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July 29 2014

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Meet The Muse: Sasha Eisenman

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Girl-about-town Natalie Joos spends her days casting for shows like ADAM and Yigal Azrouël and editorials for the likes of Mario Sorrenti and Mariano Vivanco, but her passion is vintage clothing. Joos’ blog, Tales of Endearment, spotlights her “Muses,” impeccably styled girls and guys who share her secondhand obsession. In a new partnership with Style.com, Tales of Endearment’s subjects discuss their shoots right here on Style File.

Photographer Sasha Eisenman is a California boy through and through. When he’s not jetting around the world to snap photos of Kate Bosworth, Kate Hudson, or Robert Pattinson for an impressive roster of clients, which includes GQ, i-D, Interview, and British Elle, he splits his time between his homes in Silver Lake and Joshua Tree. “I’m a native son of California; I feel most at home here,” Eisenman, originally from Huntington Beach, tells Style.com. His sixties and seventies, surfer-inspired style is a perfect reflection of that, as depicted in his colorful photo shoot for Joos’ post today. The golden boy took a break from “a top-secret shoot” at the beach to talk about his debaucherous first photo assignment for Jane and why Silver Lake guys can be “vintage fiends, to a fault.”


Bob Richardson saw your photos and shortly after that, you had your first professional assignment for Dazed & Confused magazine. So, when did you first pick up a camera?
When I was about 10, I picked up my mom’s old Nikon 35mm camera and started taking photos. At that time, I did it because I wanted to take pictures of all my pet lizards and reptiles that I would catch.

These days, what do you draw inspiration from?
I don’t really look at contemporary photographers apart from someone like Richard Prince (but he is mostly reusing old photos from old magazines, anyways). I enjoy discovering things from the past, reinventing them, and seeing them in a new way. I get a lot of inspiration from Italian film directors. I devour old movies—modern films seem only about comic books and superheroes so there is very little for me to draw inspiration from. Similarly, I like old biker mags and old Playboy issues.

You have had a very impressive career thus far. Do any shoots in particular stand out in your mind the most?
Early on, there was a really funny shoot for Jane magazine—when it still existed—it was one of my first fashion stories. They wanted to do something inspired by the San Francisco music scene, a Haight-Ashbury sort of thing. We had a whole host of eccentric rockers and Lizzy Jagger. The shoot got paused because of rain and we were stuck in a really nice hotel there. I was kind of put in charge of taking care of the group and it turned into a massive, debaucherous party, and all these people from all these different bands would show up. When we checked out, people had like $5,000 minibar charges. Maybe we contributed to the demise of Jane magazine, I don’t know. I sort of thought that was how things would be, though, but after that it was never as crazy as that experience was. Yeah, that was a memorable one for sure.

Wow, sounds like those were wild times. What are you focused on now?
Lately, I’m focused on wrapping up a book project called California Girls. I spent two years photographing girls from here—real girls—initially just girls that I knew. There was no styling, hair, or makeup, just me and the girls. They are semi-documentary-type pictures. They are kind of inspired by vintage Playboy magazines. It’s hopefully coming out this year along with an exhibit.

You are the only the second guy to be featured on Natalie’s blog. Do you think guys don’t like vintage as much, or what’s going on there?
For guys I know, in and around Silver Lake, that’s certainly not the case. They are vintage fiends, to a fault, perhaps. I like to wear my vintage mixed in with new things as well, and not just complete head-to-toe vintage. I’m just proud to be in a group with just one other guy on her blog (so far)—it’s pretty cool.

How would you define your style?
Very colorful. It’s classic, California surf meets a hint of European yacht life, with a little vintage rock ‘n’ roll. Something like that?

Where do your vintage interests come from?
My mom is really into vintage stuff and for several years she was digging through old thrift shops in Santa Ana, finding Givenchy and vintage designer pieces. She would often find me really cool things, like these great Stubbies pants—a surf brand from the early eighties—they have abalone shells as the button for the pocket. She also found a great red with white trim Hang Ten windbreaker that I love. It’s very sixties, Steve McQueen-esque. I find great stuff out in the desert [Palm Desert], like old Pendleton sweaters.

Finish this thought: What’s old is new again when…
You live it!

For more from Sasha’s shoot, visit Tales of Endearment.

Photos: Natalie Joos

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