Don't post much anymore on the blog, but updating a fun photo shoot with the kid. We had fun hanging out in Griffith Park, which is a part of our every day life, anyway. We even found a good spot at sunset to set up the tripod. I want to teach her old fashioned photography with manual settings. Not enough kids are learning that these days now that everyone has a phone with fancy automatic settings! Sure, phones make things easy, but can't replace a classic art form. This day was just an introduction...
Yes, it's true, I kind of abandoned this blog for awhile. Yes, I have taken photos, but I have not posted them here. Life got a little hectic, and photography was just not a priority. Although, like I mentioned, I was taking photos - sometimes life just gets a little haphazard, family issues arise, and focusing on family comes first.
Now the dust is beginning to settle, and I realize how much I miss my camera. Yes, I shot a few family photos for Christmas cards - and done some headshots, but I miss doing photography for the fun of doing photography! I originally explored photography as a fine artist, and ultimately, that is where my heart is. I miss it!
Anyway, I realized I hadn't taken photos of my daughter since she turned 9 - and she is already on the verge of turning 10! Thought that would be a good excuse just to get out my camera and loosen up a bit. My daughter is always a wonderful muse, and she is growing up too quickly! So, it is good to get photos before she has completely grown.
We've been going up to Mammoth Lakes a lot lately, and my daughter snowboards. So, I thought I'd do a photo session with her in her snowboard gear! Nothing fancy, she is wearing a jacket from K-Mart - but this is her style! Many times when she was younger, I'd want to style her and pick her clothes, buy a fancy dress, etc. This time, I just wanted to photograph her as is. Even though I wanted to venture back into my photography, this time my core inspiration, was thinking as a mother - not a past art school student! I know many years from now, this will be how I want to remember her. Not in a fancy dress she never wore any other time.
We also stopped at Convict Lake on the way up. We had never been before! The scenery was stunning! Well, my daughter snuck on some of my lipstick when I wasn't paying attention - and even though I wiped it off, it left a bit of a stain! Other than that, I just wanted to photograph her as is. Okay, I admit it, I have a good looking kid, and between that and the scenery, I had fun doing photos again...
My daughter had her first violin recital! She hasn't even been playing a year, so it was kind of a big deal. And since she hasn't even been playing a year, to be honest, we weren't expecting much - but it went great! She was a little nervous, (I was, too!) but once she got on stage, she loved performing!
It was an added bonus that the recital took place at the historical Brand Library & Art Center. It is a stunning place for photos, and it felt like my daughter was performing a real concert!
It was my daughter's idea to play violin, that she first started asking for when she was around 6 - and I postponed starting lessons for a bit because I didn't know if it was just a passing phase to want to play. When we finally started, we bounced around with a couple of teachers - but then ended up with the amazing Nancy Kuo, of Leggy Fish Violin Lessons. I couldn't be happier and prouder of how my daughter's lessons are going - now I wish we started sooner!
I had such a lovely time photographing this family! At first the little boy was hesitant about having his photo taken, but we just turned the photo session into a game and played a good game of chase. (Yes, you do get some exercise while photographing kids. I have broken into a sweat more than a few times during some photo sessions!) Anyway, in the end, the shy son ended up turning into quite the charismatic model!
Well, the whole family was wonderful!
Yet another blog post from Mammoth Mountain.
It is our home away from home! I thought it would be nice to take some photos of my daughter with her violin, and a view of Twin Lakes in the background is the perfect setting! I guess there is a reason I post from Mammoth a lot - it is so gorgeous! Whether it is spring, summer, fall, or winter. I wish I had the scenery on hand every time I have a photo shoot with a client here in Los Angeles...
It was our first Spring Break at Mammoth Mountain, and it was so great, we are now set with a new Easter tradition! I already can't wait until next year! We were all recovering from colds, which are made worse with altitude, (their village is around 9,000 feet), so we weren't feeling that great. But what fun it was!
Spring Break also coincided this year with their annual Pond Skim (it's usually later in the year, but this year was warmer than usual). The warm weather and the Pond Skim event really added to the quintessential "Spring Break" atmosphere, but at the same time, it was very family friendly, with most of the staff dressed as bunny rabbits.
I had no reason to bring my good lens and fancy camera, and sports events certainly aren't my usual thing, but of course it's fun photographing scantily clad athletic people trying to ski or snowboard across an icy pond!
And of course, my daughter enjoyed all the Easter festivities, hosted by Mammoth Mountain and the Village. Actually, she scored twice, since we had a hunt for her outside our cabin, and then joined the crazy Easter egg hunt that was put on by the Canyon Lodge. I think she had fun searching for Easter eggs in the snow...
