Monday, November 26, 2012

Assistant turned model

I was supposed to assist for a photoshoot for Dan Frievalt... it was going to be a personal project for him, with a model. When I showed up, there was no model...and we couldn't get in touch with her. Turns out she lived a few hours away and was having car troubles. Thankfully she was okay, but she wasn't going to be able to make the shoot. 

Dan still had the itch to shoot, so he looked at me and said "Do you want to model?" I have modeled for him several times before, and LOVE his work...but I was sooo not in model mode! It usually takes hours to do hair/makeup/wardrobe. We were running out of daylight FAST... But how could I turn down a random chance to model for Dan friggin Frievalt?! I remembered I actually had a few things in my car, including a couple new wigs (saves time on hair!) and outfits I had just gotten, and a little bit of makeup... and Dan had some more makeup! What are the chances?! We worked quick to throw together a decent look, and off we went! 

The sunset was beautiful. We found an amazing location, which we had to scout at high speed. There wasn't time to think very much, we had to just start shooting. We lost track of time and kept working into the dark, until we realized it must be much later than we planned on being out...and it sure was! Oops! 

This was something pretty new for me... usually I hate my picture being taken, unless I am in "model mode"... I like to be prepared for this stuff. We lucked out that we had enough supplies to actually make me model-ish! And the location was absolutely inspiring. We definitely got into the "zone" and I think we got some great shots! What a great experience. :) 

To see more from this shoot, check out my artist page:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Self-portraits and art

I was never one of the "pretty girls"...To most people, I was always the quiet girl who wore band t-shirts and jeans. I actually hate my picture being taken. How did I end up here?!

My first love was music. Second, was art. I always had that need to create. I remember drawing ever since I was little. I doodled in school like crazy...picked up photography in probably highschool-taught by dad. Dabbled in painting. Picked up more and more instruments. While I got good grades in all subjects, it was obvious what I was passionate about... I needed to do something creative. Here are some early sketches/doodles/drawings from back in the day...
Notebook doodles, highschool

Pastel, highschool
Reverse charcoal, highschool

So I went to college and majored in art. Despite my main interest being  drawing, my emphasis ended up in painting simply because of which classes I could get into first. While it wasn't at all what I thought it would be, I did learn a thing or two. I studied art history, learned about the art elements, worked with metal, worked with wood, worked with things I've never heard of before. I had my definition of art, but  had to learn to open my mind-other people had different definitions of art. I had to learn how to distance myself from my work, which was a difficult thing considering how personal art is. I'd get ripped apart in critiques, sometimes without explanation as to why the professor simply thought my work sucked-that's always fun to try to figure out. I had to be able to create in all forms, all day, every day, for 3 years. I had to go from drawing, to jewelry, to textiles, to photography, to graphics. I had wanted to graduate early, so this was a bit more than the average art major was advised to take at one time. Here are some images of work I did in college...

Still life, from college
Mixed media, from first college art class

Charcoal self portrait from college
Senior year, mixed media painting

I did indeed graduate a year early, and after my experiences, I was tired of art. I just didn't have any desire AT ALL to draw, to paint. My idea of art was torn to shreds, I wasn't sure I knew how to independently create anymore, and some of those critiques were tough to bounce back from. It wasn't just that I was lost with what to do with my art, I think I just really hated it. A sad thing when I've loved it my whole life. I couldn't be completely walk away from it though, as my plan was to pursue a career in graphic design. I also happened to fit in one photography class my senior year. I had an awesome professor who was encouraging and I was inspired by this medium. Anyone who knows me knows I usually take a camera with me where ever I go, so there was already an interest there. Playing with a camera artistically though? I had a little bit of fun with it. ;) 

After graduation, I took a bit of time off, but wanted to keep working on my graphics/photoshop skills and continue playing with the camera. So I started self-portraits. Often times my ideas would pop into my head late at night when I couldn't sleep, I was the only available model. My ideas weren't very elaborate. They eventually grew to be a little bit more involved. But from the beginning, I usually did put a lot of time into things like hair/makeup ideas, and photoshop. I started shooting these with a small point and shoot, on manual mode. I didn't have a job, and I didn't have a nicer camera-besides film. It didn't matter, this was for me to practice. 

