This series was created in a completely backwards manner. My series usually come from an idea that pops into my head with a storyline behind it. Then I find the model and location to match. I look for the right props, the right outfit.
This series, called The Dunes was born out of complete randomness. My friend Kyla (Fearless Photography) and I were talking about the difficulties of creating original work while having jobs and taking care of our families. At some point in the conversation I said, “I really want to shoot in the Sand Dunes!” (it is a national park in Colorado.) She said, “Me too!”. It was quite simple.
I asked Katie if she would model for us. We set up a date and booked a hotel. Stacey Imran heard me talk about it and asked if she could come along.
And that was that.
The trip came upon me as if unannounced, and I did not plan the shoot.
On our way to the dunes, Kyla spotted a vintage store full of random props and as we entered I spotted a raggedy doll and some lace, and a story slowly took shape in my mind.
As the shoot progressed I felt that I had a pretty solid story but it was shot backwards, which means that the flow of the pictures goes from the end of the story (the widow standing in front of her destroyed home) to the beginning (the child bride looking toward her uncertain future), with some developments in the middle. (The dunes changed our bride and turned her into a mystical creature that Kyla actually photographed).
What makes this series so unique is that Kyla created her own images, using the same model, outfit, location and time of day. Her images are sometimes very similar, and sometimes radically different from mine. Our experience took us on two different paths even though we were shooting side by side. Here is her blog: Exploration, Sand and Friends
I divided my series into 3 parts: The Lonely House, Dunes , The Child Bride. Please feel free to interpret this series however you want 🙂
I. The Lonely House
Imagine what happened in this house, a few miles away from the Dunes. The ground was covered with tiny animal bones and mud, layers of mud. Bats were hidden in the roof. There were horses galloping on the road and a storm above the dunes. The place had this electric and sad vibe . This is where I took Katie and the rag doll for the first shoot.
We reached the Dunes just as the sun was setting. Kyla and I decided to go for the purple dress and let it flow with Katie’s motions. Katie became less “human”, and more connected to her surroundings (see images here). Kyla captured more of her mystical side while I remained on the “dancer” side of her .
I love how we had the elements of wind, water, earth and fire throughout this shoot.
III. The Child Bride
We woke up at 4:30 the next morning and walked to the dunes before sunrise to get as many shots as we could. Kyla and I decided to have Katie wear a lace dress, which became the inspiration behind the bride idea.
This image is the only clear vision that I had for this shoot and it came to me as I was holding the doll at the store. Kyla saw me practice the pose and knew exactly what was going to happen 🙂
Katie holds the doll, a symbol of her childhood. She walks on undefined with her eyes covered. She is in a transition from childhood to adulthood, blinded to what the future would hold.
At what point do you leave your childhood behind you?
This is the end of the series, but then Kyla had this great unicorn head and while she was shooting, I captured Katie attacking Kyla!
It was around 6:30 AM when we stopped shooting and the sun was brightening the dunes. We were cold (Katie was frozen), and we walked back to our cars, tired but so excited by what we had accomplished. The four of us drove to the middle of nowhere and created amazing images.
A special thank you to Stacey for being so excited over this, and her enthusiasm is what kept us going.
I am glad to have done this shoot-out with Kyla. We share the same love for photography. I have the crazy original idea, and she has the stamina to see the project through. We complement each other!
I am also so glad that Katie was our model for this series. She is a extremely talented, enduring and patient model. She gave life to those images and gave Kyla and I the voice we needed to express our visions.