Conde Nast Traveler

Mark Connolly: Worst Photo Shoot Ever

They don't look miserable. Do they? 
Photo: Sheila Metzner / Conde Nast Traveler 

You all met Style Director Mark Connolly when he was in Milan and Paris for fashion, fashion, fashion. The Daily Traveler felt like you needed a proper introduction, so we cornered Mark for a Q & A session right before he left for his next photo shoot in India. In today's follow-up to that interview, Mark tells us the story of his worst photo shoot. Ever.

"Chile started off badly. I knew it was going to be a nightmare trip. Our flight to Miami was delayed--fortunately the photographer and I were on the pointy end of the plane, and the gate to Santiago was just three gates down from the gate we landed at--but they were not going to let us on the plane, let alone the three assistants running behind with tons of equipment. The photographer had to sit down and block the doors being closed, even though you could see everybody running down the corridor toward the plane. We just managed to get on, very late. Of course no baggage arrived in Chile.

"So we arrived and we had a long drive during the middle of the night to get to our final destination, which is San Pedro de Atacama. We all had to go shopping in a Chilean mall at 8 o'clock at night, 28 hours later, for survival clothing. Then we get to the hotel, and it's a tiled affair--tiles on the walls, tiles on the floors--and it smells like a public toilet. It looks like a public toilet. So I vow that we are not going to spend more than one night in this horrendous place. The producer has to find another hotel for nine people for the next day, which he duly manages to do. We all move into this tiny hotel in the middle of town.

"The town is all terra-cotta earth; there isn't one paved road. It's very bohemian; it's quite cool, actually. We go for dinner that night, we've been scouting for locations during the day, everybody's really tired, we get to bed kind of late-ish, and we are woken by the sound of an oompah band that sounds like it's next to your bed--a big brass band, tubas, you name it, people wailing, explosions&"

Continue reading "Mark Connolly: Worst Photo Shoot Ever" »


Meet Mark Connolly: CNT Style Director

Mark zip-lining in Nicaragua.
See, he doesn't just do Chanel.

You all met Style Director Mark Connolly when he was in Milan and Paris for fashion, fashion, fashion. The Daily Traveler feels like you need a proper introduction, so we cornered Mark for a Q & A session right before he left for his next photo shoot in India.

How many shoots are you doing per year now?

About five, I think. 

How much are your shoots ideas for what people can actually wear and how much are they fantasies?

If you look at Nicaragua (see Condé Nast Traveler's May 2009 issue), that's very wearable. That's easy breezy, what you could wear if you wanted to dress chicly on vacation. But there's no set clear answer to that question. You can look at the stories as fantasy, you can shop them, or a combination of both. I'd love it if people bought clothes off the pages, but I just want them to enjoy it. I mean, I want to give a sense of experience--it's a narrative telling a story via clothes with the models almost like actresses. The clothes give them a character, and that helps you have a multi-layered experience of the place. (God, that was good!)

So are things in place for the next shoot in India?

Never say never. You just never know; everything can seem to be in place and everything can fall by the wayside in 24 hours. Just right now we learned there were major problems with our female model for India and that we might lose her, but I'm leaving tomorrow. 

Tiffany Gifford, associate style editor, told us about the problems on the Broome, Australia, shoot. Has there ever been a smooth shoot?

Yes, there has. The less places you go, generally, the smoother the shoot. I used to travel hours to go get a shot. Well, five years down the line I'm like, "You know what? I ain't doing that again." I started doing resort shoots the last two or three years, where you don't move because it's about the resort, and that's wonderful. I'd always thought no pain no gain, so I'd travel far and wide to get "the shot," climbing up a mountain for three hours to discover the most holy temple that your Buddhist guide has taken you to see, and we get there and go, "Nah, don't like it, it's not right." Three hours back down.

Continue reading "Meet Mark Connolly: CNT Style Director" »

About this blog
The editors at Conde Nast Traveler answer questions and share travel secrets, tips, and dispatches

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