Sometimes my personal work gets buried beneath everything else that piles up on my list of things to do. I'll get home really excited about the photos, edit and post a few, and then forget about them as I work on other items. I don't think every shoot is meant to be well-planned with intentions of sharing with the world; it's okay if it sinks into my external hard drive to be discovered years later. This shoot is an example of something that was almost forgotten, but luckily I pulled it out of the depths of my filing system and brought it to life. Here it is, five months later: Padraic + me + the ginkgo tree.
Sometimes you get the urge to head out to your local monastery and take self-portraits. (Really, I had heard about this place and wanted to check it out for myself before bringing clients there.) It exceeded my expectations, and I'll definitely be going back.
Campbell, California Photographer | Portraits of a Parakeet
Meet Sue, the androgynously named plum-headed parakeet who is male and whose real name is Sunshine. A long time ago, he flew into a window at my uncle's office, and my uncle brought him home to us. He's as old as I am and is expected to live past 30, much to my parents' dismay. (Sorry, Sue.) He only says two things – "Hi, Sweetie, whatcha doin'?" and "Want a treat" – but he occasionally imitates sounds on TV. He flirts with food-offerers with a slow two-step and a click of the tongue, his pupils spiraling in and out like a hypnotist's disk. He thrives on seedcakes, pellets, and the occasional carrot, and sleeps one-footed on a mini swing.
This shoot was challenging for many reasons. Bird models are harder to work with than you'd think. I didn't even intend to be in these photos, but he wouldn't perch on anything I wanted him to sit on, so naturally the best alternative was my head. Self-portraits are hard enough to begin with! I've worked with wind, harsh light, and tricky people, but Sue was by far the most difficult model I've run into. (I haven't had anyone fly away from me before.)
SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA
I was inspired by a senior session the night before (photos to come) to return to this spot and take some self-portraits with these cacti. Aren't they cool? It's all around a great spot because there aren't many people around (the most awkward part about taking self-portraits), and it's right by the UCSB lagoon – you don't have to go far around here to find a variety of biomes.
Also, I'm not a fashion blogger, but I just have to say that this whole outfit was purchased at Crossroads (at different points in time) for less than $20. That's a Lucky Brand shirt and a J. Crew sweater right there. Boom.
Self-portraits are one of my favorite things to do because they're challenging. They require thorough shot-planning, tripods, remotes, and a certain degree of discomfort (carrying all the gear, running back and forth, people walking by, etc.). I committed myself to going out to this beach cave today around sunset to get these shots, and I almost backed out a few times. But I'm glad I didn't. Luckily, I pretty much had the whole beach to myself, and the few people I did see just smiled and said, "Hi." You can get away with lots of weird things in a college town.
CAMPBELL, CALIFORNIA PHOTOGRAPHER // CHRISTMAS EVE 2014
In September, the vision for these photos came to me in the form of a fine art painting. I pulled out an old dress that my mom wore to a wedding once, and the colors beckoned to be combined with the wall in their bedroom that we had just painted "Cavern Clay" in September. It may have taken a few months to materialize, but here it is: a study in orange. (Or, more accurately, Cavern Clay.)
And some "behind the scenes," because you can only have so much seriousness.
I wanted to plant succulents to take to my apartment at school, and I had to trim the burro tail one to transport it. Since there were these pretty long strands of succulent, I couldn't let them go to waste. I also didn't have a model handy, so I decided to wear a succulent crown myself. However, the self-portraits were much easier said than done. I haven't taken outdoor self-portraits for a long time, and when I last did so, I was shooting on automatic, which was way easier. But shooting manual to get the exact effect you want requires you to be constantly adjusting settings, so even with a flip-screen and a remote trigger, it was a struggle. I even decided the crown looked kind of dumb, but here are the few surviving images.
Well, this afternoon I was struck with another photo idea, based off of some other milk bath portraits I had seen. I asked Padraic to help me with it, and of course he said yes - even volunteering himself to be the recipient of the milk bath portrait. But instead I wanted him to assist me with some self-portraits, which you could technically just call portraits now, since I wasn't the one pressing the trigger. (I didn't think that attempting to suspend my camera over a tub of warm milk and pressing a remote trigger was a very good idea.)
So off to the store we went for a box of powdered milk and some cornstarch (one recipe advised the use of cornstarch for increased opacity...but it didn't end up contributing much). I filled the tub with as little water as possible - after all, we are in a drought - and figure I've made it up by not showering for the past 3 days (TMI?).
Though there was nothing inherently provocative about this shoot, I guess the whole in-the-bathtub-not-wearing-too-many-clothes thing may give that impression. Just to clarify, as you'll see in some of the shots, we were each adequately covered. Next time, I think it would actually be cool to wear MORE clothes. Think about it: clad in a floral button-up with pearl earrings & swimming in milk. I might just have to do that.