My Relationship With Fiction

Before I became a photographer, I studied creative writing. During my time as a graduate student at California College of the Arts, I finished my first (and very rough) draft of my novel in addition to a handful of short stories. When I started my novel, I didn’t even know it was going to be a novel. At the time, I was working with a mentor who wanted me to practice writing emotions associated with the description of a room. A single writing exercise turned in to the first two chapters of my story. Since then I have learned more about fiction through the process of writing my first novel.   It’s not easy for me to articulate my relationship with fiction because it has evolved over time. I used to believe that there was a sharp divide between myself and the material I created. The reason I chose fiction was that I wanted to explore personalities and subject matters that I thought I would never experience in my own life. It has always been too difficult for me to write about anything that too closely resembles my life. I can’t be entirely authentic because I get anxious. Part of […]

Tarot Deck: The Moon

  It is usually at night that our fears and anxieties begin to spiderweb. When you step outside, the moon (especially when it’s full) illuminates some things, but not everything. What we can’t see with our eyes, we fill in with our imagination. Often, this leads to worry, paranoia, or making rash decisions.   The Moon has a few interpretations. This card can mean confusion, deception, or worry. Sometimes the best thing to do when life is unclear is to be patient and wait for or gather more information. This is can be very challenging because people tend to want to resolve whatever is bothering them quickly. However, there are some situations where there is nothing you can do but wait.   When this card shows up in a reading, take stock in what could be contributing to your confusion or fears. During the darkest of times we can learn a lot about ourselves. Strength doesn’t develop unless we are being challenged. Take a deep breath, observe, and listen. Eventually, the darkness will pass.  

Tips for Photographing Art

  I really enjoy photographing art because I love to photograph visually stunning objects. Taking pictures of art is a form of product photography, where the goal is to create an image that accurately represents the art piece. Some art pieces are much more difficult to photograph than others. For example, glitter has proven to be my most challenging issue when I photograph art. In my personal life and work, glitter is my obsession. However, glitter produces a lot of highlights and in other places it can appear much darker than it actually is. When I correct one issue, another one emerges. In this particular instance, I recommend taking multiple photos with slightly varied lighting settings and check to see what looks most like the piece. It’s always good to be in communication with the client. If there’s more than one option, let the artist weigh in on the selection.   When I do art photoshoots, I work much differently than when I shoot for an art project or event. I’ve listed below some recommendations that have helped me.   1.)  Use a cable to connect your camera to Lightroom on your computer: I usually don’t like to use cables […]

Antique vs Vintage: What’s the difference?

Before I had started working on my second book, which explores the history of mannequins, I had always used the words vintage and antique interchangeably. It turns out that they are not the same. Antiques are items that are over 100 years old. There is no definitive rule for vintage, but it usually refers to items that are around twenty years or older.   One of the models that I frequently work with is known for her beautiful vintage wardrobe. Her name is Liliana, and I met her roughly three years ago when I was working on my first book, Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits. Most of our shoots have been in the studio, but this time we decided to photograph at her home, which she has furnished and decorated with antiques and vintage items. Her home reminded me of something that I would see in a magazine or a museum. She told me that most of the items she found in Goodwill stores around the Phoenix metropolitan area. Needless to say, I was in awe of her home and often got distracted looking at all the figurines, artwork, and other items that I don’t usually see anywhere else. […]

Why I Wrote A Book About Mannequins

  I had never planned to work on a project involving mannequins. Even though I found them interesting, I just never thought to write a book about them. This changed during a trip I took with a friend of mine back in 2015. The two of us were walking along State Street in Santa Barbara, California when an antique store caught our attention. Their store front was so colorful and filled with interesting things that we were immediately drawn in, as though strings were pulling us into the store. Once inside, I started to notice several mannequin heads perched on shelves and stuffed between other antique and vintage items. Each one was different. I was so enchanted by these busts that I started to take pictures of them with my phone. I didn’t touch or move them. I only wanted to show their beauty and uniqueness.   From that point on I began photographing mannequins whenever I saw them in an antique store. I also started reading about their history, and I learned a lot of things that surprised me about these fashion dolls. Mannequins have been used for thousands of years. In 1923, Howard Carter discovered a mannequin that […]

Adjusting to the “New Normal”: Life in the time of COVID

I know everyone has been affected by COVID-19 in one way or another, and some have been more affected than others. In fact, I’ve been reluctant to express how the pandemic impacted me because I know that on the spectrum of struggles there are people out there who have it much worse. However, regardless of where anyone is in the spectrum, it’s important to acknowledge that there is a connection between current events and our emotional health. As a dear friend once told me, “Pain is not a competition.”   Since we are in the midst of unprecedented times, I’ve had to completely rework my timeline and strategy for my projects. Most of my freelance work has been on hold because people aren’t hosting or attending large events. This means that I have had to reevaluate my budget for publishing, marketing, and advertising. Since I’ve had a career in the arts since I was eighteen, I understand that uncertainty comes with the territory and being able to adapt is crucial. For me, this means exploring new ways to create content and generate revenue.   I’m still in the process of figuring it out, but I’ve made changes to my workflow […]

Author Photo: Why you need to have one

Having a really good author photo is especially important because anywhere between 600,000 and a million books are published each year. That’s a lot of competition. Even if you’re a phenomenal writer, you still want to do everything you can to increase your chances of a potential buyer noticing your book. While you may think of the author photo as just the small square image inside your book, there are many other uses of your photo that you probably haven’t considered.   In this blog, I’ll explain why author photos are important and give you some tips on making sure you put your best foot — or in this case your face — forward. Why do I need an author photo? Some people just don’t like having their photo taken. I completely understand those people because I’m one of them. However, there are some things in life that you simply can’t avoid, and this is one of them. Creating your brand is one of the most important elements in creating a successful career as an author. Your photo is a part of that branding. You don’t have to have a bunch of photos of yourself, but I do recommend having […]

The Second Book: Lessons Gained and Lessons Learned

When I was in graduate school, a mentor told me that each book was like starting over. Each project has its own differences and challenges. I didn’t completely understand this until I started working on my second book, which explores the history of mannequins. Of course there were certain things that were easier about making this book because I had learned those lessons while working on Tattle Tales. However, when it came time to publish the second book, I realized that I had to do things differently. This meant another learning curve and a bit of frustration.   Being a writer, and especially a self-published author, means that you’re constantly learning. Besides developing your skills as a writer, you have to stay on top of all the new ways of marketing, publishing, and distributing. In the age of technology, the rules are always evolving and changing. Additionally, what works for one book may not work for the other book. I’ve listed some of the lessons I have learned from my second book.   The message of this post is to urge self-published authors to be flexible and open minded. I had a much different idea of my path when I […]

Mannequins Play a New Role

  Since the lockdown in March, many things in our world has changed. Besides the fact that much of the country is in shutdown, we are also getting used to new rules and trends, such as masks, plastic partitions, virtual interactions, and refraining from any social interactions that involve touching (like hand shakes and hugs). It’s a whole new world, and humans once again prove that during challenging times the creative mind can produce some entertaining solutions.   Later this year I will be releasing my second book, Mannequins: Stories of the First Supermodel. In my book, I explore the history of mannequins and how they have played an important role in our society. These fashion figures reflect the social norms of the time, showing what is popular and desirable to own. When stores began closing their doors due to the pandemic shutdown, I wondered what would become of mannequins. So much of their existence is dependent on people shopping in brick and mortar stores. A friend sent me an article from The Guardian, which reported that restaurants were using mannequins and blow up dolls to occupy some of the tables to creatively implement social distancing. While some people might […]