It's not possible to not sing or even think of the song "Alison" by Elvis Costello, when your friends name is Alison.
I tried not to think of it, but it really isn't possible.
Photos taken in April 2015.
It's the first weekend of Coachella, which made me think about THIS Coachella-styled and inspired photoshoot I did three years ago with California girls, Alison McCloskey, Colbie Wilson (of Salon Thairapy & Blushed and Beautiful), and Mya Wilson, near the lake at Huntington Beach Central Park!
It's been nearly 9 months since I've moved out of Huntington Beach. There are things that I don't miss (like, the traffic) and things I do miss, such as, brunch and creative brainstorming with Ali (SeaLegs being our go-to place), collaborations with such beautiful talented women, and Trader Joe's (irrelevant, but so relevant.) I felt like I never really gave myself a chance to fully blossom in the creative circles there, mainly because I always spent 6 months of the year back in Hawaii. My mind was all over the place, and I had my hands in little things that somehow consumed my every minute of every day. When I was in Cali, I was daydreaming about Hawaii. And when I was in Hawaii, I was daydreaming about Cali. It was a bittersweet time of my life - feeling pushed in one direction and pulled in the other; experiencing good moments in-between moments of struggle as a freelance photographer.
Meeting Alison (through our mutual friend, Kevin Ashford, owner of HB Cult magazine) was probably one of the highlights of my life while living there (DC and I lived off of Springdale and Talbert!) I wanted to dive quickly into the 'scene' and industry without having high expectations, and Danny (who was just my boyfriend at the time) had introduced me to Kevin. We met up, I showed him my portfolio, we decided to do a test shoot with Ali for an international bikini line, and we set a date to shoot. It happened fast - and I will eventually dig up those photos for another journal entry! He gave me a little back story of Ali, that she was so-and-so years old, a mother, super intelligent, does so many things for charity, is physically fit, and that she's not only gorgeous, but has a undeniably beautiful spirit. When I met her, I learned what she did for a living as well as her passions and interests; she's a neurodiagnostic technologist, a yogi, music enthusiast, an event planner, raises funds for causes she's passionate for - such as the homeless, and is an advocate for health and patient care in the autism community. I thought, "Well, now. Here's an angel on earth. And after this shoot, I'm going to go home and figure out my life." Literally. There's not a bad bone in Alison McCloskey, and anyone who knows her will tell you she is an inspiring and positive human being.
After our first shoot together, Ali wanted to take me under her wing and create a small creative business that essentially revolved around my photography. With nothing to lose, we talked in text messages, met up for creative dates, and tried to put something together. We called it 4loveandlife, and we set up a couple photoshoots with beauty/artistry professionals to create our own original content to be used on our website and instagram. I had been traveling so much at the time, that 4loveandlife ended up being put on hold despite our big vision of working together. We were like a band that put out an EP, got everyone excited, and then never got around to producing a full-length album or scheduling a world tour (*insert happy face / crying emoji's*). We invested a lot of time in creating photos, and shared our ideas for potential projects, but it didn't quite gain the momentum we were both hoping for. Although, if you ask me if I would ever work with her again on any project, my answer is, "Yes... in a heartbeat."
For me, this (my work) is more than just about photography. I've met some amazing long-lasting friends through photoshoots... and Ali is one of them. Now that I'm a mother, I GET IT. I get why Ali does everything she does. I get why she's always busy and feeling so rushed. I get why she is who she is. Because simply, she is a mother. A very nurturing, protective, beautiful mother who thinks about everyone's well being. She puts everyone else first. And I'm learning fast, that's just what mothers do.
HAPPY (BELATED) BIRTHDAY, ALI! YOU ARE STUNNING.
(Her birthday was on April 11th, two days before mine! #ARIES)
Makeup & Hair | Behind The Scenes
If I recall, this photo session was 30 minutes (maybe even less!) These women all had to be somewhere else at a specific time, so we raced to get these shots. Mya held my reflector for this first look (thank you lady!) The light glares were all intentional, and I created them by shooting through two different crystals (one clear and one auburn colored) to give off a natural warm feel to the images so that very little post-work would be required. Colbie and Mya (sisters) did a wonderful job on her makeup and hair, as well as styling this "coachella-inspired" look. Love love love...
One of the great things I love about being a photographer, is having the creative freedom to create new projects at any given moment. One of my passion projects was shooting the annual calendar for the Pacific Ink & Art Expo (PIAE). However, it's been quite some time since I created a new calendar as it became difficult for me to plan such a project while also traveling overseas.
My last calendar was the 2016 Hawaii Tattoo Model's Calendar shot in 2015. I had funded the whole project out of pocket, produced every image and every page, and I saw it to print. Thankfully, I had a great team behind me that supported me in every way. For the third year in a row, I was able to collaborate with models I had worked with in the past, as well as new talents who showed great interest in the project. The calendar definitely put a spotlight on specific models, which was great because I believed they deserved it. Despite how time-consuming, exhausting, and draining it was behind-the-scenes, it was exciting to hold a finished product, share it with the world, and say, "We created this together!"
Like anything in life, projects like this start with an idea. A vision and plan are usually written on paper, and the creator has the ability to turn it into a reality, or let it just exist on paper - where most ideas sit. In order to make it a reality, the creator has to understand how much of an investment is required. That is: real dedication, commitment, effort, financial backing, and especially time... lots of it. Nobody said creating something from nothing was an easy task. But, you'll never know where a project will take you, so you might as well give it your all.
From these calendar projects (2014 to 2016), I've collected thousands of images that seldom see the light of day. Retouching images can take hours at a time, and because I don't get commissioned or paid to edit, the images go into my archives until I have a free moment to really work on them. Often times, I revisit the images 1-3 years after they've been shot. I'm trying to get better at that, but sometimes, real life gets in the way.
These past couple of days though, I've been able to focus on editing one of my calendar sessions of featured model and tattoo artist, Mare (Mary Landen). She became one of my favorite models to work with back in 2015. Not only is she a talented artist, but she is also a formally trained ballet dancer (which is apparent in some of her images.) Scroll down to see the most recent edits! I hope you enjoy!
Every 1-2 weeks I will try to post a new set of images that look back on these calendar sessions! Please bear with me.
If you are interested in working with me, I am currently on Oahu till mid-April 2017.
Email me for bookings: email@example.com or contact me here.