“I was inspired by an Irving Penn photo of a single brittle poppy bent over,” Peter Ash Lee says of the abstract movement in these photographs. “I imagined a fragile old man hanging his head toward the ground in exhaustion.” To interpret Lee’s vision, models (and best friends) Amilna Estevao and Mayowa Nicholas dressed in the fall season’s sharply tailored suiting, posing for poetic contradictions of withered petals and structured garments.
This project marks the second time Estevao and Nicholas have worked together; they met while sharing an apartment that housed other models early in their careers. In these images, the two conjoin their arms and legs together in fluid motions, like “humans masquerading as flowers,” Lee says. Up close and personal, yes, but that’s what friends are for.
*This article appears in the August 21, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.