12 Month Photo Challenge - Month Six

This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Europe after meeting up with Jake who just finished a study abroad program in Denmark. We decided to hop on the train and tour around for a couple of weeks and our first stop was Paris. We were extremely fortunate to meet such an amazing woman named Juliette Dragon who is a kick ass rockstar and burlesque beauty! It was not hard to convince her to do a photo shoot with us the only thing we needed to figure out is where to do it.

Juliette suggested a street in the neighborhood of Belleville. There used to live a lively street filled with restaurants and artists studios and now it is a multi cultural graffiti haven. Its covered head to toe in colorful art from the walls, the flower pots, the shutters and the lamp posts. The street is called Rue Denoyez and it is on its way to destruction. On Rue Denoyez we met a sweet old man who offered up a lot of his personal history with this place. He still lives on the street and has many stories to tell although they were all in French and I only got a couple of details translated. Some inhabitants have been fighting to save it for years and have had some small victories but now it has reached its end. I feel lucky to have witnessed this street of art before it is gone for good. This feels so real to so many artists in San Francisco. We are being driven out of the city by the building of new apartments and ridiculously high rent.

Going into this shoot I had no ideas at all and was going with the 'fly by the seat of my pants' and the 'make it up as you go' approach, which was very challenging for me. I had never seen the place before and I nervous that we did not have enough of a concept to make this shoot fabulous. But then Juliette arrived dressed in a perfectly French outfit to fit our French inspired shoot and she killed it! Leave it to the professionals to bring the fire! This photo shoot was so much fun. Juliette and I laughed and made lots of faces back and forth which I am imagining is a typical day hanging out with her. She is so full of life and is an inspiration to be with.

And of course I want to extend my gratitude to my side kick Jacob for running around all day grabbing video clips! The whole shoot would have never even happened if he did not dramatically whisper into my ear at the dinner table the night before, right in front of Juliette, while she watched in curiosity and then demanded to know what we were whispering about. Thanks babe I could not have done it without you!

Click on the link below to get a little more up close and personal with Juliette Dragon.

Dragon in Paris

 

 

12 Month Photo Challenge - Month Five

Ever since I started this challenge at the beginning of the year I knew I had to start collecting locations to do epic photo shoots at. One of my ideas was a tattoo parlor and I just happen to know a beautiful girl who runs one! When I asked Frankie if I could shoot her in her tattoo shop she invited me down to take a look and to start brainstorming. I wanted the classic getting a tattoo shot, but I have seen too many like that gone wrong, so this one had to be special. 

I was inspired by a conversation with Jacob Haslem that first stared out as a joke about a Unicorn. But after the idea entered my head it would not leave. The day before I coordinated a photo booth with a friend who brought a trunk full of props and one of the props was a Unicorn head. It was perfect. Unfortunately the head went missing so I ordered one online and set a date!

Frankie and Tim drove up to the studio and we piled into their van and headed to the tattoo shop. It was a late night that was getting later and later so I wanted to make this a quick one. With the help of my incredibly amazing assistant Christian, we moved things around, set up lights and worked fast. I can't thank Christian enough. He was there from the beginning of the planning process and saw this project to its fruition. He even stood in as Unicorn head while I prepared my shots.

Click on the link below to watch behind the scenes video of the evening.

Unicorn

 

It is impossible to get a bad photo with this girl. Thanks Frankie. You are a rock star!

 
 

12 Month Photo Challenge - Month Four

This was an adventure! I must be really convincing to get all my friends to follow me, trespassing into a condemned and abandoned warehouse with all of my gear for this months photo challenge. I had been here before and was so inspired by this location I knew I had to come back for an epic photoshoot. 

We started the day off at the Share House with hair done by Michelle Stehle and make up by Nate James. Kayleigh looked like an angel with her long hair up in a messy bob. We packed the car and raced off to the location. After making sure there were no cops in sight we found a hole in the fence and shoved all of my camera gear thru including all three of my lights and generator. Now that I think about it that was the worst idea ever. I knew it was dark inside and was convinced I needed to light it up. But what I did not think about was what happens if we got caught. There would be no option of running with a generator and a car load of gear. We met a fellow trespasser friend who was using his drone to film the outside of the warehouse and we warned him to be carful. 

Once we all got in I thought for sure we were good to go until we saw our new friend talking to the cops as they wrote him a ticket. Before we had even begun we all freaked and split up to asses the situation. We found an escape in the back but there was no way to get all of my stuff out so Christian left and gave us play by play texts from the outside as the rest of us hid in silence waiting for something to happen. It turns out our friend was purposefully trying to distract and turn the cop around to give us time to clear and find a hiding spot. He saved the day! The cop left and we made a group decision to take the gear back to the car while we had the chance and just finish the shoot with what we had in our environment.

