For the makers, photograph-takers and small brand owners needing a visual shake up:
In a creative rut?
Exhausted by the trying and trying and trying and feeling like you aren't getting anywhere with your work?
Are you ready to uplevel your portfolio but don't know which direction to pursue?
You have been dreaming of a concept but don't know how to visually execute it?
Hello Art Making Days!
Art Making Days are for artists who want to bring more:
to their photographic images and body of work.
Recently, I took Instagram viewers on a behind the scenes video tour of how I created one of my most liked self-portraits. (It's the one above.) I explained how I used everyday household items, natural light and a non-existent budget to create a dramatic photograph that is moving me toward the grander ones I want to be hired for.
I did this because I want to show other artists that they too can create the visions they have held without a big budget and overwhelming production. And also, because it's not enough to just tell our dream people about our ideas -- we have to SHOW THEM what they can experience as a result of our services. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO BUILD THE SPACE FOR THE DREAMS YOU WANT TO MEET WITH.
I want to help you create images that convey what's possible to your audience and customers when they work with or buy from you.
Are you ready to take your creative game to the next level and inspire your audience?
Sign up here.
“I struggle with my WHY,” she said, “I don’t have one and I feel like I should.”
This artist paints florals, gorgeous florals, and every time I see them, they bring breath and ease and beauty to my lungs. I responded to her comment that sometimes, we don’t need a bigger WHY than ourselves. Sometimes, the WHY can simply be creating beauty because the reminder of beauty is so needed in this world today.
(This was from a recent conversational thread in an artist’s group I am a part of. )
And also, there was this article I’ve thought back to a lot over the past year…it must have been late last summer, a piece in the Business of Fashion (I think by Tim Blanks) where he said fashion lost its fantasy. Up until this spring 2019, I have to agree...street wear, fast fashion, ready to wear, drops...they dominate the world of fashion today and (generally) where has the couture and fantasy gone?
Where are the silhouettes and the collections that inspire us to dream? Where is the anticipation and the excitement that leads us season to season? Where is the build up to the reveal for a collection that defines a year? A movement? So much of what we consume and produce in this contemporary world is here today, gone tomorrow. No more is there an emphasis on beauty and the skill it takes to create that beauty. (And yes, there are exceptions, like the contemporary works of PIERPAOLO PICCIOLI at Moncler Genius and Valentino, or Giambattista Valli and his creations with tulle, the works of Tim Walker and Erik Madigan Heck.)
I came across this article at a time when I also began to think about the role fantasy played in my photography, the role inspiration played. As an artist there is the responsibility to produce work as a service: to reveal, to bring about change, to heal, to highlight the political and social climate...and also, to inspire.
Many artists think their work is worthless if there isn’t a big WHY or purpose behind it, but sometimes the WHY can simply be to inspire others to dream, to look forward, to see what they themselves are capable of. That is huge.
When I work with portrait clients, I’ve always asked them: Who do you want to be? How do you want to show up in your fullest expression of self? Where do you want to reign queen?
But, going forward, I might just put it this way: What is your fantasy?
What does your highest octave of self look and act like? Let’s capture that. Because those photographs of fantasy are the ones we end up keeping close to us forever. Those are the photographs we look at time and time again. Those are the photographs we turn to when we are in a personal despair. Those are the photographs that remind us of our strength and to keep going when we feel we have none.
If you are an artist or someone who engages in art, remember this: creating to create is OK. Creating because beauty inspires you and beauty wants to pour forth from you is OK. It’s more than OK. It’s necessary.
So the next time you are thinking about getting photographs for your brand or for yourself, or offering up a creative service to someone else, think about how you want to show up as your fantasy and how you can provide fantasy for your client or viewer — because it’s the embodiment of that energy that is going to inspire your viewers to join your mission and vision and dream big alongside you.
We are human. We thrive on pleasure and fantasy.
