I literally went on a day trip to Mammoth. After graduation I went home to San Diego, and my dad asked if I wanted to drive up to Mammoth where he had to do some measurements on a cabin and other general contractory stuff. I was in a car for a total of 14 hours to spend half a day there. Was it worth it? Of course. Got to spend some quality time with the pops, and I was able snap the most delightful picture of a chipmunk stuffing his fat little cheeks. I was no kidding, 2 and a half-ish fee away from him. Obviously he knew he was cute, and knew I was there to capture his cuteness (I would have actually captured him and taken him home if it wasn’t, you know, against the law…). Aside from the chipmunk shot, which was easily the highlight of my day, the rest of Mammoth was gorgeous. Everything looked so crisp. The place was just begging for snow, and I can only imagine how beautiful it is with a white blanket. The air was still and sounds were seldom. I felt small in such a vast landscape. It’s strange how nature develops, where everything, the rocks, the trees, the mountains, are perfectly placed.
After a bit of adventuring with my good high school friend, Ian, and his Grandma (my dad was working on their cabin), we set out for lunch at the Yodler Restaurant. Boy do I appreciate a pretzel larger than the size of my face paired with a cold beer, especially after a bit of walking. The place was right next to the ski lifts, which looked weird hanging above a grassy slope. But I hardly paid attention to my surroundings as I was too busy stuffing my face. Did I mention my friends call me chip (short for chipmunk…) Thanks Tara.
Lastly, we arrived at the cabin, and I was greeted by a fat dog named George, and a wiggly little guy named Bob. I fell in love with both. Just look at George’s underbite. Can you handle it? I can’t. If it were up to me, I would have happily left Mammoth with two dogs and a chipmunk. But all I have are these pictures…sigh. Maybe one day…
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to shoot a catalog for Asher Market. Upon looking up the company (which is owned by two awesome sisters), I instantly became obsessed with their products. Not that “Oh super cute I’d love to have that” sort of obsessed. I justified needing every product on that site. EVERY. PRODUCT. Sure, I live in “sunny” Santa Barbara. But have you ever heard of June gloom? It gets chilly here in the mornings! How darling I would look strolling down State Street, all toasty in my new poncho, maybe a vanilla latte in hand. Of course, I would also need to have all of their shawls and scarves, you know, for when its not cold enough for a poncho but I still need to be stylish and warm. All the colors, for all the days of the week. It’s not asking for much…and when I get home, I have my choice of cozy alpaca blankets to get my snuggle on.
I guess what I am saying is, I wish it were a bit colder here. Perfect weather all the time is fine and dandy when you don’t have these ponchos to wear. But I do.
Our lovely model was Sophie Yamauchi! This gorgeous lady, get this, has never modeled before. Whaaaaaat. She worked it better than many other models I have worked with. The shoot went flawlessly. A couple of the images you see here are outtakes from that day. The chosen catalog images should be up soon on the Asher Market website at https://www.ashermarket.com/
and you should also follow Asher Market on Instagram: @ashermarket
But what you should do, before bouncing from his post, is check out the products. Become obsessed like me. That way, I know it’s not just me 🙂
And here’s our little crew: Ashley Hayes (one of the owners), Sophie and me! I’m actually not short. I’m an average 5′ 5.5″ Sophie is just crazy tall.
Okay. So Bailey is not wild, at least not personality wise. In fact, she is the exact opposite. She is very collected and mature (much more mature than most people my age!), and I was so intrigued at how a twelve year old could have so much ambition. I think this confidence and sense of being really translated into her images. I have worked with so many models who have moments of being unsure during, which is completely understandable. But to my surprise, this girl I met while working at the deli turns out to be one of the best (and most fun!) models to work with. It was so difficult to choose the photos to blog about!
I suppose for many photographers, people become a canvas. The expressions and actions they direct are the movements of their own sort of “paintbrush.” But sometimes, when I’m feelin a little artsy, I literally make my models a canvas. Why not dig out the paint and do something unexpected? I love having a blank canvas in front of me. Sure, its process to the finished image, but no one says you can’t have fun with it. Paint some eyeballs, some lips, maybe a tree…anything! It’s your project!
As always, my lovely model Audrey Mangiameli doing her thang! Whipping that hair! 🙂
So I have my weeks. They are the weeks where I swear I have lost my mind. This week has been that kind of week. The to-do list becomes this evil thing looming over your head.
You have been there, haven’t you?
But then you have to remember why you have this list: you are creating opportunities. You create opportunities because you have the drive, and you know you have it in you to handle the responsibilities you put on yourself. You have it in you to take one thing at a time, and check off the to-do list like champ. And you know what? The list never ends! But that’s okay because you know what you can handle, what you can attack easily and what you can chip at until you can check it off the list. It’s all about keeping your cool, and knowing that some things are just out of your control. You do what you can, and hold fast to the motivation that gets you from point A to point B.
