First, two amazing people stand before you here! Second, I love helping people set the tone for their brand and passion!
There was a moment in planning this shoot with director John Langs of ACT when I felt we were working out a truly unique concept, even though we were talking about the well-known story of Romeo and Juliet. With all the preparation and experience I’d had up to that point, nothing had prepared me for the overwhelming emotions I felt seeing this shoot transform in front of my eyes. We had set the stage, had a crew of about 10 assisting with lighting and the various pieces needed to make this come together. It seemed that all the hours of prep disappeared the moment Gabriella and Josh walked in. It was moments of watching the direction of John Langs before Romeo and Juliet came to life. The whole production just sat in awe or moved through the staging to assist the scene that we couldn’t bear to interrupt. Josh and Gabriella had literally just met, and they both transformed us into the scene until the hairs on the back of our necks stood up. When we completed the shoot, we all paused. I thought I was going to cry and I held back, thinking I was probably the only one. But it was one breathless confession after the other that we had truly experienced something special.
Here is a beautiful feature with Seattle Times that describes the work and what we can expect in this production: “Here’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ like you’ve never seen it, with the star-crossed lovers bridging the gap between American Sign Language and English”
Video: Cameron Johnson
Fine Art Party
You may have seen this Fine Art Party featured on King5 Evening Magazine, where you got a little back story of how these ladies came to do a party with me. I first met with Lena, Alma, Marika, and Kelli in our creative consult where I discovered they are all women who have built businesses and communities that have been crucial to humanity's greatest need: belonging and connection. As we walked through some of their courageous stories, we found a common thread between them. All felt re-energized through the power of the elements. It’s always interesting to sit down with people to see what they are inspired by and what visions they have for themselves. Sometimes people need to play and laugh, and other times people sit in a place of personal discovery through the process. We found ourselves exploring the latter.
During our consult, I learned how strong and vulnerable each has been while pushing their projects forward. After our creative session, I felt a bit overwhelmed. How would I interpret this in art? It isn’t an overstatement that I spend about 40 hrs per shoot to process and plan on how to answer that very question.
For this shoot, Evening Magazine joined us. I felt so grateful that these four took the time to share their photoshoot and thoughts about their experience with EM’s stellar crew. It lit up this experience from a perspective that I had not quite seen it before. I had to pause to notice and then put the pieces together a bit about my career. I joke often “I’m not saving lives!” but I do touch lives. Not always, but often, creating personal customized art brings layers of human stories. As I write this, I am so touched to reflect on 20 yrs of stories. Some things that are so personal they belong between me, my client and the artwork.
Lena reflected after our shoot, “these are real-life superheroes!” I couldn’t agree more.
Fine Art Party
What is going on in this image? This group of friends wanted to base this image on the famous Coolidge painting, Dogs Playing Poker. From there, we decided that each would base their character off of their favorite vintage actress. From there, this party got wild with cigars, drinks, friendship and betrayal. I even got coaxed into dressing up to join a few of our candids.
What we decide to create always pulls out some kind of deeper meaning for the people involved. Of course, artists leave that up the the viewer to interpret. I’ll just leave you with this: Critic Annette Ferrara has described Dogs Playing Poker as "indelibly burned into ... the American collective-schlocksubconscious ... through incessant reproduction on all manner of pop ephemera".
As a mother and creative, I’ve come to know in my own life that the imagination or a child or childlike imagination is one of the most important creative resources we have in life. And I would argue it is responsible for the greatest inventions of our lifetime. I spent many years documenting lovely family interactions in beautiful light and stunning locations, but my own imagination was pushing me into a different way of documenting milestones in a child’s life. That is, diving into the child’s imagination and creating artwork to illustrate the stories they tell.
I have been photographing Oliver since he was a tiny baby, and over the years he has told me different stories beginning with “what if” and “could you imagine”. I was watching him run through the fountain one day, and as it soaked him I could see the fantasy story unfolding for him. He had transformed into a different world.
I am now booking 2019/2020 concept sessions for children.
It’s not only a video about my work, but opening up the world to VR with creative director Mark Feijo of King 5 and Fortress Films. This is best watched with a VR headset or Google Cardboard. Although you will miss out on being in the room with us, you may also view it and enjoy on another device.
NOCCO, the conductorless orchestra, has been a moving experience for me to document. Pun intended, but nonetheless true. For projects you may not have particular expertise in prior, you can stand in complete awe and pause for something truly remarkable. Everything I do comes from this raw, unfinished perspective. A place where I’m reading the story not from inception, and not from a polished ending; I’m interpreting in from between those spaces, the spaces where imagination, tears, fears and deepest hopes inform the labor and sweat.
NOCCO being conductorless shows us the power of live connection by performing in the spaces of fine tuned skill and heart.
video by: Cameron Johnson