So, it just occurred to me that we are already in the fourth month of 2014 and unfortunately I have been seriously neglecting my blog posting for the year, as this is my first post! I will be better about posting going forward and can’t wait to share the work I’ve been doing as well as the amazing projects I’ve got lined up for the next couple of months!
I hope the year has been good to you thus far and that you are excited about the Spring, I know I have been seriously jonesing for this warm weather to arrive since my trip to Oregon at the end of February and I’m excited that the temperature is finally where it was while we were on the west coast! We went out to Portland to visit some friends who moved there a few years ago who we’ve been promising to visit literally since they moved. Jae did a bit of a guest spot at our friends Joe and Dominic’s tattoo studio, Dead Gods Tattoo and I planned a few photo shoots while we were out there so I could get a chance to work with some new faces on the west coast.
Now, I should go back a bit in time and explain how and why I organized the shoots that I did while I was in Portland…
In January, I decided that I really need to give myself a personal project for the year to allow myself to explore some creative concepts in the midst of the fashion, beauty and portraiture that I usually focus on, and I really wanted to work on getting a cohesive body of fine art work together. I have a tendency to wander in my interests photographically, which allows me to explore a lot of outlets and ideas, but makes for a strange assortment of work in my portfolio. I spent a few weeks pondering what makes me happy when creating fine art images and what concepts I fall back on again and again that I have a passion for creating. I realized that my favorite images have a few things in common, which I should concentrate on: they have a painterly feel, they are inspired by classical paintings in lighting and posing- especially work created during the Italian Renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age, and they have a fantastical or supernatural subject matter. Using these three ideas to focus my project, I finally decided on: The Female Archetype Project. This project will explore female archetypes using images depicting mythological female characters throughout the world. I am really excited to be able to revisit some of my studies from college comparing religions and various mythologies, comparing ideas and finding the concepts which seem to be universal. My hope is to be able to put a book together with all the images as well as some explanations of the archetypes, sharing the research I’ll be doing into these concepts!
Now, back to Oregon!
So, in preparation for my trip, I put out a casting call on Model Mayhem in hopes of finding a model or two I would be able to work with while I was out there. Because I would be planning from across the country and had no contacts in the modeling world in Oregon, I figured it would be my best bet to plan to work on the Female Archetype Project while I was there, vs attempting to find a full team of hair/makeup/wardrobe for a fashion-based concept. After going back and forth with a few different models, I settled on three who were interested in creating some mythological figures, had great work in their portfolios already and were available on the day I would have a vehicle and would be able to drive to locations. We started throwing around goddess ideas and decided on Oonagh, Queen of the Fairies (or Queen Mab or Titania) for Alley, Persephone for Mary and finally Morrigan for Shawna. Because they were all from the Vancouver, WA area I decided that the hour-long drive to them made the most sense, since they were far more familiar with that area than the Portland area.
I was lucky that my friend Erica Templeman was interested in creating a dress for Oonagh because she loved the concept, and she made a gorgeous piece that really made the images perfect! She also amazingly created the entire dress from entirely thrifted elements!! I also made a couple of flower wreath headpieces to go with the concept, which brought the wardrobe together! Mary and Shawna brought their own wardrobe and props and really went all out! I was lucky that they were so passionate about their concepts and were dedicated to putting together the perfect pieces for their goddess characters. Alley also found a hair stylist/ makeup artist to assist us with her slightly more complicated look, and it rounded out the team quite nicely.
I started the day meeting Alley at her place in Vancouver and getting her into her wardrobe after she had been getting her hair and makeup done for a couple hours. I unfortunately got lost on the way and ended up being 30 minutes late, which did actually work out because they were just finishing up hair and makeup when I arrived. We got Alley into her dress, jumped into the car and headed to the first location, a beautiful huge tree in the middle of a field. We took some great photos of the dress (before we got it dirty) and makeup, as well as exploring a few ideas about what a fairy queen might be doing in a field. We had a quick makeup change and headed to our second location, which was an amazingly beautiful forest down the road. The trees were HUGE and everything was green- covered in moss and lichen, a truly magical little world. We tromped through the woods looking for the perfect setting for our queen and Alley led us to a beautiful tree which had fallen over, revealing the root system, which made a lovely throne. With rain constantly threatening, we set up the lighting, and started shooting to get as much material to work with for composites, exploring different poses and positions. We worked fairly quickly and got what we needed in about 30 minutes, which was amazing!
After dropping Alley back off, Jae and I headed to another location on the other side of Vancouver; a beautiful state forest abutting a lake. As we waited for Mary and Shawna to arrive, it started pouring out. I was determined that we would not call of the shoot, as long as the rain lightened up a little bit, we’d be able to stay and work through both concepts. We did a bit of recon to see where on the main path would have the most coverage from the rain and also had interesting features and found a few places that I could see us working from. Shawna and Mary arrived a little bit later and started getting into their wardrobe and makeup. With everyone set to go, I loaded up on plastic trash bags to cover my lights and camera if necessary, grabbed our umbrellas and props and headed into the woods. It was definitely a tricky situation shooting in the rain, also having to move aside for the dozen or so people who passed us on the path while we were working. But, we got both Shawna and Mary’s concepts completed and none of the equipment got wet!
Here are final images from all three shoots!
and the image created for the Female Archetype Project
And the image for the Female Archetype Project
And Finally, Shawna:
Thank you to everyone who was involved in making these amazing images: Alley Blom, Mary Ward, Shawna Colton, Brittany Nowers, and Erica Templeman as well as Joe for letting Jae and I crash at his place, and his lovely other half Jen who let us borrow her car, and of course my husband Jae who was my chauffeur and voice-activated light stand for the day!