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Emily Stein’s nostalgia-filled photographs of a Hackney music class for Stella Kids


The second part of a new series for Stella Kids by designer Stella McCartney, sees photographer and filmmaker Emily Stein behind the lens. The result is a nostalgia-filled and joyful series of images of music students aged between six and 13 at Queensbridge School, Hackney.

Stella McCartney’s designs, both stylish and playful, come to life in Emily’s shoot which gives the garments an authentic personality, “shooting them on charismatic kids with a real passion”. The concept of celebrating music is an idea Emily has been toying with for a while, consequently the direction is a representation of a school setting many will fondly remember. “I wanted the photographs to have a nostalgic old school portrait feel – so the classic blue cloud backdrop felt like a perfect fit,” says Emily. “Obviously, the styling for this shoot was crucial — the amazing stylist Janine Eveson did a brilliant job of making the clothing look fantastic, and it totally works with the dated feel that I wanted.”

The children featured are each students at Queensbridge School in Hackney “a very eclectic school run by a very bonkers head teacher, who seems to encourage the children to be adventurous and creative as they can,” Emily explains. Each of the children vary in age and attitude, each with a mutual enthusiasm for music that is as palpable as it is adorable. “When we are young we don’t have the words, so I think music can feel even more important. It was great to be able to shoot a short film as well as the photographs — for the kids to be able to talk a little about their passion."

The shoot day involved the photographer taking a number of leaps of faith. “It was really boiling hot day in the beginning of July, I was heavily pregnant (I gave birth to my daughter a week after the shoot). We were shooting a film and photographs in one school day with a tiny crew and none of the kids and ever been in front of a camera!”

Nevertheless, the results definitely paid off: “The kids were, obviously, all absolutely amazing — the main aim was to try and make them feel comfortable enough to allow them to be themselves. To capture their personalities and their natural reaction reaction to being in front of the camera and playing their instruments,” says Emily. “Their interviews really surprised me — I asked them a few varied questions — I was worried they may really clam up and not be able to think of what to say, but they were very open and natural, which was amazing.”

You can watch the full film here.


Emily Stein: Stella Kids


Emily Stein: Stella Kids


Emily Stein: Stella Kids


Emily Stein: Stella Kids


Emily Stein: Stella Kids


Emily Stein: Stella Kids