On the weekend of July 27-28, 2019 I will be traveling to Santa Fe for a healing anniversary of two years, and visiting the friends and mentors that were there for me as I began this journey in August of 2017.
If you are on the mailing list for and attending the book signing of Briana Saussy’s new book Making Magic, a very special offering will be going out to those in Santa Fe attending the signing. Download an excerpt of the book by clicking on the book cover below!
If you are a healer, coach, creative or sensitive soul who is looking for an updated portrait for your website, author photo or legacy portrait, intimate sessions of portrait photography and artistry await us!
We can shoot in a casita, in the plaza, the botanical gardens or in the vast desert terrain. Dream far and wide. The location of your shoot will be determined by the chosen time and visual mood of your session.
If you would like to venture a bit further into the desert landscape for a session that is more fantastical, more in depth, more wild, where car and foot cannot take you, but a private plane can INQUIRE HERE.
Let’s fuel your fantasy!
Since it’s April 1st and this story is from the April 1st issue of @people I thought it was appropriate to finally mention this printing publicly. Thank you Esmé for having me on your team. Thank you @flownash for choosing my work to accompany this story.
This piece is especially significant to me for a number of personal reasons and I’m so proud of Esmé for her commitment to her work and community, voice and self. She inspires me to keep going no matter the tired, the rejection, or even the wins because there are always more of both ahead. The wins fuel my belief and momentum. The rejections keep me from entering relationships that are not for my highest good.
March was life changing. In both wins and challenges. It roared like a lioness and left me and my broken car in a snowbank on a mountain pass (thankfully not down the hill.)
I used to pray that this year could please, please, please be easier than last. And It’s not. It’s more learning and growing. So, instead of facing what I don’t know with fear, I’m leaning into the unanswered questions with curiosity. How do I figure this out so that I can move ever closer to my dreams?
So, April, Ready to act The Fool? As my favorite tarot reader and amazing astrologer and design client @thetarotlady says, “The cards tell a story, but you write the ending,” so this April Fool’s I’m going to jump into all I dream for life and not think twice about it.
*Order Esmé Weijun Wang’s lated work, “The Collected Schizophrenias” online or at your LOCAL BOOKSTORE — my favorite bookstores in the west are Back of Beyond Books in MOAB, UT and The Boulder Bookstore in BOULDER, CO.
*Florence Nash, photo editor for People Magazine.
My friend, I wish I could communicate to you and those who consider participating in your work what a powerful and empowering experience it is to have someone really see you. I don't know how to communicate what power you have to capture the true spirit of a person in their process of becoming. All I can say is that anything you do is full of soul and communication and totally comfortable. So here's what a woman of age and wisdom would add to this discussion.: yours truly will be contracting with you to do such a shoot within the next two years - even if I need to travel cross country to make it happen!
–Rachel Burwell, portrait client
February, the month of Love,
of Loving our dear ones,
but also, of Loving ourselves.
While I’m personally not one for the sweet romances, I do love Love, and especially a dramatic romance. But more than that, I most especially love providing a space and opportunity for women to love and own themselves.
Being called on to do this work, and being able to do this work with other women, is a privilege, and one I have deep gratitude for. I believe in all women having the opportunity to express themselves as they want without shame, insecurity and uncertainty.
But what I have seen, from nearly all photographic options available to women today, in mainstream boudoir photography is a variation of this one look: a blinding flash of off-camera lighting, pounds of makeup, and a wardrobe of Fredericks of Hollywood. And Fredericks isn’t bad if it makes you hot for yourself, but it’s not what everyone wants for themselves.
Of course, there are a select few female photographers who do offer boudoir that borderlines on fine art portraiture composed of a cinematic or classic black and white look, AND more and more female photographers ARE capturing women untouched in undergarments that they...might wear on the daily...for brands and their editorials like Lonely Lingerie and Miss Crofton, but,
WHERE IS THE OPTION OF A REAL, RAW AND DIVINE FEMININE PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION FOR WOMEN WHO AREN'T MODELING?
