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.
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! 🙂
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 want to capture confidence. There is no other feeling like knowing where your feet stand and in what direction you look towards. We are humans, and we have moments where we have no idea what path we are on, or even if we are on a path at all. I have been there and so have you. But you can keep venturing on until you figure it out. During your journey, through it’s ups and downs, you may discover something about yourself. I found that if I clean my whole office (organizing, redecorating and clorox wiping EVERYTHING) I get into this creative zone where I feel like I can tackle any idea. I keep learning things about myself and finding different sources of inspiration. When I finally decide I have found a path to follow, the things I learned when I was struggling a bit made me more confident to take on this new journey.
When I left San Diego for school, I left a best friend. She is a beautiful soul who found a passion for photography before I did. In sharing that love for seeing the world composed behind a lens, she sparked inspiration in me to follow this artistic path. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for her. She was the matchmaker of the camera and I.
I had the chance to come home and photograph her for a change. We took a trip down to a local winery on a beautiful overcast day (yes! I love that overcast!). I don’t even know how many times I made her jump in between those rows of grapevines. I can tell you it was a lot. Of course, she was willing. She understands the persistance that has to be behind every shot, just so you can get that perfect one. She also knew I was lying every time I said, “Okay, okay. Last jump. I promise. Alright step back a tad, make sure your arm is more at your side…okay onetwothree jump!” She is the best.
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.
Did you know that if you darken a whole room, and let a small circle of light shine through the window, you can create your own pinhole camera? Science man. After a lot of cardboard, duck tape, and a 30 second shutter speed, I was able to bring into my bathroom the image outside the window. I figured this was a sweet opportunity to create a bizarre self-portrait. As you can probably tell from my photography so far, the quirky and unusual things in life serve as a means of inspiration for me. I try to find things in day to day life that breaks the monotony of it; things that remind me that life can be interesting and exciting if I remember to keep an eye open for ’em.
For my lifestyle class, I turned in more video than I did stills. My portfolio ended up being a video reel. I want to revisit this video and tweak some things, but the feel of the video is relaxed and fun, which is the most important to me. And it definitely shows my style 🙂 Enjoy!