Project Review: Homies Wonderland

Interviewed by: Joyce Lanxin Zhao

Photographs are from the Series

Homies Wonderland(HSWLD) is a streetwear store located on Essex Street in Lower East Side. It is also a hangout for a group of artists; who are working on a photo book project featuring (surprise, surprise) Girls from the City.

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from left to right: Frank, Gosia Sek, Lumia Nocito, Kara Souza, Tory van Thompson, Zeraj Retalso, Luxsi Young, Troy Benjamin

(by Joyce L.Z.)

Joyce Lanxin Zhao: Can you tell me how the idea came about?

Lumia Nocito: Frank (owner of HSWLD) came up with the idea, and I started photographing. I met him while the idea was a few photo-shoots in Frank knows a ton of us;Photographers’, and he just had us come in with nude models. We photograph them in the same setting downstairs, and each girl in similar poses.

Kara Souza: It’s a variety of different girls;different nationalities, different cultures, different ages.

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J: So I saw some of the photos, and I noticed that it’s a pretty unified look. Frontal flash, very explicit. Why do you choose this look?

LN: We wanted to shoot in the basement because of the red chair. We wanted a theme to be defined throughout the whole book, the whole series of shoots.

Gosia Sek: It goes with the aesthetic of the white wall (we have over there). Also, we wouldn’t shoot anywhere outside with girls just simply topless, naked, haha.

F: The aesthetics…because that’s pretty much what we do on the streets too.

G: Raw, not highly edited, so you can see the natural side.

F: Yeah, it should look like a snapchat. You can feel that it’s real.

Zoe

J: I understand the project is still on-going. How far are you guys going to continue this?

Luxsi Young: We want to get 50 girls from New York. And at the end of the project, we are trying to release a book. You are gonna be able to see it in the store, and even a event for the launch of the book. So far we have how many? Like 20?
Gosia: 22.

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J: Are the models just friends of friends? Who are the people youcome up with?

LY: Yeah, basically. People who are comfortable in their bodies. People who are down to do experimental photos with photographers. It’s basically a huge collaboration. It always is when we are at Homies.

G: We are expanding as more people are involved, like when more people hear about it.

LY: It’s kind of a headquarter for people who wants to be creative, and also collaborate with friends. Everybody who comes here, they are all doing art, they are creating something, music, fashion, whatever, photography, you know.

G: I feel like it’s all about girls who are confident, and know their bodies and they want to celebrate it.

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J: What does this place mean to you?
Luxsi: It means what it says literally: We are all homies.

LN: Everyone here is basically an artist. To surround yourself with other artists, it’s great creative inspiration, and it’s nice to have a space where you feel like you can collaborate and kind of have a voice as an artist. And I think it’s really important that we are all in New York City right now, all from different places.

J: So, where are you guys from?
Jersey, Vancouver, New York, Poland, Downtown and Hawaii.

LY: It’s a fun place, I come here, like everyday.
LN: Yeah, it’s really special.