At the beginning of every year I sit down and work on a list of goals. I reflect on the previous year and see where I could have improved. I’ve been doing this for several years now, rarely deviating.
The list of goals always seemed to resemble the year before. Shoot more, be more streamlined, grow the business…
But my soul forgot why I started shooting to begin with.
It was then that I made it my mission to shoot one session a month for myself.
I’m not going to lie, that hasn’t happened. While I have shot a couple sessions for myself, the business is growing to a point where I’m struggling to keep up.
It’s a great problem to have, truly.
But it’s easy to get so caught up in the grind that you forget that you need to feed your creativity as well.
Along with setting goals for the year, I set a word for myself.
My word for 2019 was Intention.
Living intentionally, with my energy and passion going into that which fuels me. From relationships to business, intention had to be poured into everything.
Relationships have been a big theme in my life these last few years.
I’ve been so thankful to connect with people who I truly and deeply love. People who come into your life and shake it up a bit.
I first met
in an online workshop where he was one of the few men participating. He is an EXTREMELY talented photographer and videographer based out of the Los Angeles area.
We met in person in Las Vegas for a photography conference, but we didn’t have a chance to sit down and talk.
It wasn’t until we spent the weekend at a workshop in Dallas that we got to know each other.
You know people that you meet who you just click with? Jerry is that for me.
He reminds me of my father, or the older brother I never had. This is both a blessing and a curse. Our conversations always dive deep and they always touch upon some pain point.
But at the core, he challenges me to be a better person. He offers a perspective that I may not have considered. He is like a mentor in life.
When Jerry told me he was flying in from LA to shoot a session but was going to get a rental and come see me, I was floored.
Man, that’s love. It brought me to tears to know that he was taking time out of his life to come hang with me.
We had been speaking about inspiration and pushing our own boundaries within our art.
I told him how much I was working to break out of my routine.
While there’s nothing wrong with routine and consistency, I desperately wanted to break out of my traditional flow.
I don’t typically work with models. Between the lack of shooting for myself and a desire to photograph women who have never seen themselves professionally shot, it just hasn’t been something that I’ve done.
When my friend
told me about Nikiski he said I would love her, and he was not wrong!
We bonded over our love for the dark and macabre.
Nikiski Noir is an EXTREMELY talented makeup artist/ clothing designer/ model. She is a woman of many talents!
But beyond that, she is so down to earth and such a genuinely sweet woman.
While she is no stranger to the camera, this was definitely something outside of her norm.
As photographers, Jerry and I were focused more on evoking emotion and less on having her model.
However, old habits die hard…
It was around this time that Jerry stopped me and asked what I was doing.
“Stop playing safe.”
Jerry has a background in dance and this certainly came into play throughout her session.
We blasted some industrial music and watched as she came to life, moving to the rhythm of the music.
It was almost trance-like watching her move while we circled her, capturing her motions.
For this session, I brought some pieces from my home. This particular skull sits mounted on the wall above our bed.
The long and curving horns were perfect for the image that I had in my head.
They are delicate, yet strong enough to destroy a man. Much like Nikiski.
What I love the most about this session was how naturally it evolved.
We brought in elements that were personal to us and made it something collaborative and beautiful.
What happened next was something that I could have only dreamed of.
I cannot wait to show you how this session evolved!