I eventually invested into a DSLR. I wanted more control over my settings. And I didn't want to have to photoshop things like depth of field anymore! This allowed me to expand my ideas more and more, and to get better quality images, with more control.

I eventually found that graphic design job, worked there for a few years, and then to make a long story short... it ended. Now what? 

As I mentioned in my very first blog post, I ran across this photography/model group in the area, and the photographer/creator of the group posted that he needed an assistant. Well, I know a little about photography, that sounded like fun! Read more about this experience here:

Since I already had photos of me before I ever started modeling, photographers could immediately see what kind of modeling abilities I had-to an extent. And they could see that I liked the artsy and emotional side of things. I think this is what set the stage for where I've gone with modeling...

But back to self-portraits...The more people you meet, the more images you see, the more life experiences you have, the more you have to draw from creatively. All of that stuff adds up, and pops out in some form, hopefully in YOUR own unique and creative way. My self-portraits continued. Whether I had photographers begging me to shoot or not, I was always getting decent, creative images out there, and that made me perfectly happy. And it is much easier to be patient with other photographers while they work on your images, for weeks, months, or a year if you have other things going on like spending hours upon hours working on your own art. ;) It also set the bar in a way, for what kind of photographers I'd be willing to work with. I am fairly competent with photography, and I have some creativity in me. I enjoy working with people in a similar boat-who are constantly looking to grow, who can push me, who are creative, who treat photography as an art form. I'm not in this for pretty pictures of myself. I'm in it to create, explore, learn.

Here are a few more self-portraits... I kept trying to push myself...




Well, I fear this post is getting much too long... so I will continue this another day, where I may discuss more of the creative side of things behind my work. So keep an eye out for a part two...

In the meantime, feel free to check out more of my self-portraits on my artist page:

Monday, October 1, 2012

A whole new level of photography...AND modeling.

So there was this WI photographer I was told I need to know...We became facebook friends, sent a few messages back and forth, and I became a huge fan of his work instantly--absolutely phenomenal talent! It took a few months, but finally in August 2011, Andrew Kufahl and I met in person for the first time.

We had talked about working together prior to the new haircut, but afterwards, I was on a break... I didn't feel comfortable in front of a camera, and I had no clue how to style this butchered 'do. He told me to just let him know when I was ready. Well what the heck, let's just meet and then that part is over with, we can discuss shooting together after that. We met up for lunch, and talked and talked and talked. Andrew is pretty dang quiet, and I can be too, but man, get us talking about what we're passionate about and we can't stop! By the end of that first meeting, Andrew was going to have me assist/model for one of his 365 shots...It would be his second to last shot of the project. Later, I was asked to be involved with the very last shot as well. Honored, to say the least.

In all honesty, this was the first shoot I was actually excited about since the hair situation...I almost had that passion and confidence a weird way... considering how nervous I was. But this guy shoots sort of like how I would shoot my self-portraits... where it is more about the emotion (or story), rather than the model and he'd invest HOURS into a shoot to ultimately walk away with ONE shot. This was so unlike the usual model shoots I was used to. My face was probably not going to be shown, and I was probably going to have a wig on... Perfect! And I got to work with someone who I have become a huge fan of over the past half a year or so. :)

I met Andrew at a train station about 45 minutes from where I lived... around 10pm at night. I got some styling help from a model friend. It was absolutely fascinating watching how these pieces of art were created. I had done many self portraits, but not anywhere near this level. His attention to detail and focus just blew me away. On top of that, he was also very polite and aware of "the model"...making sure I'm ok, that I'm comfortable, that I don't break an ankle walking through rocks/train tracks, that I'm ok running over and over and over for THE heels. I don't think I got to bed until after 4am that night. I couldn't believe that this guy was doing this every single day, for an entire year! This was the final image from that night...

Day 364 of 365 - She knew just as well as he did, that he was never coming back...