And she is already planning her costume for when she is old enough to snowboard in the Pond Skim!
I know, I know, I haven't updated the blog in ages. I know there are photos I need to sort out, but I'll just start fresh right now, and post the photos I took this week.
Since Spring is finally here, I thought it would be fun to take my daughter and her best friend, Biaani, to Descanso Gardens. I think they were a bit annoyed with me because they mostly just wanted to play and get dirty, and I dressed them in some non-hiking, tree-climbing dresses... But they looked so cute!
I've been a side-tracked lately. But, we have a new puppy! Why would that side-track me? Well, if you ask that, you obviously haven't rescued a Husky puppy! I swear, between a human newborn and a puppy, a human baby is WAY easier... And between a regular puppy and a HUSKY puppy? Don't ask!
That being said, her name is Frida and we absolutely love her! My daughter is thrilled, (and is the one that named her after her favorite artist), and our boy, Mike, is thrilled to have a little buddy, too. Even though she is a puppy, she is a rescue, and she has her full pedigree papers. So, now we have two rescued huskies that have pedigree papers! Goes to show, even if you want a fancy, schmancy puppy, you can still ADOPT! Not only are you saving a life, but some other person paid lots of money to a breeder for Frida, and we got her for practically free! Poor kid has already been passed around and been unwanted, and the rescue organization recommended her to us since she knew we were experienced Husky owners.
We got her from the rescue organization, Husky Camp. If anyone is ever looking for a Husky, I highly recommend them!
It's Christmas card photo shoot time! I still have a process with dealing with my head after having a photo shoot - I always have an exact idea of what I want the picture to look like, which is good to have, but it's also good to go with the flow and accept things when the photo shoot goes in a different direction. Yes, a good photographer should be in control of the photo shoot - but well, when it comes to children and animals, no matter how slick you think you are, there is a little bit of powerlessness that needs to be accepted. And doing a child and animal together? NOT good for a control freak!
Ironic that I am a control freak, and my favorite subjects are both children and animals.
We did the photo shoot in Mammoth Lakes, where we were taking our Thanksgiving vacation. I decided to spontaneously do the shoot right when we arrived. Mike had just been in the truck for 5 hours, and had newly arrived in snow, so he was a little wound up. Maybe I should have let him get his ya-yas out for a little bit before the shoot?! I was just all gung-ho to get the photo shoot done with and out of the way while Violet's hair was still neat and I had everyone's attention. We were on vacation, after all!
We also didn't really "research" our location, and just got out of the car at the first area where we came to snow. It was heavily forested so had hardly any light coming in, and shooting in all that white snow was new to me. I mean, of course, I've taken a million "snaps" in the snow, but not where I'm wanting to control the lighting on the face, etc. The metering was all over the place! At first I was worried I didn't get anything and was mad at myself for rushing the whole thing.
Ultimately, I got some good pictures, And a little Photoshop tweak here and there, and, actually, it was a GREAT photo shoot. I always have trouble reminding myself that not EVERY photo has to be great - 10 great photos in a quickie photo shoot is more than enough. The goal was to get a Christmas card photo - and I got it! Actually, in the end, I had trouble choosing...
But I learned some lessons for next time! It is certainly NOT my last photo shoot in Mammoth!!
Kris wanted some pictures with her old wedding dress, dyed and transformed into something dark. (I don't want to talk about her personal life, but I suppose anyone can guess there is a bigger transformation process going on here with the wedding dress!)
So, I suggested going to the Old Zoo in Griffith Park. A fun place for photos! And a perfect place for something somber.
I also wanted to take some photos in the studio. Since she is starting a new phase of her life, I wanted to take some photos showing off how beautiful and sexy she is!
I don't always tweak the processing so much in the editing process, but I thought these photos lent themselves well to playing with.
Miles needed updated photos - even though I photographed him a few months ago. The thing about little ones, is that they change in such a short amount of time. Wow, what a difference! Wow, that boy has energy! It was already a hot day, but after chasing Miles around like crazy, I was sweating like I'd never sweat before! I had lights set up for the subject to sit in a specific location - silly me! So, I was a bit nervous that I hadn't gotten any good photos of him, but I managed to get a couple cute ones. After all, he's a great looking little boy!
Then I photographed Sarah, (while Miles stayed with his dad!). I've spent so much time focusing on my little studio, I had forgotten what it was like to hit the streets. It was super fun! And of course, Sarah is gorgeous and an amazing model, so the photo session was a joy to do. The hard part? Deciding which photos I liked best.
