FEATURE STORYTEXT BY DAN HAVLIK • IMAGES BY HELENE DELILLO
To most people she is Helene DeLillo, mild-mannered president of Dancing Icon Inc., a successful Tribeca-based digital imaging and consulting firm. To those with questions about the workings of the latest digital imaging software, the intricacies of web design or a variety of other computer-related issues, she is "Dr. Helene," columnist for Digital Imaging magazine, SP&D's sister publication.MODEL: DANA, ZOLI NYC
MAKEUP BY DEANNA MODEL: DJ HAWTHORNE, CMD LA/NYC
MAKEUP BY NANCY ARRUDA FOR BOBBIE BROWN COSMETICS MODEL: JAMIE @ KATHY MULLER AGENCY, HAWAII
MAKEUP BY CATHY CHUN MODEL: DJ HAWTHORNE, CMD LA/NYC
MAKEUP BY NANCY ARRUDA FOR BOBBIE BROWN COSMETICS MODEL: KAMAKOA @MORE AGENCY, HAWAII
MAKEUP BY CATHY CHUN And for those with a "passion for fashion," as DeLillo whimsically describes herself, she is the "Digital Diva," a cutting-edge fashion photographer whose images have appeared in the pages of Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Time Digital, to mention a few.
"I love fashion photography. I enjoy everything about it," DeLillo says.
"I love the challenge of having to catch that moment of beauty before it's gone. I love working with models, makeup artists, and stylists. The whole project is fun and I enjoy connecting with people's hearts."
DeLillo also has a knack for connecting with people's faces. Her tight, uniquely seductive shots of models—some elaborately made up, some barely embellished—suggest DeLillo is someone who has spent a long time studying the human face. That assumption is not far from the mark.
As a digital consultant and retoucher to some of the top photographers in the world, DeLillo has used her retouching magic on many of the world's most famous faces—removing wrinkles, whitening the whites of eyes, smoothing out bikini lines and, ultimately, making beautiful supermodels appear even more beautiful. Her high profile clients include some of the most demanding in the cosmetic, fashion, and entertainment industries.
The Right Chemistry
Along with the steady diet of fashion and beauty magazines she consumed while growing up in Hawaii and the long hours she spent immersed in the darkroom during her college years, DeLillo credits the digital work she has provided for renowned fashion and beauty shooters such as Marco Glaviano, with helping to shape her as a photographer. "Being around the masters in the fashion and beauty world, has been great for me as a photographer," she says.
The experience has given DeLillo an ease with models and a willingness to be flexible, which results in fresh looks from her talent and arresting images from her cameras. She credits Marco with a technique for gaining a model's trust. "Simply put, I won't use any image taken that the model doesn't like," she explains.
Choosing which model to use is as important to DeLillo as choosing which camera to use, how the lighting should be arranged, or what the wardrobe will be. She says she gets some of her best advice for selecting models from her husband, John. "We do it on an intuitive level. He may have an idea about a model whom I may not be drawn to immediately. He'll say to me: 'Look, I know she isn't your number one pick, but you're going to get something that you really love from her. My most recent favorite shot happened this way."
For DeLillo, who has field-tested just about every digital camera on the market, the advent of digital technology and the continued improvements in resolution, clarity, and increased file sizes in cameras and backs, has made her job that much easier. Especially when things don't go as planned.