The next day, I drove back down to Andrew's neck of the woods for the very last image from his 365 project. He had a friend along to assist and take some behind the scenes video. Now this is where I stepped into a totally new world of modeling... If you look through Andrew's work, he has a wide range of emotions, subject matter, poses, expressions, techniques, etc. This particular shot had quite a bit of humor to it, not something I've really ever modeled... On top of that, I needed to not be so focused on model "prettiness" and posing, but full fledged emotion... and exaggerated emotion! What a challenge. I had to let go. I had to get out of my comfort zone in so many ways... Here I had just met this guy, and I had to pretend to be his girlfriend consoling him while he got a tattoo on his tush... What a great way to get to know someone, have 'em drop their drawers while real customers of the tattoo shop walk by...and as I'm just inches away from his face, I had to make the goofiest expression I've ever made for a photo, all while trying not to burst into a giggle fit while he made a ridiculous face...NOT easy! And I failed several times. (Seriously, look at these expressions?! How can ya keep a straight face?!)

Day 365 of 365 - The End
While this isn't the prettiest picture of me, it taught me so many things, and I am so very thankful that Andrew included me on these two shots! He changed the way I thought about photography, story telling, self-portraits, and modeling after these two shoots. 

Andrew and I have worked together quite often in the past year. We realized we view photography and art in a very similar way. I remember after our first meeting, I dubbed him my "photography soul mate"...I have "clicked" well with photographers before and have worked with a handful of them numerous times, lovin' every second of it... but this was different. We do a different type of photography and modeling. There are plenty of stories to tell and even more photos to show from my work with Andrew, so stay tuned!

To see more of Andrew's work: (including candids, BTS videos, other projects, etc) or

To see/order Andrew's 365 book: www.blurb/com/bookstore/detail/2505492 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When everything came to a screeching halt...

I have had so many great experiences through modeling... I have met some really great people, have found an unexpected creative outlet, and have had a hand in making some beautiful pieces of art. But as with anything, there are the occasional bumps in the road. NOTE: This is NOT the worst thing in the world, but it did effect my life. I've dreaded writing this blog because I don't want to sound whiney or superficial... I had to decide whether or not I wanted to share the "bad" parts of my journey... I think I have to. I want to be honest, and I think there are lessons from every experience in life. I had to learn a few lessons the hard way. This was one of those cases...

Every two years or so since probably highschool, I chop my hair and donate it. Well it was getting to be that time again... Several people tried to talk me out of it-they liked the long hair and enjoyed shooting me with it. ;) But donating it means something to me. Plus, it was time for a new look anyway! Here are some before shots...

I had a style picked out for quite a while... I wanted it to be edgier, but allow me to be able to do a lot with it. It had to still be pony-tail length. I warned everyone who was booking shoots with me, but reassured them of the length. I had talked with the stylist for at least a month, in person and through facebook messages, including sample photos, we both seemed to be very excited about this new look. 

Without getting into too much detail, things went horribly horribly wrong... Everything I asked for, the opposite was done. My hair was supposed to be ponytail length... instead, it ended up being approximatey 1.5" long, I asked for NO bangs, I got bangs that I couldn't even bobbypin back. It was choppy, uneven, and about 8" too short! I filled out the papers to donate my hair, and got out of there before bursting into tears. 

Had this been any other year, it still would have sucked but at least I would have an easier time with the mentality that "it'll grow back" or "it is just hair"... THIS year though, I was pursuing modeling... a field where it matters how you look... Your hair is a tool. This affected shoots I had booked and I wouldn't be able to donate my hair again for a looong looong time. There were several other situations in my personal life that made this event even more heartbreaking, along with what happened during the actual appointment and the rumors of why. It was embarrassing. It was a BAD haircut, for more reasons than just being too short, and I was stuck with it. It crushed my plans/goals/options. Every time I'd touch it, or see it, I was reminded of this, and could only wonder why. But what can you do? It is gone. It doesn't matter why or how. It. Is. GONE. I can not change it...I had to figure out how to move on from it... I cried and panicked for 3 days, googled just about anything having to do with hair that I could find, would NOT take my beanie off (in June)... I went to 3 different hair stylists to see if ANYTHING could be done (Extensions? Too short. Any cool styling options? Too short for any styling tools. Anything left to cut? Nope plus I'm not sure I would have let them!)  I looked into anything and everything I could find to help hair grow faster or at least how to keep it super healthy (which encourages as much growth as possible). Some of these things were not pleasant AT ALL...One treatment I swear smelled like horse pee! Vitamins I took made me want to hurl. I was that desperate to get back on track... to at least get it to a length where something could be fixed or styled. I was able to get about an inch a month for a while.