I have taken a month or so off during the summer to spend time with my daughter. But of course, I am always taking pictures. We managed to fit in one "session," and I managed to get to Descanso Gardens early enough to use it as a lovely backdrop without any other visitors around. And of course, my daughter is always an amazing model! She is, without a doubt, my favorite muse! This was a quickie session that I was cramming before leaving for a vacation to San Francisco, but we still got some nice shots. Actually, even though we spent about half an hour taking pictures, there are still too many to look at to pick out a favorite!
I have not had time to book sessions lately, which I know is really bad! Still struggling with my personal life being hectic, and dealing with time management issues - but I still manage to take photos. Of course, I am always taking photos!
My daughter's school had a fundraiser last weekend, and I brought my camera, just to kind of play around. Mostly, I brought my good camera because I knew the parent that was putting on the event, and she wanted pictures of the rooms before the event started. I wasn't there to be an official event photographer in any way. But ,it was a lot of fun! And also fun to take photos, because we have such fun and interesting parents at my daughter's school. Everyone worked so hard to put it on, and it turned out to be a great success for the school.
Oh yes, and I also volunteered myself and my business as an auction item. So, it was a good night for business in spite of it being all about fun. I got to promote myself and hand out a few cards, and one of my photos might be used on The Marie Osmond show! Go figure! Melissa Peterman, who is a star of the television show "Baby Daddy," "Bet on Your Baby," and was a costar of "Reba," is a parent at our school, and hosted the school event. She will be a guest on the Marie Osmond show coming up, and asked if she could use my photo. Sure!
So, to make up for lost time, I have booked three sessions this upcoming week! Of course, there will always be a chance that things get cancelled or moved around, but hopefully, I'll have some updating to do soon!
I am behind on updating the blog! I did a big photo shoot yesterday and am still editing the pictures. I am posting them here but annoyed because I wish I could show them bigger - they definitely need to be looked at on a larger scale! Well, this is a free blog site, I shouldn't complain.
So, Mary, the client who contacted me, wanted a portrait with her brother and mother and somehow have the environment of her house be included. Mary's 5 year old daughter was also supposed to be in the pictures, but didn't want anything to do with the camera, unfortunately! Mary had been raised in this house, and so we took photos in all areas, inside and outside. Mary was now in the process of buying the house from her mother, and was now going to be raising her own daughter in the house. So, in a way, the house was kind of like a family member that needed to be included, and it's history had a story to tell. The pictures were also kind of archiving the house, as it is now, as it now getting passed on to the next generation, and most likely have a new chapter with a new history.
Mary had also told me that her father had recently passed away, so a picture of him was also included in most of the family portraits. Her father had been a renaissance man who did carpentry, welding, etc., etc., and had restructured the house and rebuilt the house over the years, where it seems like the house was definitely a final product of his labor, love, and handiwork. I could identify with the history of the father, since my husband is in construction and can build a house from the ground up, from plumbing to electricity and the whole nine yards, but he went to the Minneapolis School of Design as a sculptor, and is a true artist. If he builds something as simple as a bench, he is not a manual laborer, he is a craftsman, and anything he builds is, in a way, a piece of art. I went to some high falutin' art schools and I know some "high brows" debate the definition of art, but I'm ready to argue with them on this one - and yes, a craftsman is a true artist.
Anyway, I digress... the point is, I felt the history of the father and the house because living with my husband, I understood the depth of his handiwork and what it meant to his family. I was excited to take the photographs, because this was a family that had a definite story, and I wanted to honor that. I really wanted to do them justice.
Unfortunately, my kit isn't as big as I'd like, so I ended up renting a wide angle lens that I thought would be best for this particular shoot. I forgot how much I love using a wide angle lens! On my old, pre-digital camera, I pretty much only used my wide angle. This time around with my photography, I didn't buy a wide angle lens first because I'm going for a more commercial portfolio and I thought a portrait lens was best. But a wide angle is so much fun!
After talking to Mary and her telling me about her dad, I was expecting a somber shoot, but was quite surprised by quite the opposite! Of course, there were some melancholy moments, but mostly, it was a lot of fun! Maybe because I could relate to this family personally on so many levels. Mary's brother is a clown, and my uncle used to be a clown! Not too many people have clowns in their families! But they were great, and they brought a lot of humour to the photo shoot. It amazes me how no matter how much I plan a photo shoot and how much I predict how it's going to go, it always turns out completely different. But that's what's great about taking photographs and meeting new people and getting surprised by what they bring to the table.
And happily, in the end, Mary's daughter came out to join in the photos. I literally had already packed my camera bag and started putting away my lights, so, they were not the most artistically pleasing photos! (The backdrop is only half in the photos and I'm using the camera's built-in flash). I didn't want to do too much fussing and scare either the daughter or the dogs away after what had already been a long evening - I needed to just grab my camera and shoot! But I was happy that the family was happy that they managed to get a couple of photos at the end with everyone! Including the dogs!
