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The Making of Nude

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

A reflection on Charcoal Magazine’s 7th print issue, nude, hearing from all throughout the team on what nude and this entire year has meant to them.

Entering this semester, Charcoal set out on one notion: how can we make the most honest issue we ever have? After much deliberation and debate, we ended on one universal truth. Boobs. Everyone’s boobs to be clear, we don’t discriminate over here.

For the past five months, our team has navigated some of the rawest storytelling we have ever attempted, all while balancing college lives in the (hopefully) nearing end of a global pandemic. Take a read at how they felt to bring this magazine together, baring it all for anyone willing to read.

Archelle Thelemaque, Editor-in-Chief

“Right before we wrap an issue, we begin brainstorming the next. As we were brainstorming for this issue, I asked the team, as I usually do, “what’s next,” and then jokingly, I said “what if we did something with boobs...” and the e-board was like “👀👀,” and the rest is history.”

Shamayam Sullivan, Co-Creative Director

“The initial idea for nude came as a joke. At first we were talking about having more nudity in Charcoal and showing more of the physical form. I think it really started out with boobies (Archelle mentioned boobs) then it went to naked and finally we landed at nude. It was a full collaborative piece. As the executive board, we just kind of threw stuff to the wall and hoped that something would stick. Once we had solidified our contact in our overall theme, we were really all-hands in to make that vision come to life. It's difficult, but exciting to see something come to life, but there are a bunch of little parts that you don’t quite consider at the moment of ideating that become so crucial. Before everything else, we needed to have a good vision board to articulate what we wanted to do.”

Ramsey Khalifeh, Photographer

“For me, shooting “Bare” was such a humbling experience. To be given the opportunity to share a space with other individuals who were comfortable with being vulnerable was quite special because it meant they were also comfortable with me capturing that essence. As always, the support I received from Sham, Jess and Archelle to help execute the vision and choreograph the models/set is more than a photographer could ever ask for. Coming into this project, I was curious to see how my background in black and white photography (in an analog and digital medium) would aid the goal to capture the human body in its different shapes and textures. I think what made this shoot especially incredible was how we collectively figured out how to play with light to express and highlight the different nuances of the body. In the collection of photos you can see how the main light source came from different angles and intensities with each their own purpose. It's a blessing to be able to contribute a project to Charcoal, and I thank everyone on the team tremendously for letting me be a part of it.”

Izzy Yap, Photographer

“Regarding my experience, this is the first time I had the pleasure of taking photos for Charcoal since I joined the staff as a photographer. The two shoots I was able to help with this semester were the first campus magazine shoots I have ever done. WithIn Color,” I was very excited because I love the concept of restructuring Eurocentric art to center people of color. It was amazing to see different cultures be honored in that space to show the beauty that was originally excluded. Zakiah’s pictures were probably one of my favorite compositions from the shoot. There was so much great movement from the fabrics and her headdress, which I loved. Also I just want to highlight all of the talented people that I am so grateful to have worked with. It was such a wonderful environment and everyone truly has amazing artistic ability.”

Brianna Gilmore, Model

“I love expressing myself through earrings and accessories so styling the look with Ria and Jess was really fun. Seeing everyone’s embodied artistry throughout the shoot was inspiring and empowering.”

Toni-Marie Gomes, Model

“So “Bare” was my first shoot with Charcoal, which was really nerve-wracking! I was excited but really nervous. I loved how comfortable everyone made me feel, even before the shoot. From the other models to the photographer and the creatives, it was a really welcoming environment, and I loved that I could be a part of such an amazing shoot! Charcoal, for me, is about expressing myself and being comfortable being uncomfortable, and I think “Bare” is a perfect example of that.”

Ejiro Agege, Model

“I’d say immediately I felt very comfortable with everyone there: the photographers, models, and other stylists. It was a very seamless process and even though we all had different amounts of experience with modeling, everyone was very supportive, encouraging, and overall just there to hype everybody up which I absolutely loved. Six hours flew by extremely fast with that group.

And in terms of the shoot concept itself, overall I’d just say it was super dope how all of us looked like queens and royals but still had our own personal statements. For example, modern styles like Doc Martens, which I was wearing, different kinds of sneakers, and jewelry, like hoop earrings that obviously weren’t characteristics of the Renaissance period [laughs].

I thought it was just a really creative blend of old and new, so props to the creative directors.”

Atiyyah Mayaleeke, Make-Up Artist/Model

“Excess” was the first Charcoal thing I really got to be involved in since before we left for COVID, so it really brought me a lot of joy and excitement, especially as I had contributed to the shoot’s idea. There was a lot of creativity, styling, and just contribution from everyone who was present that day, and I think seeing that collaboration is what really allowed that shoot to be as successful as it was. Makeup for “In Color” was definitely a bit more stressful on my end doing so many faces in such a short time but being able to use so many different colors on each of the models to complement their outfits for the shoot was really fun to play with and mix it up. The end result of all the beautiful people sitting together radiantly surrounded by flowers and color is when I felt I had done my job for the day, and it was something worthwhile.