While I was trying to "fix" what I could, I took a bit of a break from modeling. I turned down shoots (I had been shooting probably 5 times a week -at least- prior to the cut) but eventually decided I would find a way to pursue modeling despite this horrid new look and how it made me feel. I decided Iiiiiii shouldn't have to be the one embarrassed, Iiiii shouldn't have to be the one that feels I need to HIDE. I didn't ask for this. And no one deserves to have that kind of control over me. I dreaded EVERY shoot for a while... This hair wasn't ME, it felt so negative and hurtful... I had no clue how to style it... it constantly made me wonder "why" someone would do this... but I tried to "ignore" it as much as you can ignore your own head, and forced myself to do these shoots...

From the Tribal group shoot
Photographer: Mark Anderson

The first shoot I had after "the butchering" (as I like to call it), was the group shoot Tribal. I had been chosen as one of the Tribal 12, prior to the haircut... so I couldn't just back out. I went in for the hair stylist to check out my head, she was going to have to construct a whole new look for me. I remember riding with a friend to that shoot, only a few weeks after the hair change, and my stomach was in knots, I didn't want to be there! I didn't want people to see me, and I sure as heck didn't want people touching my hair or taking my picture... The hair stylist ended up doing a great job, getting really creative with it. And my photographer/model friends were very supportive (and they were throughout this whole hair nightmare!).

It has taken me over a year to get my hair to be about where it should have been... I had to learn to play a new character... much like I do in modeling anyway. I openly admit that I felt the need to overcompensate in my day to day life by loading up on dresses--I'm a girl, because I wear dresses! (I was never the kind of girl who wore dresses!) My hair was probably the healthiest it has been for a while, because I wouldn't style it (I still didn't want to touch it) or do ANYTHING to it, except for shoots, which weren't happening as much. I think I got stronger, it challenged my problem solving skills, it tested my passion for what I do... I didn't quit. And I also learned some valuable lessons about the balance of trust.

I am so glad that I had some really great photographers to help me continue modeling... you'll see/hear more about these later in several of the next blog posts or groups of photos added to my artist page. Thank you to those who helped me through this!

To see more pictures from the Tribal shoot:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wingin' emotions...

Photographer: Dan Frievalt
Before I chopped my hair, Dan Frievalt asked me to shoot-even though he literally has NO time! He wanted a chance to work one on one, while I had long hair, and he was craving a personal shoot. My theory is, if we can find an hour or two to just get the photos taken, the photographer can work on them least he/she has them. So I told Dan to let me know if he was able to find a moment to breathe and fit in a few shots. Somehow he managed to find that little bit of time, and we went to work! He wanted something emotional. We decided to revisit the old abandoned school house-where Mark Anderson and I first shot, and Mark/Dan brought a few of us models a few months after...but we needed to be sure we used it in a completely different way. Well, that wasn't going to be a problem, because upon our arrival, the whole place was boarded up! Again, we only have a limited amount of time, not enough to try to find a new location...Our only option was to look around and use what we had. Good thing we did!

Photographer: Dan Frievalt
I had just brought some plain clothing because Dan is very good building random outfits/looks..whether it is with random cloth he has kept, things he's constructed out of odd material, or things he finds in nature. (this is one of the few things that amazes me about him!) So with a simple black dress, or simple white dress, he added a few more pieces to create 2 very unique looks. We played on the old merry-go-round a bit...Dan loaded me up with tutus. He also wrapped some vines around my arm. I weaved myself in and out of the merry-go-round. After that, I changed from an all black look, to a white dress...Dan got me tangled in gray cheese cloth and we headed across the street to a field of long was wet...but had this beautiful texture to it...we couldn't pass this up! Before you know it, I'm lying in a soggy, buggy ditch.  I can only imagine what people thought as they drove by. ;) After that, we actually went back to the merry-go-round and got totally different photos than we did earlier in the shoot...I laughed seeing the previews, because they looked like they were easy...but let me tell you, standing on your tip-toes on a merry-go-round is NOT easy! 

