Brittney Lee Hamilton as Disney Princess Ariel (The Little Mermaid)
Sapphire Nova as Disney Princess Belle
Lisa Scrivanich as Disney Princess Cinderella
Refinery29 photo editor Amanda Gorence had first encountered my work a few years ago. A couple of my projects, including Black Girl and Happy Valley, have been featured on the popular photography blog Feature Shoot. Amanda worked there at the time and especially loved the Black Girl project. Then last year sometime, Amanda started following me on Instagram. A few weeks later, she asked me to come in to the office of Refinery29 (where she had recently been hired) for a meeting, which I happily did. We hit it off, but I honestly didn’t think anything would come of it.
Fast forward to January 2016. I send out a New Year’s newsletter and Amanda replies asking me if I’d be interested in shooting a feature for the online women’s publication. It was photographing portraits of women who work as professional Disney princess impersonators, and it was right up my alley. I had actually done a project similar to this called Modern Medieval, which Amanda had also seen and is one of the reasons she thought of me for this project.
I photographed 5 princesses in total: Ariel (Brittney Lee Hamilton), Cinderella (Lisa Scrivanich), Belle (Sapphire Nova), Jasmine (Omaris Contreras), and Princess Tiana (Epiphany Elease). The concept behind the portraits was simple really: juxtaposing the fantasy of being a Disney princess against the reality of the women’s everyday lives and surroundings. The princesses are photographed against suburban and urban backdrops in New Jersey and New York City. Amanda and I felt we’d get the strongest imagery using a medium format camera shooting on film, which is how I shot the other projects Amanda loved so much. So I used a Mamiya RZ67 with mainly available light and am very happy with the resulting portraits.