to herself). The group makes their way through the large revolving doors as the camera crew begins to play the role of a wallflower and capture every moment.
Janina Beck holds a yellow microphone and wears a blue bubble coat as she narrates the scene happening behind her videographer. Black Canon EOS 5D in hand, Stephen adjusts his lens into focus, listens for creative direction and clicks to capture real-life art! Ebony, (while holding her iPhone recording for Instagram stories) gives creative direction to her friend and photographer all the while holding the next round of jewelry off her arm. Founder and Entrepreneur, Jon steps in and out of view fixing his handmade natural stone bracelets, leather bracelets and statement necklaces making sure they are perfect!
The shoot carries on like any other PHLD shoot with laughter, inside jokes and breaks so that Ebony can upload to the brands popular Instagram in real-time.
Changing looks happens without permission in the hotel's restroom and during this time the camera crew resets and films close up clips of the brand's jewelry.
The Dopified crew heads back outside to find a small audience that has been captured by the pop-up photoshoot right off the sidewalk. RTL seizes this moment to ask on-lookers their thoughts on what's happening on the misty New York City afternoon.
Ebony is ready for a change of scenery and in typical New York fashion the crew makes their way by foot to a nearby semi-secret alleyway. Covered in propaganda stickers, mural art and sentimental handwritten carvings with messages that read, live, laugh, love the group settles for the second and final location for the shoot.
Changing lenses for a more grainy, film look and feel, Stephen announces he needs five minutes to adjust and set up for lighting. Jon, feeling pleased with himself that everyone loves the location he chooses from memory and starts changing Harschin's jewelry to fit the vibe. The two will be photographed together and separately for this scene.
The alleyway acts as an entrance to a boutique hotel and popular neighborhood restaurant that brings a small amount of foot traffic while the shoot is in motion. Final shots include German Model, Harschin and, PlayHardLookDope's Brand Founder, Jon posing side-by-side, across from each other inside two doorways and leaning again a surprisingly unmarked wall.
RTL films it's last few clips to be seen by the network's loyal fan base and interviews the PlayHardLookDope team and professional photographer Stephen J. Mihalchik about their relationship to Harshcin and the vibe on set.
All photos shot by Stephen J. Mihalchik
Check out the full video here!