The concept of a sanctuary is a theme that runs throughout much of my work, although not a sanctuary in the strictly religious sense. A sanctuary to me is that place you can go that you feel a sense of calm in, a safe place from the sometimes harrowing outside world and the people in it. I'm an anxious person, sometimes for a specific reason, but sometimes for no reason at all. Photography has been a huge help in alleviating the tidal wave of anxiety that sometimes feels like it might overflow, so in a way photography has been my sanctuary in the past. However, this year scheduling shoots has made me especially anxious. You know how when you don't do something for awhile, you're kind of scared to start again? Because maybe it won't be like riding a bike where you instinctively remember the way your body is supposed to balance? That's been photography this year for me, many delayed start-ups. But I was reservedly excited when Tyler contacted me about shooting again, it's been awhile and we always have fun creating together, but then all of the sudden Madeleine was coming too and they told me they were dressing all in white with their platinum hair, and the "Oh my god what am I actually going to do with them when they come??" started going off in my head. But then I remembered this Viburnum bush's snowy white blossoms that I'd been admiring that week. They bloom so beautifully and heavily for such a short period of time, the bees buzzing around them lost in the stupor of heady nectar. And even though Tyler mentioned studio, once they got there I was explaining to them that we had to walk down the road and take pictures in front of this giant viburnum on the side of the road, and we did. The resulting photos are the kind of sanctuary I often crave: the safe place in Nature where beauty is so bountiful that somehow you feel like you're part of it and that perhaps you're becoming it, or perhaps you always have been part of it but are finally coming out of the cocoon that you've been in for so long. The scorching heat burns your skin, but it only makes the perfumed air all the more heavier. And you feel safe and maybe this is a dream, but it's such a beautiful dream that you don't really mind if it's all a mirage brought on by the searing heat. Because you are safe.
At the very end of Summer last year, Roarie came back to town. She's an incredible traveling art nude + fashion model, and I have been privileged to now have photographed her 6 different times! We met through Model Mayhem back in the day when I was first starting out, and I am super thankful that happened! On this shoot, Ricky Lindsay and I talked about how we wanted to go back to our roots and shoot a mermaid look at the beach. We had a lot of different concepts in mind, and not a lot of time to plan it in (and especially not a lot of time for Ricky to make anything new). I suggested using a dress I had shot in the studio with pearls, since pearls are very mermaid-like in my mind. Then, we used a vintage sequined top I had thrifted, because of the shininess akin to fish scales and the top's beautiful beaded coral on the front. But the stunning masterpiece of the shoot was the sheer mermaid tail made out of a nude stretch knit and a celadon flowing chiffon. I was very concerned that the people on the beach would give us a hard time because of the sheer tail, but it was on a Friday and more than anything, people were just super excited to see a mermaid on the beach! We had more people interrupting us asking about photos than at any other shoot I've been on (not going to lie, I tend to not shoot on public property for this very reason, it's a bit annoying when you're trying to work with constantly changing light). However, not getting any negative comments made it worth it. Overall, this was definitely in my top 5 photoshoots of 2015, because of the great team and also how well the weather/lighting cooperated with us! I came out of this shoot with some serious sunburn and feeling pretty dehydrated (Ricky and I were practically delirious from sun exposure and lack of fluids while we were driving back home, thank goodness for Dunkin Donuts and their frozen Coolatta). I also was extremely excited to have this published in Atlas Magazine's Enchantment mini issue! That was a pretty great accomplishment, in my mind, and the editors at Atlas are really incredible and they put together a beautiful layout!! The issue is linked below! The title of the shoot "With Pearls of Water on Her Hips" was definitely mermaid inspired but it's also an adaption of a line sung by The Dixie Chicks in "Truth No.2" (originally sung by Patty Griffin). It's a line that's really stuck in my head over the years as just being so poetic in it's simplicity and absolutely fitting for this shoot. Anyways! Hope you enjoy seeing the shoot in it's entirety!