Lucky enough there were a couple patches of light to work with. The beams of light coming from the holes in the roof were bouncing off the metal and paint on the walls and creating a unique lighting situation for a good shot. I had Kayleigh on her stilts with a dress that just barley covered her feet so I could edit out the stilts to make it look like she was floating in mid air. We had balloons for her to hold that added to the floating imagery as if they were taking her away. The trick to the success of this photo was creating a shadow in the post production. After I took out the stilts in photo shop it still looked like she was standing on the floor. With the right body position and a little addition of a shadow the floating started to look believable. 

I had such an incredible team that day! We all set off on a pretty amazing adventure together and stayed a strong group thru all the challenges. I could never have done it without Sari, Christian and Stu as my eyes, ears and muscles. Thank you mom for bringing your goodies to keep us fueled for our adventure and for supporting your daughter in her crazy escapades. And Kayleigh thanks for being a good sport. I know you had your doubts but you stuck in there like a champ and brought something really special to the front of the camera. You are a beautiful girl inside and out!

Click on the link below to see the video from the shoot! You will die when you see this video! Pete from Bassbin Twins created the music just for the documentary! I am so impressed with his musical genius. Check out more of his music HERE!

Float

 

I hope you enjoy the photos. If you take a look at the gallery you will find a couple extras of Kayleigh after her suggestion of going topless. Wow... Just beautiful. She comes to life yet again. This time I left the stilts in to add to the intrigue. 

 
 

12 Month Photo Challenge - Month Three

This months photo challenge was a collaboration between two very creative minds! My dear friend Deanna walked into this Junk Shop and amongst the trash she saw treasure! After coming to me with this idea I was so excited we went back together! She was right, the place was perfect! We must have visited two or three times before actually shooting there, checking out the best shots. The day before our shoot date we went in to set the stage. It was a well planned vision although nothing ever turns out the way you plan it to be.

The Junk Shop owner was totally more then happy to let us move things around and he was very excited when Deanna came in fully dressed in costume. I must say it was fun to walk down the street with her and see the reactions from people as we pass them by. We even stopped at a little garden and snapped some photos thru a mirror only to find that other people had stopped to take pictures as well! 

I did not bring any light with me to the shoot. It was such a tight squeeze it would have been difficult to set up the strobe lights. But we did bounce the available light we could find. I must say that that was the most challenging part of the day. Finding the light. There was always a spot in my photo that did not get any light at all but luckily you can fix it up in post. I had a very strong man hold my bounce for me!!! Thanks Dan! He is the best light guy ever!

 

 Click on the link below to see the video from the shoot!

 

Junk Shop

 

I am very happy with the photos. We got some fun impromptu shots outside too just playing with things in our environment. The car and the phone were sweet extras from the day. This Junk Shop is like an adult toy store! Its right on San Pablo and 61st! Guaranteed to find treasure!

 
 

12 Month Photo Challenge - Month Two

For this months challenge I had the pleasure of shooting in my amazing friends barn while she got to play the role of Mamitu! My inspiration for this shoot was a mesopotamian mythological creature who was the goddess of destiny. She had a goat head and holds the power to decide your fate. I am drawn to this character because I also feel like I am in control of my own destiny. Destiny to me is a matter of choice, not of chance. But I would like to honor Mamitu and assume her qualities for myself!  

 

Naturally after an idea you have to start putting the pieces together. One of my most beautiful friends at the pole studio had always told me about all her barn animals and all her gorgeous acres of land she lived on. This was the opportunity to make magic at her house and a perfect excuse to finally come visit. My long time friend Ian and I drove up late night to sleepover in Chesaray's movie theater and woke up the next morning to peacocks everywhere. At 7:00 am we were feeding all the goats, pigs, chickens, horses and peacocks. The plan was to start breakfast at 8:00 and then make up at 9:00. Nate James arrived just in time for breakfast and then got right to work turning Chesaray into a goat headed goddess. I had these amazing horns lying around that I was dying to use but we had no idea how to make them stay on her head. The decision to drill a hole in them and tie them together with ribbon was the best we had and ran with it. Success!

 

The most challenging part of the day was chasing the light. I found a perfect spot with rays of light coming in thru the old wood planks. But the light was moving too fast and left before we got a chance to start. I tried to take a light outside and see if my strobes would create the same rays of light but there was no chance. So on to the next spot which turned out to be even better. The light was perfect and the scene was exactly as I had imagined! It was my first time using a fog machine. Good thing there was a party store right down the street because I forgot to bring fog liquid. I do like the smoke. Is gives such a fantasy like feel to anything. 

 

 Click on the link below to see the video fro the shoot!

 

Mamitu

 

I am actually surprised how smooth everything went that day. It may have been a little too long of a day and we definitely had some starving people at the end, including myself, but it was pretty easy going and fun! The photos seriously turned out better then I thought they would and I had a great team that was really excited to be there! It always helps when everyone is having fun! I cannot thank my crew enough for the energy and creativity they brought that day! It was such a pleasure to work with them!

 
 
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