my big adventure in new york city

i know you’ve all been wanting to hear about my trip, and i’ve been putting off writing this because there is so much to say and so much i can’t yet say. so i’ve wondered whether i should just wait, or tell you what i can now. and i’m telling. because i know you guys are probably as impatient as i am.

i am just a little fish in a big pond. i guess something about my scales or the way i swam seemed to catch the eyes of the bigger fish. and then suddenly i was on my way to new york because someone wanted me. strange, i know. but i wasn’t scared or intimidated. all the other fish there might have been bigger, but we’re all just fish in the end. and besides, they must have wanted me for a reason.

i remember being on the plane, completely unfeeling, when i heard someone mention new york and that was when it became very real to me. i felt like i was very cold, shiver-y with excitement. like i wanted to stand up and scream. i was seventeen and going to new york to shoot a campaign for a big label. if it all sunk in at once i would have passed out. i know it is only a beginning, but it still felt amazing.

i’m bad with planes, i get ill and can’t sleep well. we landed in LA and then got onto a connecting flight to NYC. we landed there more than 25 hours after leaving home. there was a driver waiting for me at the airport with a sign that said ‘HAKANSON’. my eyes were glued to the car window all the way to the hotel.

my first day in new york was spent in bed. my throat swelled up and i felt like i had the flu. there was a huge bathtub by a window that looked over the lower east side and i sank into the water and just watched. i wasn’t used to seeing so much life.

the following days in new york (up until the day we left) would all be spent shooting. usually from 7:30am until nighttime. the first day we shot in a mansion. it sat beside a lake and was very old. we walked through the rooms with a notebook, writing down ideas for pictures. i met everyone. the equipment guy, the props guys, the other photographer, everyone’s assistants, the makeup artist, the stylists, the hair stylists, the caterer, the models, the producers, the art directors, the clients and people who i didn’t exactly know what they did but i knew it was important. everyone kind of became family to me after a while.

on top of what i already had i asked for an 85mm 1.2L II, 50mm 1.2L, 16-35mm 2.8L II + 35mm 1.4L. plus a 580 EX II flash. apologies if you’re not a photographer and this makes no sense to you. the lenses were beautiful, i became somewhat obsessed with the 85mm, and used the 35mm a lot too. it was insane how possible everything became. if i wanted a shot, everyone would make it happen. if i wanted a prop, the props guys would get it.

there was catering all day long. seeing as food is my second love, i ate my weight in pastries, chocolate strawberries, yoghurt parfaits and ravioli. the moments i wasn’t eating i was shooting. so really it was all some kind of heaven for me. not to mention there was a candy store across the road from the hotel, so on the day of the flight (the only time i actually had the time to go) i went candy crazy.

the models were from brazil, france, canada, london, paris and all over. everyone came from different parts of the world. namely france and italy. i found it funny how very few americans were there.

(being stupid on photobooth)

one day we shot in a new jersey highschool. i was walking through the halls and gyms and i felt like i was in a movie. we even ate in the cafeteria. that night we all had new york pizzas. the pieces were the size of my head and god, so so good. i was laughing at the models shovelling the pizza in their mouths. who said models don’t eat!

so much happened during those days of shooting. i learnt so much about the way i work, from others and myself. i shot 400 GIGs of images and i didn’t tire of it. my passion didn’t die out and i shot until my wrists ached (and boy did they ache). but when i have a camera in my hand i don’t feel the cold, my self-consciousness or my suffering feet. it’s how i’ve adapted.

i laughed so much. working with super confident boy models is one of the most hilarious things. it was all a lot of fun. the night we finished i was running around with mickey mouse ears, eating cupcakes and drinking wine. we were in an enormous chateau.

then my ears were taken off me (apparently i looked too childish, hmph) and we went to a bar. thanks to the male model chatting up the pretty bartender i got away with the other photographer’s ID.

me and matt left early and explored the lower east side at night. we had the next morning free before our flight so we shopped. it’s seems like forever ago but it was only the other morning. which feels cruel. i wish i could have stayed.

jesus how i miss new york. the bright lights, life and even the loudness of it all. it’s alive and things happen there. i happened there and i will happen there again.

i feel like i’ve said nothing in this whole post, like i’ve left out the world, but i won’t go on forever. and if you know me or will know me, maybe i’ll tell you more stories when i see you.

here are some pictures of me on the last day (the image at the top, and the image below this taken by matt).

43 love notes

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  3. hey, just wondered where you were in the last picture with all the mirrors? It’s probably not the same place, but I stayed in my uncles best friends photography/film warehouse when I went to NYC this summer and it looked just like this with a corridor filled with mirrors leading onto a room filled with antique furniture. It was the coolest place I have ever stayed in!

