On Friday night, a crowd of the industry's most familiar faces -- Grace Coddington, Ashley Olsen, Dree Hemingway -- braved the polar vortex to attend a screening of Bruce Weber's most recent ad campaign, once again proving that where the photographer goes, people follow. In this particular instance, Weber went to Detroit, home to burgeoning lifestyle brand Shinola, which manufactures watches, bicycles and a tightly curated selection of leather goods and clothing items, all of which are proudly made in the city.
For its first fashion campaign, Shinola looked to Weber -- arguably one of America's most prolific photogs -- to head to the city and put his spin on what Detroit is, capturing it from his point of view. "Weber has such an optimistic view of the world, and he was really able to capture the optimism and spirit of the city. There are a lot of great things happening there," Shinola's creative director Daniel Caudill told us. Detroit has been in the news lately for its financial struggles, but Caudill insists that the city and its people aren't melancholy. "Detroit is such a rich place -- it's not what you hear on the news, people are prideful," he said.
Weber enlisted all-American model Carolyn Murphy, who also holds the title of Shinola's design director, to come along and star in the campaign alongside some of the city's most vivacious locals. "It's American, it's classic, it's quality versus quantity," Murphy says of the brand, and her enthusiasm for Shinola is matched by her newfound love for its home city. The model had never been to Detroit before her two days on set there, but she immediately felt at home among the locals. "We really felt a connection with the people and their spirit throughout the shoot, each and every one of them was so proud that we were in their city. That's when we realized that we were a part of something greater -- creating a little bit of a movement," Murphy explained. "I can say that I didn't want to leave."
Weber feels the same love for the city, which he's shot once before for an editorial starring Kate Moss. But this time around, it was the locals, scouted by casting director Jennifer Vendetti, who made him want to tell Detroit's story for the Shinola campaign. "Two girls in particular, Asia and Victoria (see video below), set me off on this mission, and made me want to go there and shoot these pictures," said Weber.
Aside from the growing manufacturing, music and art communities, the city of Detroit has a spirit that's undeniable. Weber was able to successfully capture it throughout the Shinola campaign, and it will likely keep him going back for more. "I always like to go to a place where I feel really comfortable photographing, it's like a feeling or a vibe," he told us. "There are certain cities that I've gone to and I've never liked my pictures from them. What I love about Detroit is that I just feel so good walking down the street, and I think, 'I should get a house here.' I want to keep coming back."