Bil Zelman On His Rewarding Personal Project, “Fedora”
June 15, 2017
Bil Zelman says the idea for his photo essay “Fedora”—a series of images depicting distinguished-looking men in fedoras—started as a collaboration with an agency, but when the agency backed out last minute, he decided to move forward with the project on his own.
“I scoured Instagram for male fashion influencers with the look and sensibilities I was after—subjects who I knew could dress well and already owned fedoras,” Zelman says. “I also consulted with my good friend Josette Lata, a top freelance Art Buyer who does a lot of fashion work to keep me on target and bounce ideas off of.”
To complete the project, California-based Zelman traveled to New York City. He looked for a location that offered a timeless, “old school New York” feel with cobblestones, wooden windows, steaming vents and the like.
The series depicts four different men and was shot either at dusk or dawn. “I had no real goal other than to react to the mood of my subject and create something beautiful together, which we were both free to do given that it was a personal project and not a commercial application.”
Zelman shot the series using a Canon 1DX and a 50mm f/1.2 lens. He opted to keep the series personal and didn’t include any additional crew or makeup team. “I love to collaborate and I do that all the time in my commercial work,” he says. “But it can be so rewarding to find something yourself.”
See more of Zelman’s work at his PhotoServe portfolio.