WHERE IS THE OPTION FOR WOMEN WHO WANT TO EXPRESS THEIR SENSUALITY AND EROTICISM THROUGH THEIR PERSPECTIVE AND NOT THE MALE GAZE?
Where is the option for women who want to be PROVOCATIVE WITH CLOTHES ON?
I don’t want women to feel like they have to fit themselves into any of these perspectives that are not their own in order to celebrate their beauty and divine feminine energy.
Which is one of the reasons why I’m building out a studio that will allow women to take control over their image. You can take up the space and you can shape the space however you want.
You can channel sex kitten or coquettish courtesan.
Expose it all or cover up ALL the bits with sumptuous fabrics.
It’s time to tell YOUR story.
And helping you tell it is the work I love to do. Thank you for helping me make this studio space possible.
Now, in order to show you some love, I’ve created a new resource for you, "Developing a Practice — Treating Your Life as Art," No. 10 in the I AM SAFE Series, BECAUSE YOU ARE ART DARLING.
ANNNDDDDD VERY SOON, I’ve got a special offering for the women, where we bring an overdue renaissance to boudoir photography, inspired by your feedback and your encouragement to be a new voice for it. Thank you.
Instead of getting naked as we’ve been taught, we reveal only what we want and keep the rest sacred for ourselves.
Instead of feeling like we have to pose our bodies to look smaller we’re going to be more liberal with our flesh.
Instead of following others' rules on how we should present ourselves, we are going to follow our own.
Remember, during the month of February, the month of Love, you are enough. Your existence is enough.
To Loving others and especially to loving yourself.
Access the worksheet here.
You are Art. <3
Yesterday, I got to add the @nytimes to my @esmewwang shrine. It’s been an incredible honor to watch Esmés work bloom over the years and to be able to discuss life, art and the entrepreneurial journey with her. I keep her story in my back pocket for those moments when I think maybe I should give up. DO NOT JACQUELYN. DO NOT GIVE UP THE DREAM. So grateful to be a part of the journey. Go grab her new book The Collected Schizophrenias. Photos by JT. @oprahmagazine @poetswritersinc @elleusa@graywolfpress
Work about town in the Jan/Feb 2019 print edition of Poets & Writers, Vol. 47 Issue No.1, featuring Esmé Weijun Wang with portrait images we took in her home earlier this year. Having known E and her style for quite some time, I knew that her love of vintage garments was a must to feature in this shoot. We experimented with 5 looks from formal to casual and our favorites? A sophisticated yet cozy blush pink dress and cardigan w/fur and a spring green silk top with patterned head wrap (which you can see on Esmé’s new website this spring.)
Wang is listed on the Best of Young US Novelists 2017 and a 2018 winner of the Whiting Award in Nonfiction. Her new work, “The Collected Schizophrenias” comes out in February 2019.
“"Yesterday, we had the follow-up call for the #ManifestingPatriarchy class and the conversation there had me thinking about the ways I’ve contorted myself to try to fit into the standards and expectations that are placed on the shoulders of black girls and womxn. The ways that I’ve actively worked to make myself physically and energetically smaller. How often I’ve made unconscious choices about how I’m willing to show up in a space depending who’s in the room. How I stopped dancing around the same time I started becoming desirable to older boys and men and my body was no longer a safe place to be and partner with, but something to protect and hide." — @andrearanaej captured by @jacquelyntierney #girlgaze”
Girl Gaze: Closing the gender gap one job at a time.
Esmé Weijun Wang @esmewwang shared this stunning preview of her new website by Chelsea Dyer Studio @chelseydyerstudio yesterday. I am floored at the weaving of talent and beauty. Thank you E for allowing me to enter into this collaborative space with you. I adore you. Thank you Chelsea Dyer for bringing it all together!
