The Mother Daughter Bond

“A daughter is a miracle that never ceases to be miraculous.” The mother-daughter bond.  Few things are like it.  It is a bond of beauty, vulnerability, and love.  A short while back, Kristen contacted me about shooting a conceptual mother-daughter series.  She wanted to capture the preciousness of her relationship with her daughter Ruby in a portrait that would resemble fine art. The photo she hoped to emulate was a soft vintage photograph. This is the kind of shoot a photographer dreams about. To prepare for the shoot, I studied the poses of vintage photographs and old paintings.  I sketch out poses with the goal of emulating and learning from the beauty of the pose, while leaving room for individuals to make it their own. The light couldn’t have been anymore perfect or magical! These photos also represent generational love and the miracle of life.  For Kristen and James, little Ruby, living up to her name, is precious as a gem.  She was a miracle baby born at 24 weeks and weighing only 1 pound 8 ounces.  Surpassing all odds and shattering statistics, she proved that especially a life so tiny is a gift.  For Kristen, a woman who had always dreamed of being a mother; and who, as a little girl, lined up her dolls pretending they were her children; Ruby was a lifetime longing come true. Kristen explained that 7 years ago today, September 11th 2008, her water broke at 22 weeks.  Kristen, James, and the Doctors feared they would loose her. “The Dr’s told us that I should just get up and walk around to not prolong the inevitable. They had no...

The Shore of Luminescence

Darling, brilliant is the light that has carried you back to the surface. These waters are silver and the shore is gilded in gold.   There are moments when you are the light in a darkened place, and others when lights encompasses and dances around you. Has your situation ever been illuminated for you? Behind the Scenes Kristy, the lovely lady in these photographs, is one of my dearest friends.  She is such a light to be around.  I desperately wanted to take some photographs on the beach but had an overwhelming feeling that I was inconveniencing the group of people I was with.  See, it was still at least an hour before the light would be right on the beach… then add on shooting time.  Thankfully everyone was extremely gracious! If you have ever tried shooting photos at the beach, you know how harsh the light can be, even in the evening.  Unless its cloudy, there is typically only an hour in the morning and evening where the light can be glorious.   When we set out it was still extremely bright.   So we searched the island’s edge for a section in shadow.  Not too far down we found the loveliest of nooks!  It looked like a secret beach… but that’s for another post.  On out way back (and slightly discouraged) we found this magnificent patch of light! Once we hit the beach it looked as though the water was liquid silver and the shore was composed of golden stones. *Editing Hint*  When shooting a back-lit scene, make sure you are shooting RAW.  By doing so you can pull...

Light Keeper

Here come real stars to fill the upper skies, And here on earth come emulating flies, That though they never equal stars in size, (And they were never really stars at heart) Achieve at times a very star-like start. Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.” Robert Frost Tiny lights shimmer and speckle summer nights. Why do fireflies never sustain a consistent glow? They flicker to and fro. I wonder if we are all like fireflies, an incongruous brightening and diminishing light. How can you keep the light? Creating “Light Keeper” August 19th was an absolutely fantastic Wednesday!  Why?  Because David Talley brought Concept Collaboration to Buffalo for a meet-up!  Which brings us to this picture.  Meet Gus Castillo. He’s a pretty fantastic fellow and was a great model.   He went to high school  with David back in LA.  Around four and a half years ago, he joined the Air Force as a Photojournalist.  After spending a year in Florida he was off to Germany for three years, and after getting into the Newhouse School, He is now in Syracuse.  Also, he loves naps… and eating, lots of eating (his words not mine!). We went out to shoot at Akron Falls park, its was a lovely scene with photographers and strangely dressed models scampering all across the rocks and waterfall.  I wanted to create an image with an old light bulb, so of course this photo involved turning a day scene into night… as you can see below!  (Special thanks to Robert Cornelius for inspiring me to start using GIFs!) And now for a detail shot! And closer! Much...

When Life Hits (Pause) 365

Another year on pause. Another year of limbo, in between, almost there but not quite yet. This is the first fall I’m not returning to school.  In may I completed my masters degree, instead of it ending with an  “!”  it ended with a   “. . .”   now what? Now I have a confession, life isn’t going the way I had it planned. This was supposed to be the year that I got into my dream MFA program, the one that would give me the credentials and experience needed to eventually become a professor.  The program was full and I need apply again, I need to wait until next year.  This was the year I could have gotten a full time job as an art teacher.  I came in second, instead, I will be a substitute teacher again. In a lot of ways I feel like I am caught in the middle of   “. . .”   waiting for the next big thing to happen. This is another year on pause because it’s a waiting period.  Pause is a time for new beginnings. The beautiful thing about pause is that it gives you time that may not have been afforded before.  Imagine what you could do with a year that suddenly (unexpectedly) becomes empty.  Imagine what an artist can do with a blank canvas.  While in the midst of this “wait a little longer” I am going to hush my incessantly worrying mind and harness opportunity.  There is a “resume” button on the horizon. This year, every day I will post a new photograph.  Note that I said “post”...

