Wert Whirl

Posted by Miriam On December - 29 - 20105,401 views

Wert Whirl is a “Retro Sexy” photography project by two talented San Antonio artists. 
This duo is Shannon Toy (hair and make up) and Jim Lander (photography).
They know how to mix photography with beauty and fun. Wert Whirl exists only 1 year, but they already shoot with names like Kitten Kaboom, Phil DeVine, Mizuz Inkoholik and Keke Noir.
Do you know what “Wert Whirl” is? It’s the whistle, that guys give to girls. The whistle sounds like a slide whistle and the sound resembles the word itself.
I asked Shannon a few questions about their project.

How you two got together to start this project?
I approached Jim about a Makeup Artist job. I had noticed he went to Taft High School in San Antonio, TX, as we did except one year ahead of us (I have a fraternal twin sister). My sister was in band with him actually. So, Jim set up a meeting after conversing on the phone with me about goals. He said I think I have something better in mind for you! Then we decided on themed photography pin up style. I came up with the name hard to say but you whistle it! Wert Whirl, the old wolf whistle, but in the 1950’s it was complimentary not crass. I was surprised that no one has thought to use it before us.

Tell us about your career in the past?
My first experience with the business was doing hair for a Betsy Johnson fashion show at a club in Dallas. Many seasoned hair stylist were amazed at what I had done to the models hair. Then I was asked to do hair and makeup for a calendar photo shoot through MySpace. I met a fashion designer at the shoot and she told me to get on Model Mayhem and start testing with photographers. I spent a year November 2007 to November 2008 trying to figure out where I belong in this field. Then I found my friend whom I have known for many years through the Rockabilly scene in, Dallas, TX., Wes Wolfe on Model Mayhem and we started a business up there called Valley of the Dolls Glamour, Pin Up and Retro Photography.  I met my husband, got married, and got pregnant we moved back to San Antonio, TX. 


How do you decide on locations & subjects?
My mind is like a race track. I have so many ideas in my head that it seems I can’t get them out soon enough. Probably, from television’s influence on me through out the years. From Sound of Music to Beach Blanket Bingo to 30 Days of Night, having this broad  range of what I like sculpted me into the person I am now.   

Who is your true inspiration?
The first work I was blown away by is Jennifer Corona and Shannon Brooke as a team. 

In general, during a session how many pics would you say you take to find the right one?
It differs, sometimes in one shot like one with me as the model for my cowgirl postcard shoot. Sometimes 100 or so to find the one that is just right. I will let Jim tell you about that part of our team.

What sets you apart from other photographers/make up artists doing retro/pin-up style?
We try to keep it real! Our editing style has been to keep the integrity of the skin texture and texture of everything around in the image. My style of makeup is K.I.S.S. also called, keep it simple stupid. I do a simple vintage classy makeup style that fits every ones face type. I do rosy cheeks, red lips, simple eyeliner mostly on the top lid to make that pin up point and only apply mascara on the part that is facing me.  

What is your favorite hairstyle for a photoshoot?
Lately is seems I am in the 1940’s. I guess you can say a trademark of mine is to have at least one victory roll or curl every time I style. 

Do you have any pinup hair or make up suggestions?
Well I’m glad you asked that question. I just designed a Mother Daughter Vintage Styling Workshop called “Girl’s On Parade”.  An Introduction to Classic 1950’s style of Hair and Makeup with a Photo Shoot to capture the memory!  






Describe a typical photo shoot.
I arrive early enough to set up my makeup and hair products so we can start immediately. The client arrives at our studio, we immediately say hello and introduce ourselves to them. I walk them back to the dressing room and discuss with them what they expect while doing their hair and makeup. I usually have talked with the client several times before the photo shoot getting a feel for what I need to bring as far as wardrobe. I handle wardrobe as well as hair and makeup.   

What is the ONE lasting impression you want to leave in your photos?
On Thepinuplifesyle.com under my comments Holly West (fantastic pin up photographer) said on March 11, 2010, when Jim and I started to produce images. She said “Nice work Shannon”. It is great to hear that from someone you respect in the field and put up in the top 10 pin up photographers.  

How do you see the future?
Glad you asked that question as well. We are adding different editing styles that the clients have shown an appreciation for lately. 

Do you have other passions?
This was always my passion hair, makeup and clothing. But, I do paint with acrylics and have since I was very young. 

As a Hair and Makeup Stylist/ Photographer, What do you want to achieve?
I have achieved it already by having new makeup artists on Model Mayhem tell me I inspire them. I have heard this about 3 times now and it makes you feel good to influence others with your work.  

Is there anything you want to tell us?
Take advantage of our monthly contests, where you win a Free Theme Photo Shoot, we might not have them forever.
We will be vending at the 10th Annual Lone Star Round Up. We will be taking pictures of people for $25 against green screen. They choose from 4 backgrounds in our look book to be added in. They will get a 5 X 7 print of the image the same day. Actually it takes only a few minutes. We will probably say come back in 10-20 minutes. We will also have t-shirts, calendars, trading cards and posters for people to purchase. Stickers and postcards will be given as a keepsake from our business.

We still have the Wert Whirl Special Edition 2011 Calendars until February 1, 2011.  When you purchase one of these calendars you get a $200 savings coupon toward a $400 photo shoot. I just extended the date a month. The coupon has an expiration date October 2011. That is almost a whole year. At that time we will run the Wert Whirl Special Edition 2012 Calendars.
Expect to see our first Wert Whirl Traveling Bizarre #1 TV Series Version come out in February 2011. This will be a limited edition calendar a collector’s item. Once they are gone no more. We will be numbering them 1/100, 2/100, 56/100 as artist do their lithographs.

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