This past Monday was a big day for me. It started by getting my daughter to school BY 7 a.m. (no small accomplishment) so I could start Boot Camp by 7:30! I have signed up for a 2 day bike ride fundraiser for MS in October and realized I better start exercising! Never mind training, just a simple exercise routine should some how be in my life before bike riding 150 miles in 2 days! At this stage in the game, I don't think I'd survive a 30 mile bike ride. So I signed up with Brooke from Fit Happens to get a jump start. She is amazing! But the first day of getting back into shape is always the worst. (But it's a good kind of pain... At least that is what I keep telling myself...)
Then in the afternoon I had a playgroup photo session. (If you haven't seen my website, I will photograph a playgroup for $20 a mom, not counting the price of prints!). It was soooo much fun! There were nine kids and five moms - and the kids were a great age, ages 2 to 5. They are at that age that love to ham for the camera! It was so, so much fun! It was hard to believe that it was a job!
In the evening I was at King King and photographed The Moth, which is a storytelling competition. Even though I have had lots of experience photographing in nightclubs, it was my first time not using a flash in what seemed like pitch dark for a job! Thank God I bought that 1.4 Nikkor lens a few weeks ago. That was also a lot of fun, and it was great to see the show considering it is very popular and was over-sold. The place was packed! I wish I had a fast super wide-angle lens with me to capture how mobbed the place was.
All in all it was a great day... It's nice to be busy...
After dealing with so many illnesses, I am finally getting to take some photos. Although, illnesses are still haunting our photo sessions.
I got a chance to take some quick snaps of my friend Anise and her son, Cyan. (Seen above, she is the owner of Anise Mouette). I had technical problems with my camera, which was really embarrassing, and Cyan was actually still sick, so we didn't take very many photos. But still, we got a couple of nice ones!
Then I also photographed Sara and Andy with their 22 month old twins. I am still sorting out their photos, but here are some ones I grabbed quickly. I was still kind of sick that day and took an overdose of Sudafed that day - which I really hate but I was desperate, so I feel like I could have done better. But still, there are some nice ones. I think you need your full wits about you, though, when photographing toddler twins...
This above photo is not on my new website, but I couldn't decide about it. I was doing a series on couples in the late 90s, and this photo is of artist Stacy Landeand her then boyfriend, Frank Kozik. They had a long distance relationship, so Frank could only be represented in Stacy's painting of him. I decided it doesn't have a place on the new website, but I still like it, it still has significance to me.
I have been updating the website some more, taking down photos and putting other ones up. Who knows if I ever will be happy? I guess it's as good as done until I take new photos. I browsed around some other photographer's websites that specialize in family and kids photography, and I realize I am not going to "specialize." I DO want to focus on kids and families more, but I am not going to remove completely all my portraits of my old "bohemian" friends, and I don't want to exclude that from my future. Maybe I won't be hanging out in strip clubs anymore, but I still have a lot of friends that live life off the beaten path, and I appreciate them for it. I hope I can still creatively work with them.I have an insane amount of pictures of Stacy Lande, whom I did pictures of for her book, The Red Box: The Phantasma-Allegorical Portraits of Stacy Lande. (I was published under the name, Emilie Harvey). Her paintings were of the dark underground life of Los Angeles, mostly musicians and showgirls, and she wanted her own image to mirror that. I was happy with all the photographs I took of her, even now looking back, even though she is scantily clad wearing lingerie, and Stacy and I are no longer in each other's lives. Besides using my portraits of her on almost every page of her book, the book is also filled with my casual snapshots from her various gallery openings.
At the time I took those photos and was photographing dancers and showgirls, it was the late 90s, and my biggest sources of inspiration were Nan Goldinand Diane Arbus. A far cry from family portraits! Or not exactly the type of family portraits you want to be remembered by. That type of photography is not my focus now, but I still love those photographers and identify with them, and that part of me that was so inspired by them is still a part of me - even if it is no longer the central part of me. I am a wife and mother now that lives a somewhat stable, normal life, but I still am a little bit quirky, and see and appreciate the darker side to things.
So, the challenge for me starting again as a photographer is bridging the gap. How to find a niche for myself that embraces the past bohemian, and the new happily married mom. Somehow, I will figure out how to bridge that gap. And hopefully I will find an audience of families who don't mind that my website is black and is not decorated with daisies and child-like decorations. But I understand completely the spirit of children. Perhaps even more so, since in a way, I think me and my old artist friends are still children and have never quite grown up!
Below is another photo of Stacy at her home, fixing her hair in-between posed shots. Below that is a couple at a Velvet Hammer, and below that is a shot from the Blessing of the Cars.