Justin and Laura

Justin and Laura are getting married in September in Philadelphia, and I was so glad they asked me to take their engagement pictures. They wanted a vintage-y look and I was more than happy to oblige! They were the most fun to be with. Doesn’t Laura have the most open and friendly smile ever? And even Justin had a good time, admitting that “It was better than I thought it would be!” lol. They both live here and work for the awesome Jackson Generals, and they were interested to see a side of Jackson they had never before seen. Best of luck to you both! See you at the games this summer!

engagement pictures at train depot, Jackson TN wedding photographer

“The Three Bears” from “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”

“The Three Bears”

How many bowls can one person collect for a photo shoot? I sure spent lots of time gathering bowls for this one! I struggled with how to stage this story, toying with ideas such as using lots of chairs, seating Annika in a large chair, or posing her in front of a small cottage. But in the end I decided that the bowls would be a perfect idea, alluding to the story without being too obvious.  Annika is a perfect “Silverhair” (or Goldilocks as she is more commonly known) – wouldn’t you agree?  What a beautiful child she is, inside and out. Unlike her Silverhair character, Annika is a very sweet and obedient child who would probably never go into a house without being invited!

For this shoot, we used my neighbor’s wonderful steps. Fittingly, this old house is where Annika’s great-grandmother once lived. I think connections like this make any shoot more special! And I so love using neat old locations for shoots.

I wanted an interesting finish for this image to emphasize Annika’s silver hair. So this finish is what one of my clients once called, “A Not-Quite Black and White”.

My 12×12 book, “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”, which contains the entire exhibition including the beautiful accompanying story pages, is available for purchase online here in hardcover and softcover.

 If you would like to view the entire exhibit in person, you can visit  The Bank of Jackson on Oil Well Road, second floor, until May 31.

Girl on steps with bowls, Jackson TN Children's photographer

The Three Bears story

“The Princess and the Pea”, from “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”

“The Princess and the Pea”

Do you know the feeling when your brain is just completely occupied with something for months on end? Like when you are moving and you need boxes, and then for months after you have already moved, you still find yourself looking for boxes or finding them everywhere? That’s how I have been with this project. I still find myself thinking of new illustrations I want to do.

I drive past this lumberyard all the time. And I am reasonably certain that had I not had fairy tales on my brain so completely for so long, it never would have occurred to me to use this setting in the way that I did. I am not sure what it says about me, that I look at at piles of lumber and see mattresses instead. I guess that’s a story for another day!

Well, once I had that flash of an idea, that I wanted to use the lumberyard for the Princess and the Pea, I knew I needed a special model. And a special Mom for that model, who would be cool with this setting. So I turned to a very, very dear friend of mine and asked if she and her beautiful daughter would be up for some, um, interesting photography. Katherine has always been a beautiful child, and I have photographed her before. In fact, you can see her on the opening flash gallery of my website. She’s the one with the incredible blue eyes.

We went to the lumberyard on a Sunday (I had received permission from the owner) and found this lovely stack of lumber under a shed, perfect to minimize the bright sunlight that day. In reality, Katherine was not as high up as she looks here, although I didn’t change the height in post – must have been a perspective thing. And the lumber stack was very sturdy and safe – it was banded together (I did lots of post-processing on this image). If you look very closely (hard to see with this small image), you can see the little bird’s nest in the lumber.  That’s the Pea!

Questions from the art show: Was the ladder really there? And where did you find a lumberyard with chandeliers?  :)

girl lying on stack of lumber, Jackson TN

Quote from "Princess and the Pea" by Hans Christian Andersen

“The Red Shoes”, from “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”

“East of the Sun and West of the Moon” – “The Red Shoes”

Ok, so I guess these images are like my children. Or books, or movies, or composers.  I really don’t have a favorite.  But I do LOVE this image.  Jasmyne was my model for this. She is a senior company dancer with Ballet Arts and was in the middle of rehearsals for “The Nutcracker”, in which she portrayed the Snow Queen. I had already talked with her about being my model for this image, but she was not prepared for my call one dark winter afternoon at about 5:00, asking if she could meet me downtown NOW before it got dark! I told her we would be taking the pictures in the cemetery, a change of plan. I had already driven past Ridgecrest Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Jackson, twice that day while shuttling my kids to school and back. (I love the stone gate at the entrance, which says “Here Sleep the Founders of Jackson”). I had noticed how beautiful the snow was there, piling up around the old gravestones, and I suddenly had the idea to try to get the Red Shoes image done before the snow went away.

So during her dinner break from rehearsal, Jasmyne met me at my studio and I gave her a black dress to wear. We went to the cemetery and she put her pointe shoes on in the car. (No they weren’t actually red – she didn’t have a red pair handy! The famous Red Shoes were the only thing I added to this picture in post-processing.)  By the time we got there the sun had already set and it was blowing snow like crazy. Jasmyne was great, never even said she was cold even though I knew she was freezing!  It was almost dark when I took this picture. Yay for fast lenses and wonderful dancers!

This story has always fascinated me. Many of you may have seen one of several movie versions of this creepy, instructive tale about how children should not be greedy and want for material things. CREEPY. Luckily I was not moved to illustrate the part of this story where the dancer’s feet have to be cut off so that she can stop dancing. Wow, children’s literature has changed.

On a brighter note, Jasmyne even made it back to rehearsal on time!

Girl dancing with Red Shoes, Jackson TN Ridgecrest Cemetery

Quote from "The Red Shoes" by Hans Christian Anderson

“The Three Ravens”, from “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”

“East of the Sun and West of the Moon” – The Three Ravens

This is one of my favorites. My beautiful model Kateline was not too happy about wearing a burlap dress, but it was the only thing fitting for this image.  She was a trooper though, and never complained!  I love birds, and have always been fascinated by ravens and the stories surrounding them. Of almost all the stories in this project, this one resonates with me the most. If you have ever read “The Six Swans”, “The Seven Swans”, or the “Seven Ravens”, this story is the original of that ilk. In the more famous “Six Swans”, the princess is not able to finish all the nettle-shirts for her brothers, and the littlest brother ends up with a wing instead of an arm. In this story, she does not have to make shirts, but instead has to remain silent for three years.

If any of you are familiar with Jim Henson’s “The Storyteller”, which was a TV show that aired in the late 80’s, this was one of the stories featured.  I had to dig far and wide for many weeks on the internet and through actual books to finally locate this original text (translated from the German, of course).

Regarding the image:  An older lady asked me at the art show how long it took me to train the ravens to fly in a circle. Best. Question. Ever.

My coffee table book, “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”, which contains the entire show including the beautiful accompanying story pages, is available for purchase online here in hardcover and softcover.

 

If you would like to view the entire exhibit in person, you can visit  The Bank of Jackson, second floor, until May 31.

 

Portrait of Girl with Three Ravens in Jackson TN

The Three Ravens story, Jackson TN

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