When photographers target me because they know I'm a fan of the emotional stuff, I take it as an opportunity to really push myself in that area. I don't want to give every photographer the same kind of emotions-I'd get bored with that! I've worked at pushing myself to develop a range. What I love about Dan's work is that he has a dark side. ;) Right up my alley! I knew we wouldn't have a problem connecting in that sense. Despite some of the issues with this shoot-lack of time and a boarded up location-I think we did a great job at adapting and came away with some really great work. 

Photographer: Dan Frievalt
Oh! And another thing I loved about working with Dan is that he shot and posted a faceless shot of me--which happens to be one of my very favorites ever. I loved doing faceless work in my self portraits, but often times when photographers are shooting models, they feel the need for the shot to be all about the model...her face needs to be clearly shown...For Dan and I, this shoot was about the emotion, not about ME. Me, the model, is simply a tool in creating a piece of art. 

I went into this shoot wanting to really work on posing, to get poses I've never gotten before, and to use posing as a way to express emotion. I think I accomplished that, and I think we accomplished Dan's goal of creating emotional images. The faceless shot was an unexpected bonus, and I actually now own a print of that-thank you Dan! I'd say that was a successful shoot all around. :)

To see more from this shoot (and that faceless shot I mentioned ;) ), check out my artist page: 

Dan is a super talented photographer who shoots a lot of weddings, senior portraits, etc...check out more of his work here:  He is a true artist. His work focuses a lot on emotion, and his colors and textures are beautiful. He's also a super nice and fun guy! :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Road trip photoshoot

Photographer: Mark Anderson
This was an interesting shoot with Mark Anderson because there was absolutely nothing planned. He wanted to shoot with me... and at some point, he wanted me to have wet hair... that was all we knew! We were just going to get in the car and drive. I brought a bunch of clothes and had makeup/hair in a way that I could modify it on the go. We found several really cool locations to play with including acres of junky cars, a field of daisies, and giant rocks with crashing waves. 

I personally loved the field of daisies. Mark's daughter was along, and I think she liked that field too! He'd have to scoot her out of the frame every now and then, as she seemed to just escaped to another world while walking through the shot. ;) 

Photographer: Mark Anderson
The ONE place Mark knew we needed to end up was by the water, to get those wet hair shots he had in mind. This is Wisconsin, and it was early spring I believe... it was COLD... and we were going to dunk my head in Lake Michigan... even colder. But the great shots are rarely easy. ;)  So in a tiny little dress, I was bent over this puddle the crashing waves had created, and Mark soaked my head. Through the chattering teeth, we made it work, and got some neat shots! He made sure I covered up with a blanket in between, and got us in and out of there as fast as he could. That is always so nice when working with a photographer... when they realize that you are a human. :)

We didn't get back to town until after it was dark. A long day filled with a ton of mini shoots. So cool to look at what a range we got, in one day. And it was another exercise for me to learn to let go, to give up some control, and to just go with the flow. Great lessons for this kind of stuff and for life in general. Things can be  more fun, and in an totally unexpected way! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

101 Women by Kara Counard

The photo that appeared in Kara's project
Remember Kara from the bird shoot? Here's another project from her!

She set out to photograph 101 Women in the community, and she photographed them where they felt at home. She asked me to be one of the women (I ended up being #100).  I was honored to be a part of this project. 

When I had to think of where I felt "at home" however, I didn't have a straight forward response. I decided on: the beach...I love the is my happy place. The second I hear the waves, nothing else exists. Most calming noise in the world to me. :) I had wanted to do a self-portrait at the beach for a while, and this was perfect... because that was sort of what I was known for, self-portraits. So we decided to find a day to go to the beach, and have her photograph me, while I was taking a self-portrait, wearing some of my favorite most comfy clothing: Thumb-hole hoodie and happy bunny pj pants. ;)
From one of the mini tangent shoots that day. 
Photo by Kara / Other model is Seth Nayes

What my self-portrait session turned into after Seth 
photo-bombed a couple images...We decided to roll 
with it! Photographs by: me
Oh what a day this was! Kara brought her son and our friend Seth along. Seth is an incredibly inspiring individual... and a fantastic model. Before I had gotten into modeling, and throughout it, I have been impressed by how emotional his images are, and how incredible his posing is. He is able to just let go. I have learned a ton just by looking at his work, and even more by meeting/working with him.