Thank you to my beautiful model Sophie Merkley! You rocked those sassy shades like no one’s business in that freezing water!
Variety is everything! Humans get bored. It’s what we do. If we see the same look over and over we eventually lose interest. Keep your viewers in mind when you shoot. How many personalities can you show in that short amount of time? You can’t just expect your model to conjure up all of the expressions you have in your head. You are the director! So where to get inspiration…?
Here are some boards I find to be inspiring when I need ideas for expression
Isn’t it funny to recall the way you thought a few years ago? The things that made sense to you, and the things you were so sure of; sometimes you look back and think “wow, I was so weird/ I was such an idiots sometimes.” But maybe you look back and you miss that mind. I miss my high school mind sometimes, because I took on challenges I created for myself with that “why not?” mindset. The photographer in me was obsessed. I asked everyone I knew to model for me. I would have them come over after school, and then I would do their makeup and dress them in clothes I splurged on at the salvation army (40% off Wednesdays whooop!). I craved the bizarre. The more out-of-the-box the better. Art for art’s sake, and art because I loved it.
Then you get to school and you learn the do’s and dont’s of photography. You learn wonderful things and you fall in love with light. You learn all the technical things you thought were once so out of your capacity for understanding. But you have to be so careful to not lose a once motivated mind. It’s still there, but it’s scared to come out because the last time you used it, you overexposed, you had uneven lighting, and you were out of focus. You realize you neglected that side of you to be correct. You need to be a perfectionist. I get it, you artist you.
But remember, you can only be so correct in the technical parts, and then you are just as good as the other people who have mastered the technical parts too. You only get better when you push your creativity further than technically correct. Sometimes your own guidelines are the most important. When you are finished with the school’s guidelines, do some shots for you. Even if it isn’t photography. Maybe it’s writing, cooking, decorating or building something. You know you more than I do. Didn’t you know you are still allowed to play? 🙂
I feel like my brain is always at war with itself. My right brain is an this forever active eccentric lunatic, throwing fits when I don’t make the time to release creative energy. I always find things during the day that inspire me, and tuck them away into a corner of my noggin to attack later. My right brain hates this, but the logical left side of my brain reminds me that I have school, and work, and groceries to buy and assignments to plan…the list is quite daunting. Recently I have become anxious because I have stored so many ideas away, that I have forgotten what excited me about them in the first place. As the ideas pile, I become overwhelmed and start to dismiss the projects that once sparked that passionate artist in me. This makes me sad and frustrated, and I feel guilty for not feeding this creativity that has gotten me to where I am today.
So for my New Years resolution, I decided to paint a new painting each week. I don’t mean to start a painting to only let it die in its beginning sketched out stages; I need to dedicate time to my art. It feed my souls and makes me happy, and It’s an easy promise I can make to myself. I am aware I am in a time in my life, like so many people, where there are so many things to accomplish that require our full attention. But it is important not to forget what you thrive on. In my case, as an artist, I thrive on creativity and turning inspiration into a tangible expression. But we all have the simple things in our life that make us happiest; the things that drive us to better ourselves as human beings. Don’t abandon the simple things, because chances are they will always bring joy to your life. Self fulfillment ins’t a luxury, it’s a choice.
My blog posting needs to be less sporadic. Trying to organize an artist’s mind is fruitless. Too many ideas and too little time to sort them. But hey! A new post yay! (finally…) In my Creative Digital Imaging class our assignment was to create five black and white images cropped into squares. They didn’t have to be cohesive, but I took this as an opportunity to create some images that really encompassed my love for bizarre things. I think it’s important to push the limits of your creativity, as weird as the work may be. When you are not afraid to create art, you let go of that impulse to edit your work, and the art really become something that is entirely your own. I approached this project with the phrase “I am at home…” Some people say that they are more at home in the water than they are on land (think swimmers, surfers…). But the overarching idea is that everyone has a place they feel most home at, and it does not necessarily need to be a house. Personally, I am torn between my little art room and Costco (especially during PRIME sample time mmmm). Your home, your sanctuary, and your place of peace; they are very important. They are essential for artists.
My model Lauren Spooner was such a trooper. Even with the small window of time to shoot, the waves we had to fight through, and all of the props she had to work with, she was incredible. At one point we lost the mug. But then we found it. And by that I mean she had to dive underwater and get it. I was hoping to get some actual portrait shots of her, but we ran out of time 😦 So expect those portraits at some point in the future posts!
I love photographing Audrey. We went to the same high school, but never really knew each other. One day I saw on Facebook she moved to Santa Barbara, and I asked her to model for an assignment. She has been one of my closest friends ever since, and she is always saving my ass when I need a model ASAP. The best thing about having Audrey model is that she has so many expressions. My favorite is when she models with this sort of quirky, awkward beauty. She is one of the least vain people I know (and she definitely has her funny awkward moments!), so It captures her perfectly.