Butterflies with broken wings.

“Today my forest is dark. The trees are sad and all the butterflies have broken wings.” –Raine Cooper There is a brevity to beauty. Every day is between two bookends of a watercolor sky. A caterpillar gives way to wings and soon after sets as the sun. The forest is dark. The trees are sad. The butterfly’s wings are broken. Outtakes I still loved the following photos, but they didn’t quite make the cut and didn’t tell the story the way I wanted to convey it.  Also, I owe a huge thank you to Lizzy for braving the insects of the forest!  Not only did she lay on the ground, snuggle a tree, and walk barefoot, but she also became an evening snack for mosquito’s (sorry dear!). Before/After Before we left the forest I caught a glint of red in Lizzy’s hair.  It was a moment that I could have easily passed by without a thought but I asked Lizzy to stay there for a moment.  When I lifted the camera, the most beautiful light leak appeared.  This series was about the butterflies and the light looked like wings!  After seeing the image SOOC I was determined to do as little editing as possible with the goal of enhancing the existing beauty....

Deep Calls To Deep

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. -Psalm 42:7   Deep calls to deep In the roar of your waterfalls All your waves and breakers Have swept over me. I had the lovely opportunity to photograph Rebecca again.  She’s effortlessly graceful and made it quite difficult to narrow down my selection.  So basically that means you get to enjoy some extra delightful outtakes! Outtakes And Extras…    ...

Lit by Fire

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light…” The air is thick with mist,walking through it feels more like swimming than breathing.  From a distance it looks like a cloud has descended to mingle with the trees of the forest.  It is the lovely sort of opportunity that is difficult to pass up. After scrambling a few costumes together we struggle embark down the muddy forest path.  In the midst of the mist beneath the canopy of leaves, the blue light is dying.  Disgruntled, discouraged, chilly, and the choice meal for mosquito’s, we attempt to shoot. The images are grainy, dark, and muddy.  Suddenly a warm glow illuminates the scene casting fierce shadows. Fire. Without realizing it, she had discovered the solution to our scene.  When there is no light, create it. “She slept with wolves without fear, for the wolves knew a lion was among them.” -R. M. Drake “She was like the moon—part of her was always hidden away.”― Dia Reeves   Oh yeah… and as a treat for your eyes: an unrelated explosion from earlier this summer! Yay!!! When the forest’s burning there’s no turning to say farewell. How do you calm something with an insatiable desire to...

Sisters of a Kind: Without a Plan

When I first started taking photographs, planning was on the back burner.  I would simply grab my camera and go.  Over the years the enthusiastic spontaneity began to be replaced by calculated planning.  Both are creative and have their advantages… and disadvantages. Now I’m attempting to find a treatise between the two.  A place where I can create a structure, within which, I can move freely. The Structure By structure I mean a solid frame to build off of or within.  That might be a location, prop, costume, or model.  Whatever the structure is, you base your decisions off of it. The Spontaneity Spontaneity is where creative freedom comes into play.  There is no way to be able know the exact conditions of a shoot; that can be amazing or disappointing.  If you go into a shoot with the expectation that something will catch you off guard and surprise you, chances are you will capture a raw, unintended, wonderful moment. “Sister’s of a Kind” This sort of planned spontaneity is how the short series “Sister’s of a Kind” happened.  I knew two things: 1) where I wanted to shoot and 2) who I wanted to shoot.  As for concept: clueless.  The location was relatively new to me (and as a waterfall, its power is dependent on whether it’s rained in the past few days or not).  Going into it without a plan was nerve wracking, but the process was exciting, relaxing, adventurous and fun.  Like a mental/creative retreat. (Don’t get me wrong, I love planning out each detail too!  That’s why I have the “Wall Art” series!!!) “If you...

Flutter By

Butterflies and moths are delicately enchanting, but sadly transient. Their beauty flutters by and in a moment is gone. The ancient Greeks called the butterfly “Psyche” and associated it with a person’s “soul” or “breath.”

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...

Pin It on Pinterest