Things quickly turned into something else...A series of  additional mini photoshoots... including images with Seth and I, and of all of us individually. It blows my mind how it evolved! Truly an inspiring and fun filled day! Kara captured an image that just gave me chills (above)... and when Seth photo-bombed me (over there -->), I was awe struck by how haunting these all fell into place so perfectly... 

Kara wrapped up her project with an art show. It was very cool to see these beautiful portraits filled with personality on display and as a whole...some of the women I knew, and it was interesting to see how she captured ways I hadn't ever seen with my own eyes before. She is just filled with talent like this. 

Read more about the 101 Women Project and Kara's other work on her blog (I'm pasting the link where she talks about this shoot with me):

She made a book from the project!

Photos from the art gallery opening:

FYI she did another project this past year, with women over 90. Another beautiful show with touching photos and lots of stories!

And check out her facebook page:

And to see more of my work:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pin-up shoot

Photographer: Mark Anderson
For those of you who know me, I'm not a girly girl... modeling has gotten me into more girly stuff than I've ever experienced in my life, but down at the core, I'm a band t-shirt and jeans kinda girl! So when I was invited to model for a pin-up themed shoot, I was lost! Not to mention I sort of had this idea of pin-up that wasn't how I wanted to market myself...a little too risque for me... My rule is that I need my dad to be able to see these images, and even my grandparents. I also want to lean more towards the artsy side of things. My original idea of pin-up didn't fit any of this, but I knew a handful of the photographers and yet again I trusted in them that the images were going to be classy. I did a bit of pin-up research prior to the shoot, since I didn't have a clue as to how to model this theme. I was pleasantly surprised. My parents even filled me in a bit about the classic pin-up stuff. Started to feel a bit more at ease! Except for the fact that modeling this was going to require sexy, yet classy, posing and flirty expressions...Me?! Sexy and flirty?! *rolling on the floor laughing*

Photographer: Images by Casi
The group that got together for this was ridiculous... Mark Anderson (STUN Photography), Shanna Koltz (Koltz Photography), Casi Lark-Sitterly (Images by Casi), Che Correa (Che Correa Photography) as photographers...with the hair team of Jessica Rodinelli and Christopher Cody Hartl (now with their own hair biz of Anagen Eleven)...and the talented makeup artist known as Colour Law. I knew the photographers, I knew the other models, that all helped comfort me a bit... we were able to laugh a lot that day! I was blown away by hair and makeup...first time getting air brush makeup done--IN LOVE! Law transformed my face to be completely flawless, she even changed the shape of my lips. The lashes she used on all of us were insane. And the hair styles, *gasp!* Amazing! It sure is something when you look in the mirror and don't recognize yourself because you're too dang pretty and that can't possibly be you!

Photographer: Mark Anderson

The sexy and flirty posing and expressions were tricky for me...that was brand new. I'm used to doing artsy, dark, depressing stuff. ;) But it was fun to push myself out of my comfort zone yet again. The fun crew definitely helped keep the mood light, which helps for stuff like this. It is easy to be giggly when you have a photographer failing to resist the urge to take your photo a handful of times--ahem, Shanna. ;) She just couldn't stop! And that is a great feeling to inspire like that. 

One of my favorite comments on the pictures was from my dad, he told me I looked just like my grandma when she was my age. :)
For more pinup images:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Photographer: Bloom Photography
I may have met Kara before I started modeling...if not, it was very early on. And I remember seeing Reanna's modeling photos and being blown away-a mutual friend actually gave me some modeling advice from Reanna... little did I know I would actually have the opportunity to model side by side with her! Then there is Stephanie...the makeup artist. A true artist! Kara, Reanna, and Stephanie had already collaborated on a "deer" themed shoot (amazing) and invited me along for the follow up shoot: birds. I didn't even have to think twice!

At this point, I was still learning to let go of that control I had with self portraits and to trust these photographers...our group of girls met at a coffee shop to discuss ideas, and I learned very quickly that I HAD to trust. Kara has a beautiful style that is very much a "go with the flow" kind of style... she doesn't worry about things, she just trusts we'll pull it together. I, however, needed details! ;) Umm, Kara wasn't going to give me that. And I'm glad she didn't! I was forced to give up that control, and to loosen up. Stephanie too--can you imagine my reaction when she told me something along the lines of "We're going to take your eyebrows off"... Oh boy...*trust trust trust...ugh...friggin trust!* Thank goodness the eyebrows weren't actually removed, just hidden. ;)

Dad even got in on the fun... he and I created this giant nest that both Reanna and I could fit in-carefully. We had a driveway full of vines, had a few neighbors stop over and question our sanity ("Ummm, are you building a nest?!" "Why yes, how do you spend YOUR afternoons?"), I got poked up the nose (literally, blood sweat and tears when into this!)... And all I could think was "My gosh is this fun! Who else gets to do this?!" 

