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It’s this baby girl’s first birthday, and when I attempted to make a still-life out of her, she and the cat made it very clear that there was not going to be any sitting still. (How naïve of me!) Yet, then the shoot turned into the perfect mix of planned and unplanned.
The cat started out as my model (great for metering – thanks cat!):
It was a friendly cat, but we thought it best to get him off the table:
so that I could get some cleaner shots:
but that cat was all about that table:
This a great example of how shoots can be a collaboration between the photographer and the subject (and sometimes even the subject’s pets!).
I wanted to share this session with everyone because it was rather special: while I normally go to people’s houses to shoot newborns, these guys came to me in the studio! This was great because in the studio, I can exhibit a lot more control over lighting conditions and set-up. And he was such a beautiful baby!
Here he is, 12 days old:
The new parents:
Black and white Baby Rothko:
Congratulations to the new fam!
This series is my favorite photo series of Christmas day: my sister bought the two youngest boys the same green dump truck, which they opened at the same time and got very excited about. It was insanely adorable.
Opening the truck to ooo’s and ahhh’s:
they proceeded to drive them all over the house:
and then catapult them off the stairs:
and laugh hysterically:
and yell “TRUUUUUCK!” triumphantly. Victory!
I’m writing this post as all four grandkids and various adults are running around the house screaming “ALLIGATOR!! POLAR BEAR!!!” (Working during the holidays is a little harder than I imagined.)
Happy Holidays Everyone!
It’s hard to believe, sometimes, that just 12 months ago, my studio was used as a storage space for large machinery.
I’ve always loved interior decorating but hated getting dressed. Interior design has always seemed much more pleasant to me than picking out what clothes I’m going to wear in a given day. Yet, similar to shopping for good clothing, my style requires that I regularly look out for the right furniture by going to yard sales, scouring Craigslist, and digging into dark basements. The result is what you see in my studio: antique frames, vintage dressers, and Louis XVI sofas. There is nothing new in my studio – everything is a little aged.
The four frames on the outside in the photo below were made by local artists, and the one in the center is truly antique, pulled out of the basement of this very warehouse. If you see it in person, it is actually three frames put together to form a thick border, each laden with ornate detail. It’s still got some dust on it from the basement, but I think it adds character. As for the sofa, I believe that it is a Louis XVI-esque design, but I’m not sure. It’s covered in a tattered man-made material that I cannot wait to replace with something softer and silkier! Until then, I put it to use by covering it in pleasant fabrics for intimate portrait clients.
I have had this table (photo, lower left) for a long time. This was the only piece of furniture in my original “studio” in the Sophie House on Wertland St., back during my last semester at UVa.. When I first got it, I had some leftover Rustoleum paint from another project, so I slapped it on, and it turned out to be perfect! The high-gloss makes it look lacquered, and in combination with the modest lighting setup I had at the time, it yielded very dramatic portraits for some of my first clients.
This lamp and mahogany dresser/mirror set were both acquired in the front yards of Charlottesvillians trying to rid their houses of extra stuff. I was so lucky! Check out the wavy front on that dresser! If they even make furniture like this anymore, I’d be interested to know.
And who could forget this settee? I believe this one is a Louis XV canapé sofa, but again, I’m no furniture expert. This piece is currently at my mother’s house, waiting patiently to be reupholstered with new, red, silky Italian fabric laden in gold dragonflies. (Thanks mom!)
I love living in Virginia for the fact that there are distinct seasons. In the spring, the air is full of sweet perfume, followed by the hot, hot summer, when things grow like crazy, punctuated by an August so muggy that walking outside feels like wading through a giant bowl of soup. Then comes the most beautiful fall season one could ever wish for, with dazzling colors and morning mist, reminding us, after the sticky summer, why we live here.
But it’s December now, and this is the season in Virginia with the least going on – so I thought. See, it gets very cold in Virginia during the winter, but it doesn’t snow a whole lot, which leaves very little reward for bearing the cold temperatures. We get a lot of cold rain, or sleet, or soggy snow that lasts for three days, mixes with the mud in the street, and tracks itself into everyone’s entryway. There’s not much fun in that.
But I’ve started to notice the fantastic Virginia trees! The same trees that are bursting green in the spring and turning bright red and yellow in the fall – in the winter, these trees turn into bony, prickly sculptures! With no leaves, all you see is the skeleton, with pointy branches, crisscrossing high in the sky.
For this family session that I recently had in Leesburg, not only did I get a beautiful, good-natured family to work with, but I got to take advantage of these giant winter sculptures!
This family wanted a portrait of all the “kids” to give as a gift to their dad for Christmas. I made a plan to sort of mimic a fashion-style line-up shot. I used natural light, and each one of these “kids” looked stunning. This group is a perfect example of how to dress your family for a shoot: wear your best and feel free to coordinate, but always try to feature each person’s unique style within that coordination.
Look at this beautiful family!
Not to mention the gorgeous sisters: