In music, are you more interested in the notes or the space between? Do you listen first to the vocals or the percussion? It’s fascinating how as individuals, we can hear the same thing, so differently.
I might be entirely wrong about this because I don’t always know what I don’t know, and I certainly am frequently too close to see myself objectively; however, when people hire me for branding photos, I believe they’re hiring me because they want something unique to their brand and different from the norm. I say this because everyone has a camera at their fingertips, and you probably know at least three photographers.
I created these photographs with Rich Malloy , and on our initial call, he said, “I love what you did with Lauren.” I swallowed. At once, I felt full of pride and also fear. Pride because I absolutely love that set I created with her. Fear because I never quite know if I can replicate my artistic process in a unique way that’s relevant to each person. Perhaps, that fear is just imposter syndrome. Or, maybe it’s that I feel invested in the product and service that I’m offering to people.
So, I do it scared.
I knew I wanted to use layers of shadow and light, texture, motion via long exposures and double exposures to bring to life the undertones that percussion brings to life in music. And, I overshot the session because the weather was gloomy which is par for the course in mid December, and I was in Rich’s incredible studio, but that means I don’t know the lighting in the way that I do my own studio. As usual, I awaited the film scans with about as much patience as a toddler waits for Christmas. When I received them, I was blown away. So was Rich.
This feels like an exceptional session on which to end such a strange year.
On the fall equinox last week, I created these photos with my longtime friend and spiritual mentor, Lauren Wessinger. Lauren is an incredible mom, wife, yoga teacher, mindfulness instructor, Buddhist practitioner, and spirit. She teaches virtually via an online membership for $30/month where she offers yoga, meditation, mindfulness for kids, a beginner series, and continuing education for yoga and meditation teachers. This month, she’s doing a series entitled Mindful October. I can’t wait to sit with her. Check it out HERE.
I’ve watched her teach throughout the pandemic with amazement. Sometimes I turn on a yoga class and I begin to do what she says, and then I roll around and do what I want, and around the 40 minute mark without fail, I get up to sweep the floor or wipe down a counter top. This says nothing about her teaching and everything about my attention span and obsessive behaviors. Yet, never do I regret having turned the class on and done a little bit. She tells me “Some is better than nothing.” As someone who’s long been an all or nothing kind of person, I need her perspective.
She wanted some photographs that were more detail oriented for yoga postures. I wanted to capture the movement of the body and energy involved in yoga. I never found exactly what I was looking for online. I told her “The ideas are in my head,” and because of our history she just showed up and trusted me to create something. For my technical followers, these photos are either Cinestill 35 mm 800T film or medium format Portra 800. The double exposures were all done in camera on a tripod. My friend is 5’11”, so I stood on an apple box. I used one Profoto B10 in my studio with natural, overcast light. It was pretty dreary that morning.
When I received the film back from Richard Photo Lab, I was pretty amazed. What came to me was: art is essential. This art will always remind me of this time: 2020, the change of seasons, how much I’d missed my friend, the chaos and the simplicity, the shadow and the light. And, for me, to create art, I must sit and feel, pause and breathe, lean in and let go. I am grateful to Lauren for holding the space for me and so many to do that.
I like to work in-studio. A few reasons off the top of my head:
1. It has air conditioning.
2. I don’t have to worry about ruining / forgetting / losing any of my equipment.
3. I have hairspray and a restroom and all kinds of things you might need for a photo shoot.
4. The lighting is consistent, regardless of the weather.
5. I am no longer 20 years old which means my back doesn’t really love schlepping cameras and lights and thousands of dollars of heavy equipment with me.
6. I honestly think the best work I do is done in-studio.
7. Natural light is not (always) the best light.
8. It’s contained meaning toddlers cannot run too far.
9. It’s a space that is designed to bring about a sense of relaxation and photographs can be stressful and vulnerable for some people.
10. I have coffee and Topo Chico readily available.
Anyway, I can’t tell you how many times people say, “I’d love outdoor, natural light photos,” and I do that. I’ve done that for years. I do that well. But, I don’t know that I do it well in August. Nor July. June is a tossup. May might be showers or flowers. April always gets rescheduled. March might bring a pandemic. February is too cold for my taste. And January, well, that’s generally a time when my phone doesn’t ring because the holidays broke everyone’s bank. I don’t work in December…I do holiday cards. That’s my work. Haha! I don’t photograph in December though because Black Friday and all of the product photography generally threatens to send me under the covers screaming.
So, for outdoors in Texas, that leaves September, October, and November. I’m putting together my fall calendar and I’m excited about some upcoming sessions at golden hour with families I’ve photographed for years.
For this senior portrait session, he said, “Let’s keep it simple,” and he didn’t want to be sweating all over the westside of Fort Worth, so he came in to my studio at a leisurely 10 am, and he left before 11 am to go about his life. I just want you to see what magic can occur in-studio. For seniors, I always need to produce a pulled-back photo for the yearbook along with some other editorial inspired photos that make you look like you just stepped out of a magazine, some portraits the parents and grandparents will love, and some portraits that push the edges on what’s possible creatively. I love how this set turned out.
If you’re interested in setting up a studio session, send me a message, or you can find my calendar HERE, where you can book a call or a session.