Photographer and Author
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 […]
Jul 13
Playing with Color Gels
  During my last photoshoot with Angela Jordan, I decided to take a few minutes to experiment with color gels. I have never taken a class on color theory, but I frequently check out Pinterest and Instagram to look at other photographers’ lighting techniques. I’ve notice that photographers use certain color combinations, and I tried to incorporate what I liked in my photoshoot with Angela.   I think when used correctly, color gels can really make an impact on your images. I had so much fun with this shoot that it’s inspired me to do more shoots with color gels.   I also want to thank Angela Jordan for being my muse once again. She is one of the few models that I frequently use for my photoshoots. She’s versatile, and I’m always amazed at how she poses her body to portray drastically different themes.
Jun 29
Working with Mannequins
      When I was working on Mannequins: Stories of the First Supermodel, I purchased these two busts for an idea I had for an artistic photoshoot. I have not yet finished this project, but I have worked frequently with these two beauties.   As someone who likes to try new ideas with lighting, I like the idea of being able to practice before experimenting at a photoshoot. When I’m working with a model, I like to be fully prepared. It doesn’t mean that I’m not making adjustments during the photoshoot, but I don’t want to waste precious time. If I do want to try out an idea, I’ll wait until the end of the shoot.   Mannequins are great because you can practice your photography whenever the mood strikes you. They can’t talk back or complain that you’re taking too long. They are very patient and forgiving models. 😉 The names of these two mannequins are Melina and Monique.
My Return to Writing Fiction
Even though my first book was nonfiction, I actually started out as a novelist. In 2012, I graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts. I was in the process of reworking my first novel when I realized that I needed to step away from the story to clear my head. During what was supposed to be a short break resulted in Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits. Now, I’m getting ready to publish my second photography book, which covers the subject of mannequins.   Just as I was getting ready to start my third book, COVID-19 spread throughout the world and halted my progress. I’ll admit that I felt disappointed, but one of the things I have learned as an artist has been adapting to change. The arts is one of the least stable careers for a variety of reasons and therefore the only way to have longevity is to be able to adapt and transform. As a result of the lockdown, I had to choose a different route for my third book. I have decided to return to my roots, which is fiction.   During my two years as graduate […]
May 11
How Fashion Shaped My Photography
  When I was eighteen, I invented the Bisadora Hip Purse, which earned an engineering patent. Being involved in the fashion industry taught me a lot about photography. There are so many genres of photography and, in the fashion business, I learned about product, lifestyle, and editorial photography. During my time as a handbag designer, I became more involved in photography and I ended up doing a few of the photoshoots myself.   Product photography taught me the importance of lighting and posing. Color accuracy is important for obvious reasons, but I also learned that the pose was just as important. I ran an online shop, and the models had to show how the purse would look on the body. In these types of photoshoots, the handbag was more important than the model. Product photography is more straight forward compared to other types of photography because the purpose is to show the product as accurately as possible. Also, there’s immediate feedback if customers feel that the website description is inaccurate.   When I worked on photoshoots for marketing campaigns and social media, I learned about the importance of storytelling. Without using words, I created lifestyle shots that I felt best […]
You’re Not Alone Even If You Feel You’re Alone
This isn’t going to be my typical blog post. At a time like this, it’s impossible to go about business as usual. All of our lives have been affected by the virus in some way or another. I also know there’s already a lot of information out there about COVID-19, the economy and job loss, and mental issues stemming from prolonged isolation.   So, why am I even bothering writing about a topic that’s been front page news for weeks? I think it’s worth reiterating that the majority of us are suffering from anxiety and depression from the uncertainty that many of us face as a result of COVID-19 and it’s impact on businesses and the economy. While social distancing and self-imposed isolation are critical at this time, we would be remiss to believe that these policies wouldn’t have an effect on our mental state.   Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The mass of men live their lives in quiet desperation.” Sometimes social media convinces us that we are not living our lives right. Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen many posts of people chilling in their fashionable loungewear and announcing that they’re doing their “inner work,” meditating, playing board […]
Mar 23
Don’t Be A Negative Nancy!
  When I’m working on my books, there is a lot of pressure to make sure everything is perfect. A lot of research and marketing/advertising experiments are involved in self-publishing. Last year, there were so many days that I just came home and sat in front of the television because my brain felt fried. I missed being creative, but I didn’t have the energy to do anymore.   This year, I’m trying to allow myself a little more time to work on my personal projects. So far, it’s been a challenging balancing act, but one that I feel is important to maintain.   The Women Series One night, I asked my mother, “Where did Negative Nancy come from? What did Nancy ever do to deserve that title?”   In fact, the Negative Nancy meme goes back to the 1960s when President Lyndon Johnson called his critics of his Vietnam War policies “Nervous Nellies.” The name caught on and soon people were applying the idea to other names, such as Debbie Downer, Chatty Cathy, ect.   I thought this was comical, and I decided that I was going to challenge myself to find a name for every letter in the alphabet […]
Mar 16
Tarot Cards
I love working with themes. Because I’m interested in so many different artistic styles, I enjoy immersing myself in a particular style for a period of time and then switching it up to do something else.   Many years ago, a friend introduced me to her Gilded Tarot deck, designed and written by Ciro Marchetti and  Barbara Moore. I immediately fell in love with the colorful artwork. Each card was packed with symbolism and meaning. Since then, I have purchased a few of my own decks, one of which is the Gilded Deck. Each deck has its own theme, whether it’s fairies, cats, Steampunk, or collage. I do go through periods where I use one particular deck because the artwork resonates with me at that time. In fact, the photo I’m using for this post is from The Steampunk Tarot deck illustrated and written by Aly Fell and Barbara Moore. I immediately fell in love with this deck because the cards look dark and mysterious, and I love anything that is Steampunk.   One of the most recognized decks is the original Rider-Waite Tarot Deck. In 1903, Arthur Edward Waite, who wrote the booklet, hired a young artist named Pamela […]
Rosie’s House
  A couple of weeks ago, I was hired to photograph a Mardi Gras party that was raising funds for Rosie’s House, an organization that offers music lessons to disadvantaged children. The festive event was a huge success, and it was pretty clear that everyone was having a great time. One of the young students from Rosie’s House performed a very difficult piano piece that received a resounding applause from the audience. Even though event photography can be exhausting, I truly enjoy it. I always meet such incredible people, and there’s something very satisfying about contributing (even if it’s a small part) to events that benefit such organizations. Over the years, I have done many different types of photography ranging from concerts, fashion, portraiture, and weddings. Event photography can be fairly easy or really difficult depending on how well the photographer prepares. Before this event, I practiced with a mannequin to make sure that I knew how I would handle different lighting situations. The important thing to remember about event photography is that very little is in your control. Chances are you haven’t seen the venue, you can’t change the lighting, and the attendees are busy, which means you have […]
Book Contests: Are they worth it?
