7b06fe0ce4a41da5ea7a editorial damien carney naha

We are thrilled to partner once again with the Professional Beauty Association (PBA) to promote all of the talented artists who are finalists for the 2017 NAHAs (North American Hairstyling Awards), the most prestigious hair and beauty award in the country. In this feature get to know more about this year's Editorial finalist Damien Carney

The world of editorial is constantly changing, with new trends, fads and fashion. Many artists agree; editorial is more about the total look than a single element and in this collection Damien Carney demonstrates just that. One of this year’s finalists in the ‘Editorial’ category for the 2017 NAHAs, Damien’s hard work and creativity shine through as effortlessly as his images. Take a peek at his entire collection below and learn more about his process as an artist.

How did you decide on entering the 'Editorial' category?

To qualify for this category, one has to have a shoot/editorial that has been printed in a consumer, non-trade magazine.I had a few editorials that I could enter. I thought this particular shoot was the right shoot to enter for NAHA. NAHA is a great platform to share ones ideas and be part of a “photographic” culture. Win or lose it doesn’t matter, taking part in the journey means more to me as it pushes me to do better and try things, ideas, techniques, concepts that I may not have tried before. I find NAHA, stimulating, inspiring and most of all fun, this year I really got to enjoy it and have fun.

What was the inspiration behind this collection?

When shooting for an editorial. It’s very different than shooting a hair collection for a trade magazine.A real editorial shoot usually has a strong focus on fashion with a total look from head to toe.It’s not just solely about the hair, therefore the inspiration for my collection was the total look. I wanted to show a variety of texture shapes, from shiny finger waves and braids to spikey, soft, and dull - a bit of everything. The hair must enhance and complement the total look of fashion, makeup and photography. A creative director who directs the team usually leads editorials, sometimes photographers act as the art director because they both direct and shoot. This shoot was a bit easier as I did the hair and acted as the photographer.

How did you work with wardrobe to craft the final image?

I worked collaboratively with stylist Mia Tucker Williams. I’ve worked with her several times. We have a great connection, energy and understanding for one another. The wardrobe was the stylist’s concept and vision. It was all about reflective fabrics and metal, with simple body hugging silhouettes - a mixture of clothes to create a 10 page editorial story.We think about a concept, model, make up and overall look for the shoot. We freely bounce ideas, back and forth until we both feel we have hit something interesting. We always look at our options and then evaluate which one is best.

What was your biggest challenge?

I never have a challenge, as such. That’s the approach – thought process I always have at any shoot. A so-called challenge looked at from a different perspective or point of view it can always be a positive. So as it swings and rounds about, just got to go with the flow. The energy, chemistry will create what looks right in the camera.Sometimes a concept works. Some times it doesn’t. You have to go with your gut instinct, experience and what is right for that moment in time. In the past I’ve forced things, ideas and or concepts to work for the sake of going with the original concept. Only to discover that I am nailing myself to the cross and 99% of the time the images are not right: something is off, it’s not pleasing to the eye. So I’m all about chemistry, instinct, the vibe, the mood, once you’ve got your first and second look, it can often determines the direction or flow for the rest of the shoot. So be open and free!

5. How did you work with your team to bring your vision to life?

It’s all about trusting your team and giving each member the respect and freedom they deserve. I’ve worked with all of the team members many times before and they are very experienced in the world of editorial shoots.I trust them. Why have a group of experts so I allow them to be free to do their job.Of course we met and discussed the concept; you have to have a starting point so every team member is on the same page. Then all the team digests the concept and they all come back with great ideas and thoughts as a whole team. Often the biggest mistake is to look at hair only as the only focal point, of course hair should be strong, but it shouldn’t overwhelm. We need to consider everything, it’s all about a total look, if one element is off, it will show. It’s about creating some thing beautiful.

6. What does this collection mean to you?

I wanted to show a variety of hairstyles rather than reworking one hair concept into 8 – 12 looks. So each image is different yet I feel all the images, as a collection work in harmony. The model was simply amazing, a delight to work with.She knew how to model the strong poses and her beautiful vacant, expression in her face was perfect. Without my model, Natalia, the shoot could have easily backfired. I always, always focus on the model at all times. If there’s no or little chemistry, connection with the model then it’s pointless and it will show in the end results.

7. Tell us a little more about you, as an artist. 

I’m an education freak. I have been educating, conducting hands-on programs, trade shows, and private seminars for most of my hairdressing career. I love to learn, I’m always learning. I love to share and watch people grow. It gives me great pleasure to see others achieve their goal or dream. A push here or there, a few motivating words via technique and creativity can be very special, rewarding and exciting.I travel the world, (lucky me!) conducting education at all levels. Hairdressers and salon owners alike hire me to create unique, personalized educational events. I pack my bag and go.

I also spend a lot of time in photographic studio’s shooting and doing hair in NYC.The thrill and magical energy in a studio is amazing, I love it all. Check out Damien Carney on Instagram, Facebook and my web site www.DamienCarney.com to learn more.

8. How do you Vegas?

With fun and very little sleep, I don’t want to miss anything.Let 2/3 days continue and roll into one long day, then leave. It is always a short, sharp, intense time of fun, laughing and seeing my real friends and then leave before it gets out of hand.

9. Salty or sweet?

Always salty, most like sweet but salty is on another level. Or mixing both in a box works for me too. I like things in opposites in life. It’s all or nothing.

10. What did you learn about yourself through creating this collection?

To always try to push myself more, to do better and learn from each and every experience. We always have to play, experiment, and challenge. Mix things up! There’s a fine balance between pushing ones self to the limit and too far over the edge that can be destructive sometimes, so it’s all a balancing act. I aim to be mindful and respectful of what others might think of my work, but not let them dictate or influence it too much. Otherwise, you end up creating for others, in no mans land, not one thing or the other, the dreaded grey area. I’m a brand; I have a look, I have my signature looks. We all have that and that takes personal time to discover, it’s always a journey.We should all have that thing, point of view that stands out from the crowd.I’m always hungry to experiment and do, try the unknown, the things I fear. I’ve learned to enjoy and have fun. If it’s all too serious, then there’s no fun, no fun = no pleasure.

11. If you won the lotto (or slot machine) tomorrow, what would you do? I’m not driven by money at all. I would continue to work, maybe take it a bit easier. Live the high life lol – what ever that be.  But money is not everything. I would rather be poor and happy. Than rich with $$$$$$ and unhappy. Trust me I’ve seen celebrities and the wealthy side of life. There are those that are wealthy and happy. But a lot of the time I’ve seen a lot of unhappy, lost, wealthy people. So just be happy money or not. Be in the moment and enjoy!  But if you’ve got a spare $100 sure give it to me. – Dames xoxoxo


Be sure to stalk Damien Carney on Bangstyle to see all of his latest uploads and inspiration and stay tuned for even more NAHA features!