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  6. I absolutely love your blog! I have you added on Deviant Art, and since I've been reading your blog, I've been inspired to get a little more into photography. I do it more as a hobby, or to preserve memories with friends and family, and I'm obviously not even remotely close to being as good as you 😛 I live in New Jersey, and I go to NYC a lot. I have some pics of the city over on my blog that you may be interested in taking a peek at. My 2 most recent blog posts both have NYC pics in them. When you have some free time 😉 there are some pics of Time Square, the huge Christmas tree at Rockefeller center, Empire state building, ect:

  7. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I think I will leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  8. What a great blog and post, Margaret!

    Thank you for such a lovely Big Apple blog, I love it and that you had such a wonderful experience! 🙂

    NYC is one of my favorite places in the world and I absolutely loved living in Manhattan for a couple years after college and feel so lucky that I was able to…I miss it too!

    In fact, every time I go back to visit I feel as though I refuel my energy with all the lights and excitement that city offers, it somehow feels like home for me, even though it no longer is.

    Great pics too and continued success with everything!

    Liesl 🙂

  9. Hi ! I really love your photography, especially those ones,or the ones of the redhead in nyc.
    I was wondering some questions ,though.I'm pretty sure you won't answer.
    Where the hell do you find the money to have such a camera/lens? and to pay the models? and the make up artist? and the hair stylist? ! that's so confusing me. You must be millionaire or something.You should make a F.A.Q. , I'm sure poeple have a lot of questions to ask you .



  10. You seem so much bigger than when I found you on DeviantART for the first time. New York! I wish you so much luck and love and everything.

  11. i hope to go to NY one day, preferably in the fall 🙂
    sounds like you had a marvelous time. im glad everything went well for you, especially the shoot!

  12. wow, this seems so amazing.
    you know this has inspired me now, i mean before i
    was taking pictures just for fun, but now i think
    want to take it higher.
    thanks to your inspiration.
    have fun you deserve it all.

  13. I told you would love NY!! Sounds like you had an amazing trip, hope to see the photos from those shoots at some time in the future xx

  14. oh wow.. wow wow wow wow wow..
    this sounds like..
    yeah well.. everyone above said it already
    but seriously.. you're only 17 and you've done the most amazing thing in the world!!

  15. people running around getting lenses, props, etc for you? this sounds like an absolute dream 🙂

  16. I discovered your blog only a few days ago, but I'm already in love. Your trip to New York sounds just like a fairytale! I adore your blog.

  17. Your story is always inspiring! Captivating and so free! You're living the life! I wish I could do that too, you're seventeen already and making the world happen. I'm eighteen and I'm still in the world waiting for what should happen (yeah still in college learning and someday I'm gonna be an interior designer!).

    Your passion has taken you to heights Nirrimi. Photography has been my passion too, but as you say we gotta be obsessed and I'm not that obsessed enough. You'll always be my inspiration. You motivate me so much, I want to go out there and make my life! 😀


  18. Wow! Thanks so much for sharing (you could have gone on forever, and everybody's eyes would be glued to your every word!) It sounds like a movie! I'm sure you could fill a book or two with all your stories. I hope you share more, you are soooo incredibly lucky! I'm aching to see the pictures!

    And I'm much too happy for you to be jealous, haha, you definitely deserve all the wonderful attention and opportunities! Your new york experience sounds like a perfect dream.
    Like Alexis said, it would be so amazing to meet you some day! To see how you work and think. You are such and inspiration.

  19. Thanks a lot, nirrimi, for sharing this with me (well, all of us). I was getting really curious and wanted a loooot to hear this. Maybe it will sound stupid…but once (during one of those silly class exercises) they asked me: if you could meet someone, anyone, who would it be? and I answered Nirrimi Joy Hakanson.
    Consider me your fan. In one of my comments (in your older posts) I told you already, but I will tell you again: it is so easy to be your fan! so beautiful. Because you are real.
    I hope I can meet you some day. If you ever come to Buenos Aires, maybe we could make it happen! 🙂

    Would you follow me on twitter? pleaaaaaaaase
    I'm 'dancemydreams' there ^^

    lots and lots of love,

  20. rheqogrvfbi

    ahhh this just sounds so wonderful and exciting and I don't even know how to describe but that's SO great that you got to do it and I'm so excited for you! Also, I love the photos 🙂

  21. can never do justice with writing this kind of experience, right? but i can feel your excitement! sounds wonderful, nirrimi, can't wait to hear what's next for you 🙂

  22. Like they all say, you really are an inspiration!!! I wish the whole world knew of you, especially the world of youth. Just to show them how to live life and make the life of your dreams. If only they all had the patience and minds to read your thoughts and see your works and be shown what it is to be free . . .

    Love it.
    Words will never really express how much I look up to you and your works, your mind!!! And you're still so young! It all just blows me away!

  23. That's so incredible! My heart was aching when I read this, how I so wish to do what you did! You deserve it though, can't wait to see the magic you have created 🙂

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