RENELL, 22, is generating raw moments in documentary-style. Like her great influence, Nan Goldin, Renell isn’t asking the same questions as everyone else (thank goodness). She isn’t seeking to follow traditional rules on her photographic expeditions, and instead capturing her subjects in their natural state. Using a 5D Mark II DSLR Camera, Renell is validating that beauty is in the eye of the vantage point. And without needing the kudos of viewers, Renell is tracing carefree and complex conversations in her brilliant still shots.
It’s 3 p.m on a thirsty Thursday in Greenwich Village, and I’m greeted by the 5’9 golden, brown woman whose signature is embedded in wine, tea, vineyards and pandas. Renell jumps out the driver’s seat of her black sport Jeep Wrangler (swaps places with her boyfriend) and immediately apologizes for running late. She then leads the way to her alma mater stomping ground—Parson’s The New School For Design (also institutional home to Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Donna Karan).
Renell flashes her ID to a security guard at the front desk and he nods with approval that I can enter as well. We grab a seat on the first floor lounge, across from each other. “This is my first interview,” she says in a light, coy voice. On the surface, Renell strikes me as confident, well poised and unbelted in life’s driver’s seat. She soon reveals just how candid she is in talking about her accomplishments and her visual work.
By: Nicole Callender
Photos: Juan Veloz