Play No Games

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AdjaniBlowEDITED

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After a few failed attempts, I was finally able to connect with Adjani for a really fun shoot. We took these photos at a location I’ve been to a million times. It’s a low key golf course and arcade thats crawling with kids all summer. The place was packed when we shot, which I love Adjani even more for. There are tons of mirrors and neon lights and I knew I wanted her to have a bold but simple look.

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#MODELMONDAZE W/ KAORI

Happy Monday!

I’m back, freshly rested, after a long weekend in SoCal visiting my BFF – and stopping by the motherland (Disneyland), and in the spirit of growth I thought I’d share some reflections from a recent shoot that left me feeling disappointed and slightly disheartened.

But before I go into the gritty details, below are some of the best shots from our 2.5 hour session.
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Bikini Tops: Target   |   Black Bottoms: Forever21   |   Shorts: Custom Collective

I used to take the Lil Wayne approach to photography; work fast and often and develop a large body of work, and you’re bound to get some quality images.

I met Kaori after she responded to an ad I placed on craigslist looking for subjects to shoot with. She saw this shoot I did with Angela and wanted to create something similar.  I wanted to make sure the series’ didn’t look too similar so for Kaori, I had a more Americana-retro vibe in mind.

What went wrong?
1. Kaori’s not an actual model.
And I mean model in the technical sense. Models understand how to elongate their own bodies with out being told. They understand what positions and angles make their body look appealing. And ideally, they’re extremely facially expressive. Kaori did her best as far as positioning her body and following my directions, but she had a hard time creating unnatural facial expressions (anything other than natural smile, laugh, etc) and struggled getting comfortable in positions she isn’t normally in.

2. My set was tired. We shot this series at a local beach where I shot the boudoir series that inspired Kaori a few weeks earlier. The other shoot went so well, I thought it would be as quick and easy as it was before. But shooting such similar projects in the same location had me struggling to create new images that were different, compositionally, than the ones I got the first time around. Unfortunately, when I shot with Kaori, the tide was out, so that limited the types of shots I was getting even more. I couldn’t use the ocean as a prop or a background at the beach, which is probably the worst thing that could have happen.

3. I didn’t prep properly. I always prep for shoots, with good time in advance, but I’m realizing that what I’m doing may not be the most productive way to do things. For example, when I was figuring out the direction for this series, I looked mostly online for inspo, which I always do, when what would have been a better use of my time would be to meet with Kaori first, get a feel for her personality and what she can do and then go from there. This is much less of an issue when you work with an experienced models, but if you’re not, it can make a huge difference in the kind of photos you’ll get. (*Better prep probably could have helped with my empty ocean issue too)

The good thing is, this was a great opportunity for me to learn some valuable lessons. This shoot changed the way I plan and execute my personal projects from now on, and I feel like taking these 3 points into consideration are going to help me elevate the quality of my shoots. I used to take the Lil Wayne approach to photography; work fast and often and develop a large body of work, and you’re bound to get some quality images. Now tho, I see the value in taking the time to create work that is of a higher quality, rather than rushing to create a high volume of work.

What are some game changing tips you’ve learned from your past failures?

 

XO,

Jess

 

 

#MODELMONDAZE W/ MIKE MARTIN

Having something dope to look at always helps make my Mon-daze easier. Mike Martin is an artist out of Oakland, CA and the creator of 6638. We shot these candid photos a few weeks ago as promo for some upcoming projects he’s working on.

SEGWAYING TOUR THROUGH GOLDEN GATE PARK

Believe me when I tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve ridden a Segway. A few weeks ago, I took my lil boo on a Segway tour through Golden Gate Park for his birthday. This was our second time so we were excited for the longer ride and more challenging terrain.

I’ve lived in the Bay Area my whole life and this was my first time really getting to explore Golden Gate park. We took our tour through the Electric Tour Company. Their adventures are great for locals or tourists and their guides are full of interesting facts and helpful hints about San Francisco. For example, did you know that Golden Gate Park is the largest urban park of it’s kind in the U.S.? 5 times the size of New York’s Central Park? Neither did I!

 
TOP: A teeny fairy door in a hollow tree. BOTTOM LEFT: The Shakespeare Garden, a popular (& inexpensive!) wedding venue tucked deep into Golden Gate Park. BOTTOM RIGHT: A greenhouse made of wood and glass, left over from one of the world’s fairs?  I can’t totally remember but I know they have a corpse plant and venus fly traps on display inside so it’s definitely worth the checking out. ABOVE: The highlight of the hike ride (…?) was when our guide brought us to this stunning waterfall. The waterfall came out of the side of a hill and flowed into a pool that dropped into the lake. The huge flat stones (LEFT) formed a walking path to cross the pool, which was about 30 feet wide – you can’t tell in either of my pictures
:{  I was shocked at the size of the waterfall when we walked up, it was so big. There was a bridge near the top we were able to walk across for amazing selfies with a waterfall right behind us. The weather was kind of against us that day and it rained on and off but they were nice enough to let us borrow jackets and gloves.

THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY

In the frigid fall air in rural Oregon a pair of hikers wandered into an abandoned family farm. Hidden among the overgrown weeds and the remains of the family’s tattered belongings the hikers discovered 4 small children living as ghosts. The children, without proper care from an adult developed a survivalist lifestyle, becoming accustomed to the harsh weather and using the piles of broken materials and tools as play toys in their dangerous games.

The hikers were struck by the children right away and immediately started taking photos. The children seemed almost used to their presence, and led the awestruck documentarians  around their home.

 

This was one of my favorite shoots I did this year! I love shooting with my nieces and nephew. They are such great models and always down for whatever crazy idea I want them to try. The love scary stuff and The Walking Dead is one of their favorite shows. For this shoots, I wanted something like The Walking Dead meets Kid Nation, that ill conceived Fox reality show following the lives of 20 children abandoned in the middle of no where and forced to compete to survive.  The final product just screaaaaamed ‘Addams Family’, don’t you think?

XO,

J