This was one of my favorite portrait shoots ever. I do like to have some fun with my portraits but this one was more challenging than anything.
I created the setup and made sure every piece was displayed how I wanted. My camera has a wifi remote that connects to my iPad so I was able to see everything on a screen before taking the photo. To get both of me in the frame, everything had to be very squished together. I think that kind of shocked me because the placement of the jewelry and of myself had to be tight while the photograph itself looks wide.
The portraits had to be taken quickly so the lighting on my face looked the same in each shot. I used natural lighting so the shadows had to be similar and because I'm so white, sometimes I come out looking very blue or very orange depending on the time of day. This is a big factor in how the jewelry looks in a picture, the tone of my skin can either make or break the portrait. Since I was aware of this, the wardrobe change had to be quick and swift. I tested outfits before taking the portraits to make sure that the jewelry and clothing looked cohesive on screen.
Then of course there are my hand gestures. I was very pregnant in this image and I had to press my hands into my belly to make them look proportional to my body. They were in very awkward positions and were forced in these postures to look like what you would see in a painting.
I took several variations of this double portrait (see below) and getting my eyes to lock on each other was actually quite fun. I took a photo of myself on one side and then the other and for each I did a range of looks to come up with the final images.
I wanted these images to tell the story behind the inspiration of The Vanitas Collection. I was pregnant, feeling especially inspired and creative, and feeling like I was stepping into a new version of myself. The props and my glances are all meant to represent something about my new life chapter.
The glance away in the top portrait (left) is to represent my former self where I was mostly seeking the unknown on my own. I am more self-consumed, not looking to anyone or anything in particular and am considering myself more independent, or without a dependent. The ink pen is to represent the unknown, the new ideas to hit the pages of my journal, the freshness. The glance in the top right is looking directly at you, or even back at myself. I'm feeling a new sense of confidence and in it I'm carrying a light/candlelight. In Spanish, you say 'dar a luz' about giving birth which literally translates to 'giving light.'
The bottom portrait is a more obvious story but a continuation of the portrait above. I snap out of my independent self and find out I'm pregnant. What's between the selves is the new body of work that I/we have created. The ideas of my notebook spill out of the pages and have given birth to what's on to the table. The table is covered in what I consider to represent abundance: jewelry, light, sage/knowledge, flowers, fruit, jewelry, and a bit of history. The boxes and bowls are overflowing with this abundance and we can barely meet each other's glance with all the life that is between us. And finally over our hearts is my own AyC heart which is meant to represent the sacred. It's to convey the message that I wear my heart for all to see and that my art is my heart.
That's all, thanks for reading and happy Friday!