When I first heard from the Playboy team that I would be shooting Teela LaRoux for Playboy’s Gender & Sexuality Issue on a rooftop in downtown LA, I jumped in excitement! I just love her looks and her attitude, and to capture her in such a powerful urban landscape felt like a perfect match. So, after days and hours fine tuning the details of the upcoming shoot with Anna Wilson and Erica Loewy (the multimedia director and the creative director from Playboy, ie the creative brains), on April 5, 2019, the day of the shoot finally arrived and I was pumped!
Calm, focused, truly genuine and in complete control. That’s how Teela approached the shoot. The pictorial was titled ‘Heat Rises’ and the keywords for the shoot were ‘sweaty, sexy, city vibes’ but the weather on that rooftop in LA wasn’t exactly hot… but Teela, with all her badassery, didn’t even hesitate for a second. She went all in and pulled it off magnificently.
Photographing nudity is always a remarkable experience, because without clothes we show our inner self, there is no protection. We show a little bit of our soul. Teela had never photographed nude before, but she did it as powerfully, genuinely and generously as it can possible be done. She was a dream to work with. I love it when the model surprises me, when I don’t have to direct too much. That’s exactly what happened. I felt that Teela knows and loves her body, and can play with her posture and body language easily. She is strong, bold and intense very effortlessly. As soon as I pointed the camera at her, I immediately felt that connection. That click. You know immediately that you are going to have a great shoot… and you don’t want to stop shooting!
The pictorial was published in the Summer Issue of Playboy and Teela became July Playmate. Mission accomplished.
The shoot was also special because it was featured on an article in the New York Times, by Jessica Bennett and a photo of me shooting Teela even appeared on the front page of the newspaper. Cool!
– Ana Dias
BTS photos by Evan Woods
BTS photos by Stephanie Noritz for The New York Times
BTS photos by Raquel Batalha
Model: Teela LaRoux; Photographer: Ana Dias; Executive Editor: Shane Michael Singh; Photography & Multimedia Director: Anna Wilson; Creative Director: Erica Loewy; Photography Assistant: Raquel Batalha; Styling: Kelley Ash; Makeup & Hair: Bree Stanchfield; Staff Photography and Video: Evan Woods; Photo Coordinator: Sandra Evans; Video: Boa Simon
IN THE PRESS