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Raphael Steffens & Carmen Steffens

There are some brands that are so associated with a particular region or country that they immediately give one a mental image of the lifestyle they invoke. Converse Chuck Taylor shoes are forever associated with the SoCal lifestyle of blue skies and palm trees. Dewar's Scotch manifests scenes of green rolling hills and fresh streams. For Brazil, one such brand is Raphael Steffens & Carmen Steffens. 

While perhaps not as known is the US as in its homeland, this company which is native to Brazil presents a fashion sense that communicates a lifestyle of the countryside while also being amenable to city inhabitants. It’s a theme of refinement but with a relaxed attitude. It is immediately recognizable to Brazilians, as it was to Dan Wainer. Wainer is a native son of Brazil and acclaimed model who has represented famed companies like Adidas, graced the cover of Men’s Health magazine (twice!) and has appeared in Nova Cosmopolitan magazine, among many others. Dan was hired to appear in a print/video advertising campaign for Raphael Steffens & Carmen Steffens which was distributed throughout the entire country in magazines (CARAS, GOL Magazine, QUEM Magazine), Fashion Film, websites, Facebook, and others medias. A consummate professional, Dan takes pride in all his work but admits that the association with this truly Brazilian company was a source of excitement and pride for him. 

The Stylist of Carmen Steffens (Emerson Martins) had asked for Wainer’s agency for photos as a result of the huge success of his Bond editorial (Dan appeared as the iconic 007 in a photo editorial tribute to Bond which appeared in Playboy magazine). Martins felt that Wainer perfectly fit the profile which the brand wanted for the next campaign. Monalisa Spaniol (Raphael Steffens & Carmen Steffens owner), agreed and the model was hired to do the Carmen Steffens campaign. Because the brand is so well known and commands such high visibility in the marketplace, Dan’s involvement continued to increase his high profile status in the Brazilian modeling industry as well as open doors internationally. Models, just as with any professional, can prepare for their work but sometimes there is a bit of serendipity involved that reinforces the fact that they were the correct choice. While Wainer was born in Rio de Janeiro, his family moved to the countryside when he was still a toddler. As a result, he spent his time interacting with nature and animals, specifically horses. For this photo campaign, the idea was to communicate the peaceful and happy life of a couple in the countryside. The shoot took place on a large farm requiring interaction with horses. 

While working with animals can sometimes be a schedule expander for a production team, Dan’s ease and comfortability all things equestrian literally created a more relaxed nature for all those involved. Combining his knowledge of horses and the photographic process, Dan communicates,

“The first photos were taken in a scenes with myself, another model and a horse. In this case, the best way is to hold the horse as close as possible for you to feel if he pulls somewhere else and always walk by his side to avoid being stepped on. After photos were made next to the horse, we started photos riding inside a small circle. It’s important to always keep the same rhythm of riding to give the photographer time to set the best place and have the time to take the picture. The best technique to achieve this is to make the horse gallop with the leg that is inside a circle, always touching the ground first (we call this “galloping with the right hand”) resulting in the horse turning his neck into the circle. I also used the hips technique that helps maintain the rhythm of movement pushing the horse forward if necessary. On this specific shoot, I was very comfortable. I've been riding horses all my life and they’re one of the animals I like the most. I can tell when they're getting nervous and if they're going to do something. In the cases of shooting with horses I can help the photographer a lot.”

Situations like this one are not going to help in dissuading many a fan of the brand and Wainer’s from finding him even more appealing than they did before. Working with the animals and other models was the easiest facet of this job for Dan. Due to the ever expanding platforms and means of advertising, this campaign was shot for print and video presentations simultaneously. Having been a professional model for some time now, Dan is keenly aware of the lighting and what works; it’s not always the same type of lighting for each type of presentation. Having both video and still photography occurring at the same time was something of a mental juggling act, being aware of the cameras and what works best. Photographer Tavinho Costa created such memorable images, ones with a very eclectic sense of approaches. Dan agrees that the entire campaign was an incredibly positive experience for him. Working with Tahvinho, working with horses, and reconnecting with his roots, driving down the road and seeing his face on gigantic billboards, it felt very compete. Becoming a part of the history of a brand like Carmen and Raphael Steffens became a revisiting of his own history and his present. It’s fitting that when these two combined, they resulted in a more positive future for Dan as his visibility attained new levels as a result of his association with such a popular brand.
Raphael Steffens & Carmen Steffens Reviewed by JaamZIN on 8:29:00 PM Rating: 5
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