Valentina Cytrynowicz, Photographer

     Valentina Cytrynowicz is a 16 year old budding photographer based in Los Angeles. She's no stranger to the world of photography, and under the nickname Tuna Boon she shoots for major clients like Alfred Coffee and Ford ModelsHer images are spectacular and have a clean, airy feel plus a hint of edge. Curious to learn more about the girl behind the camera, I flipped around the lens to interview Valentina about her work. 

For starters, where does your nickname Tuna Boon come from?
     In third grade I had a teacher who had this strong Long Island accent, and instead of calling me Valentina he called me Valentuna (it might have been on purpose but he did have a very strong accent so I'm not sure!). As for the boon, my first Instagram was tunaboona, but then I forgot my password so I shortened the boona to boon!

When did you begin to develop a passion for photography?
     Approximately two and a half years ago-I just scrolled down to my first post on Insta :). I got into Instagram and began taking a lot of iPhone pictures. I became truly passionate about photography around a year ago when I did my first test shoot for an agency.

With over 17,000 Instagram followers, has social media made a large impact on your career?
     Yes, definitely. It acts as my main portfolio, even though I have a website. I probably get more than half of my jobs from people who have found me on Instagram.

What's one of your favorite photo shoots you've done?
     I have never thought about that... It would have to be the first model from TWO Management that I shot. Her name is Brittany Avina. She has a beautiful, unique look and is 6-foot-something. I shot her in a perfectly all-white studio and wrapped her in pink tulle. I was very happy with the pictures!

What inspires you?
    When I wake up to a perfect day I feel inspired to take pictures and capture every good angle of everything lovely. I am a junior in high school, so whenever I have an insane amount of work it inspires me to keep working at my passion and taking photos so that I can have a better chance of doing what I love for the rest of my life (and escaping the busywork ASAP)!

Who or what is your dream subject to photograph?
     My dream would be to shoot Lindsey Wixson. She has the most amazing face! I would spend hours just taking closeups. 


Belle De Jour

     After a recent viewing of L'amour Fou, a documentary on the ingenious Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé, I was reminded that Catherine Deneuve (one of my favorite French starlets) was a tremendous muse to Yves. The two worked together during the late 1960s on the film Belle De Jour, a starring role of Deneuve's in which all of her costumes were designed by Saint Laurent.
     The film, a surreal French masterpiece, is about Séverine, a woman who is dissatisfied with her love life with her husband and decides to become a prostitute during the daytime. Saint Laurent did such a tremendous job with the costumes, which should even be considered a supporting role seeing as they provide such deeper meaning to Deneuve's character. 
     While traveling to and from work Séverine, nicknamed 'Belle De Jour,' dons very concealing outfits. The looks often consist of a dark color palette, oversized sunglasses, long sleeves and a coat of some sort. Clearly Séverine is disguising herself, not wanting to be recognized for her scandalous profession. But what Séverine wears at work is the most fascinating costume of all. The Belle's lingerie is stunning. It consists of a demi-bra, high waisted panties and garters all made in a delicate lace fabric. The most striking aspect of the undergarments, however, is their color: white. White evokes an essence of innocence, which is certainly true to the character in the beginning. However when she begins to work and removes the lingerie, she loses her sense of naiveté. Oh, the genius of Yves!


Fantastic Four

Angel Olsen, Peter Sagar of Homeshake, Brooks Nielsen of The Growlers, Lou Doillon

     With the start of the New Year I've been trying to freshen my ears and listen to some new music. Coming from a melting pot of genres, from beach goth to folk, here are four artists that are music to my ears...

Angel Olsen: Thanks to the power of Shazam, I discovered the truly angelic voice of Angel Olsen in a coffee shop. The folk rock singing beauty makes songs that not only have exquisite titles, like Some Things Cosmic and Safe in the Womb, but in and of themselves are magnificent. My all-time fave of Olsen's tunes is Lights Out, which Mac Demarco did a great cover of. Speaking of... 

Homeshake: As a massive Mac Demarco fan, it only seems natural that I'd love his guitarist Peter Sagar's solo album. Putting words together to describe the sound of Homeshake is by no means easy, but Vogue hit the nail on the head by calling it "delightfully off-kilter." His debut album In The Shower has such a cool, mellow yet funky vibe, however my favorite song of Sagar's, Moon Woman, isn't on the album (but is thankfully on YouTube!). 

The Growlers: There's no better way to categorize The Growler's music than by calling it beach goth; it's a term they coined themselves and now use as a title for their own psychedelic music festival. Now that I'm living in freezing NYC, listening to their songs like Pet Shop Eyes and Someday makes me feel like I have a little piece of sunny LA in my back pocket. 

Lou Doillon: It's no surprise that Lou Doillon is a glorious singer, considering her mother is the iconic songstress Jane Birkin. If I'm not obsessing over her illustrations on Instagram, I listen to her album Places constantly. I think I've been playing Devil or Angel on repeat a little too often lately...


The Sweet Spot: Refined Sugar-Free Treats

     Most nights my sweet tooth is in full-throttle and you can call me a bit of a cookie monster. Indulging in sugary treats makes my tastebuds undeniably happy, however it isn't a healthy daily dessert routine. Lately I've been trying to cut back on the refined sugars by replacing them with natural fruit sugars. I have come up with some yummy recipes to boot! With only 3 ingredients each, these desserts are quite simple and truly hit the sweet spot.

Banana Honey Almond Ice Cream
1 ripe banana
1 teaspoon pure honey
2 teaspoons unsweetened almond milk

Slice the banana into coins and freeze for 2-3 hours. Remove the coins from the freezer and pulse them in a food processor until they have a thick soft serve-like consistency. Add the honey and almond milk and pulse until combined. Place mixture in a freezer-safe container and freeze until solid, then serve.

Warm Maple Cinnamon Strawberries 
6 ripe strawberries
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 pinch cinnamon

Preheat toaster oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Wash the strawberries and remove their leaves. Cut strawberries into quarters, and in a small bowl mix them with the maple syrup and cinnamon. Place the bowl in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes, or until the strawberries warm up and soften. Serve immediately. 


Ladies Who Lounge

Free People Losin It Romper, RH Baby & Child Luxe Faux Fur Pillow, UGG Fluff Clog, Zinke Quinn Cami & Fiona Panty, Morgan Lane Lanie Sleeping Mask, Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen by Bruce Weber, Kate Moss by Frederique Veysset

     When I find myself hanging around the house dressed in baggy sweatpants and an old hoodie that once lived in a Bat Mitzvah giveaway bag, I dream about lounging in more luxurious attire. The idea of staying at home for a day becomes so much less lazy and more romantic when you bring silky rompers and lacy camisoles into the picture. Baby pink fluffy slippers to wear and a cute bunny pillow to cuddle wouldn't hurt either!


Seeing Double: Men in White

     Yes, James Dean and Nicholas Hoult are both undeniably handsome, but the two also have some style similarities. In each of their films, Dean in East of Eden and Hoult in A Single Man, both men can be seen wearing head-to-toe white. The colorless costumes are a sure nod to the angelic qualities of each character. Holt, who plays Kenny in A Single Man, acts as a guardian angel to George (Colin Firth) who's in a downward spiral after the loss of lover. Dean, who plays Cal in East of Eden, may not first appear angelic due to his moodiness and angst, although he has pure intentions at heart while he tries to regain money for his father who lost a large sum from a failed business venture. Metaphorical meanings aside, these all white looks are exceptional regardless. It may be after labor day, but I'm all for sporting this white-collared look during winter.