For those in need of images for your websites and author/creative representation photos in 2019, I will be on the East Coast (in New York) and crossing the states in February, meeting with San Francisco the last weekend in March and settling in the canyons again into fall of 2019.
Find all updated calendar dates and contact for setting up a session here.
In Best of #PhotoVOGUE again this week.
I am always blown away by this acceptance because the talent on that platform is incredible. As I scroll through the portfolios I find myself asking, “how did they do it??” –meaning, lighting and the posing and the sets within the images of the other photographers. They are incredible, and I feel challenged in my artistry and technical skills. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to be in a space like PhotoVOGUE that supports the growth of diverse artists across the globe. And, the photo selection process allows me to see what is and is not working in my work.
When I picked up a camera two years ago, I was at a point in my life when my internal foundation was cracking and I was forced to make a sharp pivot in who I was working with and the type of work I was doing. Until that point I had stopped creating for myself for six years.
In April of 2016, I went on a solo trip to Japan to revive my relationship with me AND to come home seeing differently. That trip changed my life. I attended a workshop run by Beth Kirby and Haruka Sakaguchi, and my interest in portrait photography was launched. (I had been painting portraits — and modeled for artists— years prior.)
So, it was in that summer of 2016 I continued taking portraits of a few friends. In 2017, I started receiving photo commissions here and there from long term friends and clients. And in 2018, there was small but very visible growth in my business as my vision, WHY and confidence in my choices gained considerable strength. I’m excited to see how 2019 develops.
In today’s digital age, so many artists put pressure on themselves to race out of the gates, to meet success early in their careers, but sometimes, the slow burn makes for better magic.
The slow burn gives us time to become the Master artist that we want to be.
I believe that the true artists will make their work no matter how their work is received. They need to make their work because it is how they breathe. I make this work because I wouldn’t be living — just existing — without it, and because it’s the way I am able to give experiences of beauty and healing to other women. ♥️
This was a repost from Instagram
Portraiture is medicine and healer.
Portraiture is voice and validation.
Portraiture is your present and dreams.
Portraiture is an expression of the spirit’s flame and a heart’s endurance,
of history and lineage,
human identity and celestial body,
what the eyes have witnessed and the heart has survived,
Portraiture is a visual document of your passage, journey, march, and movement.
But the problem with most portrait options today – especially for those running online businesses with meaning – is that people are trained not to show up as themselves, but to show up as one of society’s constructed dreams. People are being advised to sexualize, glamourize, fit within outdated gender boxes, and brand themselves on-trend in order to prove the value and success of their work and of themselves.
We are told and sold that if we dress and operate a certain way we will be successful, so we decide to soften our edges and fit ourselves into molds that our communities accept. We find ourselves shapeshifting into the image that we think others want to see, and in doing so we are dressing up to sell a dream that’s being sold to us.
But is that really your dream?
What would happen if you were more intentional and sensitive about the photos you participate in? How might you connect differently with your audience? Yourself? How might this open the door to go deeper with your heart and the hearts of your people -- the parts of your people you are really trying to reach?
This photographic offering is for the creatives, designers, artists and entrepreneurs, coaches and healers, sensitive spirits, magick workers, wanderers, seekers, self-actualizers, journeywomen, and those who don’t fit the mold and don’t want to fit the mold.
This photographic offering is for those who desire to express their magnificence, their voice, their message, those who want to represent themselves soulfully, deeply and the whole of who they are.
We’ll highlight your magic and full being in your sacred spaces and special corners of the earth, adorned with talismans and garments that make you feel powerful and secure, and surrounded by objects and symbols that are deeply aligned and connected with what you love and stand for.
These portraits are an experience in self-expression and self-actualization and being present as who you are with No masks. No posing. No posturing.
These portraits are the reclaiming of your voice.
These portraits are the campaign of your truths.
These portraits are a testimonial of your resilience.
These portraits are an altar to your spirit.