TIGHTROPE

I’ve probably driven over the bay bridge …. 500 times? A few years ago, when they opened the ‘new’ bay bridge, it included a pedestrian walking path, and walking it has been on my bucket list since then. This weekend, I finally got to cross it off my bucket list! (I don’t think I’m too young for one of those – and I do love the feeling of crossing something off of a list soooooo….)

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It was a perfect day, which was good cause I was worried I was gonna freeze out there (and my friend, who offered me a weight vest [didnt’ know that was a thing] was afraid I was literally gonna get blown away).

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From where we parked and back, it’s about a 9 mile walk, but it really doesn’t feel like it. It was pretty crazy walking next to a freeway and even crazier once we got out over the open water of the bay.

And OHMIGAD, funniest story.

Soooo, my sister, who has always, sort of, done things her own way, ended up walking the bridge in flip flops. We’re about a third of the way out onto the bridge when we stop at one of maintenence overhangs to lean over and look at the birds nesting on the old parts of the bridge. My sister is hella short and boosted herself onto the bottom rail to see more. She had just stuck her leg through the gaps in the guard rail when a rush of air from a passing truck hit us and blew her shoe clean TF off. It was like it happened in slow motion! It just gently blew off and floated down onto the overhang about 5 feet below us. So funny. She was a boss tho, and didn’t even make me turn around and go back to the car; we walked the whole thing!

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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

 

 

Straight Outta Oakland

BWA_Angela0815_028Raise your hand if you saw ‘Straight Outta Compton’ when it came out a few weeks ago? I can’t be the only one who found it to be a HUGE source of creative inspiration, can I? Literally, everything – the music, the attitude, the fashion, the struggle, the message, it relevancy today (HELLOO)….the over kill of black clothing and raiders gear…. it really spoke to me.

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Lucky for me, one of my many muses, @_persuasioon was up to the task of embodying my B.W.A. a tough, fun, modern twist on what it means to be female in the 21st century. Our grandma’s days of passivity are long gone. We’re out here making moves and getting money in higher numbers than ever before despite the overwhelming effort of mass media to keep us boxed in. Keep being you ladies (and gentleman)! Whatever that is, and whatever you do, don’t let anyone stop you.