Naiad

Today I am very sick....I haven't gotten out of bed but am too dizzy to even consider it....so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to drink a hot cup of tea and write about this shoot! Please excuse me if this post sounds a bit off...I am very out of it today......

"Naiad"

"Naiad"


crops (so you can see the detail)

crops (so you can see the detail)

Back in late January/early February of this year, I began planning concepts and making sketches for this series - this shot was one of my earliest concepts....There is a beautiful park 25 minutes away from my apartment downtown that I have always loved to shoot in. It is very peaceful there...and a lovely escape from the hustle and bustle of the loud city. There is a beautiful stream which I wanted to use in a shoot since I saw it last March...I had always loved strange, mystical creatures and fell in love with the idea of creating a sort of water nymph creature, but with a very romantic, soft feeling to her. I did some research of water nymphs, and decided to capture a "Naiad". They were a type of female spirit which lived in bodies of fresh water. 

beautiful stream in High 

beautiful stream in High 

Inspiration Photos 

Inspiration Photos 

The reason Naiads caught my attention so quickly is because, to me at least, they were almost ghostly. They were beautiful, magical, surreal...everything I loved about mythological creatures. I finally decided on a concept - a girl, waist deep in water, holding a bouquet of dead flowers, and draped in tulle, would silently drift through the forest stream...  

Finding the dress was a tricky one....I have been looking for the costume for over 3 months. I went to dozens of vintage shops to find the perfect, soft gown...at one point I found the perfect one - it was a beautiful vintage wedding gown. However, priced at $90, there was absolutely no way I could afford it at the time. I started getting very frustrated and doubtful. The weather was going to get very chilly very soon and I wasn't even close to finding anything remotely similar to what I had in mind. Shortly after, Robert told me his mom had an incredibly large (that was an understatement) collection of vintage dresses, accessories, and pieces. She was kind enough to let me borrow one that no one was able to wear because of its condition. 

The dress (as beautiful as it is) was a mess. There were holes all over it (not just the kind that give it some character - there were huge gaping holes), and the back did not have enough fastens to stay on. The thought of it going anywhere near disgusting, muddy lake water was a laughing matter. It made me very worried as I had to return it to Rob's mom after using it. I restored the dress best I could, and knew that we could only photograph in the water for a few minutes. 

I asked Veronika, a dear friend, to model for me. She has the most enchanting blue eyes, and an incredibly open mind when it comes to my crazy work. I've worked with her before on previous projects and she has always been so incredible, it only seemed right to use her for the opening photo.

The day of the shoot, we had just under 45 minutes to walk to the location, apply makeup, put on the dress, shoot, and get back to the train station before Veronika had to leave for a dance rehearsal. Surprisingly it didn't feel very rushed, just a bit hectic. I kept on saying "We'll finish on time...I promise" just to reassure her she wouldn't be late... we got to location, Veronika huddled behind a few trees to get the dress on, and we stared out into the lake. There was a man sitting by the shore. He looked at us suspiciously and I cheerfully said "don't mind us!" It was just me and Veronika at this point. I pinned a piece of lace fabric to her hair, took out a golden/brown eyeshadow chubby stick, and applied some to her eyes. It was a very beautiful, minimal look. Then Rob arrived (I had begged him to come to the shoot in-case I needed help). Veronika and I looked at each other, then at the disgusting water. We laughed nervously and I took the first step in. It wasn't so bad after that...but the water got very deep, very fast...

Veronika and I in the smelly water....

Veronika and I in the smelly water....

Veronika followed shortly after...I draped the tulle over her head, but it looked very off...we removed the tulle and draped it over her shoulder instead. I took a step back. Wow...she looked unreal I was very excited at this point. We quickly took a few snaps, I scared myself by almost falling over with my camera (several times) and then it was time to go. We waddled out and I helped her take off the smelly garment. We were both disgusting. We were both walking barefoot in the mud.....we both got attacked by fire ants!!!!!! It was incredibly painful...I had over 7 bites to deal with when I got home

And there you have it! Plus...a little extra photo I can't help but share...! Who said magical creatures couldn't have a good time?!

The Beginning of "The End"

It would feel right to start off this post by writing - "Once Upon a Time..." but I can't get myself to finish that sentence. I wish I could say those four small words, but the truth is, this story isn't "Once Upon a Time..." Perhaps it will be one day, but right now, it is my present - and a long future to come. 

I've been working on a structured post to release this series for some time now, but in the end I gave up, and decided that (although it seems incredibly juvenile) it feels much more natural to type as I think....so, here goes. 

In early 2014 I began preparing the concepts for this photo series. It was a sort of dream back then...I was never certain that it would actually happen, but here I am, writing up my very first diary entry just before releasing the very first photo of the set. It is a strange feeling to finally share the photos (some of which I have been holding onto for months). 

The concept floated into my mind in late January of 2014. One of the closest people to me had fallen into a deep depression, and the series became a way for me to bring some magic back into their life.

The same few months I had fallen into the "where on earth is my life going?" rut. It was slowly but surely, bringing me down. I was emotionally drained, and nothing I did made me feel any less empty than I felt. That's when I began the series Lost in My Mind, to channel and try to explain what I was feeling in tiny self portraits and photo compilations. 

I then began sketching...I sketched of beautiful worlds with wondrous creatures and beautiful princesses who all had their secrets, too. I had always been in love with fairy tales and the magic they brought into my life, so I decided my next series would consist of scenes from some of my favorite original fairy tales.

I quickly began collecting cloths and interesting pieces to create costumes for the sets. In the first few months, I was perpetually anxious and nervous as I tried my best to create things I had no idea how I would create. I begged friends and family for any scraps of material they had to offer, I spent the little that I had at the dollar store buying ribbons and fake flowers, I got frustrated with myself when my costumes or sets would fall apart... A lot of my summer was spent inside restoring or creating the pictures I saw in my head.

Originally, the series was to be named "Once Upon a Time..." It was a pretty name, and the beginning to almost all of my favorite stories. But the deeper I fell into the stories, the more I realized that they do not all start with "Once Upon a Time..." which almost implies a happy ending. However, every story I have been told or read ends with "The End". It left the photos in this series so much more open to interpretation, and there was (to me, at least) a beautiful yet dark ring to it... "The End" is what comes after "They lived happily ever after". It's almost always a bit dark and bittersweet to say goodbye, but it's also a beautiful thing to be able to move on from the hardships we all must experience in life...

I've been working on the series for five months so far, and it's been quite a ride! My (so incredibly willing and lovely) friends and I have been eaten alive by fire ants (very painful, I can assure you), laid in the cold mud, lit smoke bombs, and walked around parks in ridiculous costumes and headpieces. I'm so incredibly excited to finally share the work with you!


The series is dedicated to my relative and dear friend, in the hopes that it brings a little more light, joy, and magic into their life...........x