When I first started getting into photography, I would submit my work to contests now and again. Most of these contests I found through social media platforms. While many of them had reasonable application fees, they were time consuming and I was competing against thousands of very talented photographers. After a while, I wrote off contests.   Fast forward a couple years. . . I published my debut book, Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits, and now I was trying to gain exposure for my book. As a self-published author, it can be extremely challenging to get your book seen by the right audience. According to Forbes, anywhere between 600,000 to a million titles are published each year. The chances of readers stumbling onto your book on Amazon is pretty small.   In the beginning, I was mostly focused on social media marketing and advertising. By chance, I found out about a contest from the Nonfiction Author’s Association Book Awards program. I entered the contest and received two Gold Awards for Photography and Pop Culture. In addition, to receiving an emblem and title, which I could now use for my marketing materials, I got exposure from their marketing channels from […]
My Self-Publishing Journey: Social Media
I’ll be honest here. If I weren’t an artist, I probably wouldn’t be on social media or my presence would be limited. I’m very shy and introverted, and I’ve seen the ugly side of social media. However, while I might complain about social media, I also understand that it plays an integral part in our lives. This is particularly true for individuals who are marketing themselves. Social media has its place, and it’s here to stay.   I’m not writing this post because I’m an expert on social media. Like most people out there, I have struggled building my social media presence. Over the last couple of years, I have spoken to other artists who have experienced the same challenges as me and hearing their stories has helped me put things into a more healthy perspective. Let’s face it, the self-publishing world is not for the faint of heart and there are many days you might feel like you’re working for nothing. There were many days that I would scroll through Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and think, “What am I doing wrong?”   Building a meaningful presence on social media takes time, but don’t discount the small successes along the […]
Annual Local Author Book Sale
On Saturday February 1st, the Scottsdale Civic Center Library hosted the 7th Annual Local Author Book Sale. As an author and photographer, I feel strongly about supporting local authors and artists. This event is great for authors to share their work and expand their readership. It’s also a great opportunity for readers looking for new books. There something for everyone. Categories range from children’s books, novels, memoirs, and other nonfiction categories.   The book sale is free to the public, and it typically runs from 10AM until 2PM. What I really appreciated about this event was that it was a nice size. Sometimes book/art fairs are so massive that I feel lost, but I was able to check out all the authors in a reasonable amount of time. I was especially happy to see some familiar faces. The following writers I have met through the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers. I have learned so much from these talented women, and I highly suggest you take a look at their work.         If you missed this book sale, have no fear. There are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to support the growing community of Arizona writers. The […]
Jan 27
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Shoots
Whether you’re hiring a model or someone has hired you for a photoshoot, efficiency and time management is extremely important. You want to get the most from your shoots. With digital cameras there is no excuse not to get more than what you actually need.   As a musician, I’ve been to my fair share of shoots. Some photographers were so unorganized that I spent an entire day sitting around just to be photographed for a few minutes. They were horrible experiences. No one likes to have their time wasted. The biggest reason that photographers have stressful shoots is that they don’t do enough planning ahead of time. Obviously things may happen on the day of the shoot that are not within your control. However, if you put some thought into what you want to get out of the shoot, you’ll be able to adapt more quickly.   I’ve listed a few tips that other photographers have shared with me. It may seem like common sense, and that’s because it is. There’s a lot to think about when you plan a photoshoot, and sometimes certain logistics get lost in the planning. It happens to everyone. That’s why it’s helpful to […]
Getting the Right Pose
  When I first started doing fashion and artistic photoshoots, I struggled with posing the models. If the model was experienced, I didn’t have any issues because he/she already knew how to use her body to create certain looks. Personally, I have a difficult time posing in front of the camera, so it would also make sense that I would have a hard time explaining what I wanted from the model. This was especially true in the case when I worked with people who were uncomfortable being in front of the camera.   In a boudoir photography workshop I participated in a few years ago, the teacher showed us a notebook that was filled with different types of poses. The notebook was divided into categories, such as sitting, standing, and closeup poses. I thought this was a brilliant idea, so I created my own notebook. The next time I had a shoot, instead of describing the pose, I had the model look at some examples. It worked like magic. Since then I have always brought examples to my shoots.   My goal with poses is to find something that looks “natural” for the model. We’ve all seen those awkward photos […]