BTS: The Birds In Shed

BTS: The Birds In Shed

  I usually begin a shoot with a pen and paper.  My sketching style is rather rough, but it helps to get concepts through and solve problems visually.  I began with two images in mind: 1) a bird nest lined with hair with blue eggs, and 2) Rebecca releasing her hair into the wind. Surprisingly, the photos were nearly identical to my sketches (something that *very* rarely happens). Before making the photos I needed to put together the “look” of the scene and find/create props.  Rebecca had saved her hair in a bag for me after my brother Zachariah shaved her head, the nest was sitting in a bush all winter (I retrieved it while it was full of snow, long before any birds were even thinking about coming back to Buffalo), and the feathers were purchased from Michael’s. I already had the blue dress in my costume closet but the other details needed to be fabricated.   I began with the “wings,” using sheer fabric cut and gathered in a diamond shape, a yard of lace, and feathers!  Next I began working on the rope necklace (this part was waaaay more complicated than I anticipated, and it got tangled in everything!!!).             Then all that was left was the shoot itself!  The best time to do something like this happens to fall on the few days right before a new round of chemo (which is on a 21 day cycle). Unfortunately, it was a rather chilly day (which seems to be common whenever she models for me). Anyways, here are a few outtakes...
The Birds In Shed

The Birds In Shed

This project is, perhaps, the most meaningful series I have ever captured.  At the initial planning stage I almost decided to forgo it, scared that I would be unable to do the subject matter justice.  I was also terrified to ask Rebecca to model in it.   I dearly hope that this resonates with you at some level.           Early this year in January, Rebecca received her diagnosis: Lymphoma.  Despite the signs, it came as a shock for all of us.  She has always been the strong, independent one, the one who steps up to help but generally doesn’t need help back.  Abruptly she became the vulnerable one.  The beautiful thing about vulnerability though, is that strength is proven more formidable in feebleness than in strength.  Now, months later she only has one more round of chemo before she is cancer-free! Many of the grand adventures in our lives begin with a push that thrusts us out of comfort. This push sets a new momentum in our lives. For the lady in this photo, her grand adventure was bestowed upon her, not by choice, and it is one that she must walk forward into. It is through the toughest moments of a journey that test and prove who we are. The most difficult hours and days refine us into beautiful strong people. “The Birds In Shed” series is a story full of symbolism about a girl who’s battle is quiet and who’s victory is magnificent. Instances in life have a way of forcing a person to pause and consider.  I believe that everything happens for...

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