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.
I like to ask my followers and friends to complete this sentence: “it took a pandemic for me to…”
It took a pandemic for me to find the studio space of my dreams. For the past three years, I’ve subleased community studios in town, and as grateful as I am for the flexibility to lease space only when I need it…I need space. I am creative only when I have the space to create. Quiet, solo space.
I found this studio in the beginning of April, right after everything closed. The timing seemed awful, except that for perhaps the first time in the history of my career, I had time to furnish a new space. I moved all of my equipment out of the closet in my son’s room. I have a permanent studio on West Vickery, a glorious 0.6 miles from my home– close enough to come home for lunch and far enough away to leave my work when I come home.
This was the first of many narrative brand sessions I’ll do here with Marty Young, who’s a life coach and entrepreneur who sells clothing for Savvi and some products to help women live well. The vibe was bright and airy, fun and feminine. It allowed me to blend my love of portraits and product work. It was seamless– other than all of the covid-19 stuff leading up to when we could safely do the shoot.
And, Marty mentioned how comfortable I made her feel, which really warmed my heart. I feel as if my work as a photographer is not just to create well lit and composed images that tell a story, I know how nerve wracking it can be to be photographed, so I want the people who trust me to feel at ease in my presence. She is incredibly fit and didn’t want to intimidate people with her physical strength, but when I see these photos, I feel inspired to move my body and celebrate what it can do. I hope you do, too.