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 […]

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 […]

Themes

I enjoy all my shoots, but I particularly had fun with this one. When I first mentioned doing a photo series for the 7 Deadly Sins, a lot of people told they thought it was over done. In some ways they’re right, but I thought it would be an interesting challenge to see if I could come up with my own interpretation, despite the fact so many people have put their own stamp on this theme. This photoshoot was Gluttony, which involves an excess of food usually. I got the inspiration for this shoot from an old Gwen Stefani video called “Luxurious.” There’s a scene where Stefani is lying on colorfully wrapped candy. I loved the colors and the concept, and so I adapted it to my shoot. I certainly did get weird looks at the store when I picked up bags and bags of candy. Though I bought quite a lot, it still wasn’t enough. During the shoot, I made sure to arrange the candy so that I would be able to go back into Photoshop and clone the candy so that the entire background would be covered. The editing was a little more difficult than I thought it […]

Happy Hour at Parkwood Photography Studios

   I love going to the workshops hosted by Photographers Adventure Club. These shots are from the most recent Happy Hour Shoot at Parkwood Studios. I’ve never been confident setting up lights in the studio because it requires a high level of accuracy. Lighting, according to many photographers, is the most important element to good photography. So you can imagine why I’ve found it a bit stressful. I really appreciate how PAC sets up the lights and backdrop. Even though I’m not a part of the process, I still learn a lot from watching. The models PAC brings to these workshops are also really good. Since most of my work is the realm of photojournalism, I’m not used to coming up with poses on the spot. Every model I’ve photographed through these workshops has been amazing at coming up with poses. I imagine it’s tough trying to come up with different ideas, but they never cease to amaze me. I’ve actually learned the most from models when it comes to poses because they already know what works and doesn’t work for them.

Tattoo Stories: Alanna

Alanna is a model who I interviewed for my tattoo book. Here’s a snippet from that interview: What’s your favorite part about modeling? Everything I think. I get so excited from the moment we decide what the shoot is going to be like to what I’m going to wear and then the final product. And then I love sharing it with everybody. I think that’s why it’s become my passion and why I want it to be my career because there isn’t one thing I don’t like about it. I feel like I could go hours and hours and not tire from it. It’s just such a creative process. Because of your tattoos, do you model in a particular genre that is geared towards tattoos? No. I think I get away with a lot more loosey goosey with the genre because I fit so tightly into plus size, and they’re very open about what you look like. They want you to be trendy and spunky. So that’s the first thing they notice about me. They don’t necessarily notice the tattoos. It’s just like a cherry on top for them. I haven’t been forced to do one style.

Building My Portfolio

I’ve reached a point in my photography where I actually need a physical portfolio. Most portfolios, I have read, include anywhere between 12 to 24 images. Even though I have shot countless photos, I found the process of selecting images to be quite painful, and that’s not because I’m in love with all of my photos. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who can pick myself apart to the point of tears. I’m extremely self critical. A little self-critiquing is good, but I happen to be a zealot. In the end I had a couple people I trust give me their suggestions as to which images they think I should include. Sometimes when I’m too close to a project I ask others for their opinion. Oftentimes, they see things I haven’t picked up on because I’m too distracted with the technical aspects of the photo. Building my portfolio taught me that I need to appreciate the journey just as much as the final result.

Phx Fashion Week: Shop Garment District Show

    Last week was Phoenix Fashion Week’s Shop Garment District Show. The event, which took place at the elegant Palomar Hotel is Downtown Phoenix, was another showcase for the top 13 emerging designers. Before the runway show, guests had an opportunity to meet the designers and shop their collections. Though the event was smaller than the Emerging Designer & Top 40 Model Announcements that took place in June, the enthusiasm and support for these designers and models was just as strong. The runway show was a testament to how much these designers have grown in just a few months. Each designer got to present 4 outfits. Some of theses designers even got to work with leading local stylists Audree Kate, Jenesis Laforcarde, Nuvia Magdahi, and Jackie Marin. The collections that stood out to me the most were Hues of Ego, Arae, and Michi Kinitwear. In fact, Hues of Ego seemed to be a crowd favorite that night. The designs from these brands looked complete and high quality. Hues of Ego pulled off a pinkish lace jumpsuit that look both elegant and wearable. I especially liked the sparkly ornament hanging down the model’s back. I also appreciated how the stylists […]

Emerging Designer & Model Launch

   Last week was the Emerging Designer & Model Launch Party, which took place at Livewire in Scottsdale. The venue was packed and buzzing with excitement. I arrived onto the scene early, as I often like to do when I know I’ll be photographing. The evening started with a press conference for the 13 emerging designers who are participating in Phoenix Fashion Week’s Designer Boot Camp. These designers are handpicked by Phoenix Fashion Week. During the boot camp, they learn tips on branding, production, and finding buyers. At PHXFW’s October Fashion Event one these designers will win the Designer of the Year award. During the press conference each designer had a chance to talk about their influences and the process of building a fashion brand. Natasha from Hues of Ego commented that architecture often influences her designs. Rachel Levine from Arae described her passion for Shibori, a special tie-dying technique that is done by hand. Levine traveled to different parts of the country to learn from the masters of this process, and she is successfully incorporating her passion for this technique into her clothing line. I particularly appreciated hearing about the challenges they faced and how they overcame those obstacles. […]

Model of the Year

Stilettos, skinny jeans, and sleek hair. Last Saturday was Phoenix Fashion Week’s Model of the Year search. Over a hundred men and women competed for one of the top 40 spots. The grand finale male and female winners will win a coveted modeling contract with Agency Arizona. I was one of a handful of photographers who had the opportunity to photograph and interview these promising contenders. Even though this event was a competition, the environment wasn’t at all unfriendly or intimidating. After all, we’re all participating so that we can become more involved with the fashion community. This event was a particularly a good experience for me because I’m not used to being part of the (and I use this word rather loosely) “paparazzi.” I had to act fast because no one was standing in one place for very long. Timing and luck is most of it. At first my shots were a bit sloppy or I wouldn’t be able to get my camera to focus quickly enough. Fortunately, it didn’t take me too long to catch up. I will continuing to document my experiences with Phoenix Fashion Week. On June 11th the the winners will be announced for top […]

The Importance of a Stylist

In the beginning, it’s common for photographers to wear multiple hats. For my first fashion shoot, I played stylist and photographer. Though I pulled it off, it was stressful finding clothes and matching them with the right accessories. Even though I love fashion, my jeans and t-shirt style made me feel a little out of my element. Needless to say, the shoot gave me a greater appreciation for stylists. There is so much that goes into creating a great fashion shoot. Lighting and camera equipment aside, there’s the selection of clothing, accessories, makeup, and hair. Every decision creates a nuance in the entire look. In a fashion editorial there are multiple outfits. Every outfit has to have it’s own look but also fit into a greater theme. This is no easy feat. Creating different looks while maintaining continuity is harder than it sounds. Stylists deserve a lot of credit. Last week I attended the Spring into Style event, hosted by Phoenix Fashion Week. The breadth of talent confirmed that Phoenix’s fashion community is only getting stronger. Six local stylists, which included Vanessa Gonzales, Nuvia Magdahi, Audree Lopez, Jenesis Laforcarde, Timothy Boado, and Jackie Marin, presented their interpretation on various themes. […]