2 minute read

Kara Mercer’s Fashion Challenge

Pauline Wierzgala’s moody and connection-driven fashion scene is as fateful as it is gorgeous

“I met my model, Tea-Monet, less than an hour before this photo was made. We connected through her roommate, Alyssa, who is also a model. Alyssa and I had talked, and were very excited to collaborate, but on the weekend I planned this session, she was unavailable. Tea-Monet stepped in,” Pauline explains, outlining the fortuitous circumstances behind this compelling fashion scene.

It didn’t take long for photographer and subject to discover they share more than a vocation in common. “Tea-Monet and I quickly learned each other’s histories. We bonded immediately. Both of us had just drastically changed our lives, so that we could pursue our passions; I had just quit my 9-5 and she moved to New Jersey from out of state.

“We planned a few looks using pieces I’d wanted to photograph from my closet and thought would go well,” Pauline explains about the session’s pivotal looks. “As soon as Tea-Monet began posing for me, I was in awe at how she moved. I knew that she was special and could convey very strong emotions using her body. The bright red dress underneath the trench coat matched her long, red braids. She whipped them around while she was posing, and it created the ‘oomph’ great fashion models exude.”

Through a combination of carefully crafted elements, this winning image strikes a fine balance between melancholy and positivity. “We had hoped for it to be sunny, but you can’t predict the weather. The sky was grey, and we found a suitable area of beach,” Pauline recalls. “It was a deserted strip, covered in black, orange, and beige pebbles. I thought the area we chose was a perfect contrast to Tea-Monet’s look. She and I were the only people on that beach, and it looked like we were the only people left in the world. To me, that isolation represents the personal hoops we’ve had to jump through to pursue our passions wholeheartedly.

“Still, I’d say the feeling we were both going for was hope – a belief in ourselves to fully go out and pursue our dreams. On camera, Tea-Monet very easily communicated to me that this was her calling. I was also eager to showcase the way I work. The fashion was important, because I am a fashion lover, but I also wanted to emphasize feeling. In every photo I make, I chase feeling and moods.”

True to the nature of Create With Me, Pauline’s photo is reminiscent of Kara’s own work. Discussing her choice of winner, Kara comments, “I love that Pauline photographed the subject in nature and blended the tones of her outfit so beautifully with the scenery. It is always important to think of the setting when styling and creating! This photo left me pondering the whole story, and curious about how the whole scene looks – which is exactly why it stood out so much. Thank you for this beautiful submission, and congratulations!”

Please note, this video was released during the 2022 Create With Me competition. Entries have now closed.

More from this series...