So then we were set...well, not set enough for me, but we were going for it! ;) And on one wintery Wisconsin day...1 photographer, 2 "birds", and a giant man-made nest ventured into the woods... through a few feet of snow...over hills...dodging falling snow...braving the cold...All in the name of art! (Crazy what we do for art!)

Kara has a natural talent with seeing light. It was fun watching her shoot-she's all over, and in the craziest positions. As a result, she gets shots that not everyone could. She sees things not everyone sees-something my dad taught me a long time ago-and perhaps this is why THIS shoot is still one of his personal favorites. :) 

Between Kara's eye, Stephanie's creative makeup/hair/vision, and Reanna's lead, of COURSE this shoot would rock. I learned so much from each of these ladies, things that I've applied to my work ever since. Thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone and allowing me to create with you!

I won't say much else except that this past year we did yet another shoot together...the images are not released yet, but yet again, it was absolutely amazing. Keep an eye out for it!

I have since had the privilege of working with Kara in several other ways including assisting and will be second shooting for her this year, too! Check out more of her work here (Bloom Photography):  

For more from the bird shoot, visit my artist page: or view the whole set on Kara's personal page:

Group shoots

Promo image for 2011 MMM event
Photographer: Mark Anderson, STUN
MUA: Green Bay Fear crew
As I mentioned yesterday, I pretty much got my start with a local photographer who coordinates a model/photographer group in town (Mark Anderson, STUN Photography / Group is called FUSE fotogroup). He had been doing themed monthly group shoots. While the group no longer meets that often, there are a couple group shoots still held every year. One of the first larger group shoots I participated in is called Models, Monsters and Motors. There is a pinup/classic cars portion, and later in the day we transform into zombies and other creepy creatures and head into the haunted house for a darker twist. The event is actually coming up at the end of September...If you are in WI, I highly suggest you check it out! 

Official facebook page, which includes sample images:  

Event page:

These group shoots have provided me with an opportunity to practice, to learn, and to network with other photographers, models, and hair/makeup artists. It was events like this that allowed me to make connections and set up one-on-one shoots. They provide a stepping stone, in a sense. The events are public and open to all levels. That being said, when setting up future one-on-one shoots, people are always encouraged to do a little research on each other, to be smart and safe about this next step. Follow some common sense and tips from other people who have been there, and you can end up making some great, long lasting connections and create some beautiful pieces of art. 

To see some of my modeling images from these shoots, check out my artist page:

Monday, August 27, 2012

My very first one-on-one shoot with a pro

My first one-on-one shoot with a pro
Photographer: Mark Anderson, STUN Photography
As I mentioned in the previous post, this all started with the incredibly talented STUN photography guy (Mark Anderson). ;) For our one on one shoot, my first shoot with a pro EVER, I was clueless. I had done self portraits, but with those, I had complete control...I could make sure they were looking ok, and I could photoshop whatever didn't look good. I had to put my trust in someone else to do this...YIKES! Fortunately, Mark is very good at what he does and made modeling very easy.

We met at an abandoned school house that a senior showed me during her session. Oh my goodness, this place was a photographer's playground! It was dirty, gross, falling apart, caved in ceilings, broken glass everywhere, and a beautiful abandoned piano... We created some beautiful images that day... I still can't believe we got that kind of work from my first shoot! Mark was so easy to work with and made me feel comfortable. He was able to provide enough direction to get me to do what we needed. We went back the day after, to give another shot at some of the piano photos...he was so in love with those, he wanted to be sure he nailed 'em! Our visit was interrupted by a stranger. This is the other thing that is so great about Mark...he's always looking out for people, he cares, he's protective...He got us out of an uncomfortable situation quickly.

I think I owe a lot to him, for starting me off with such strong artistic photos in my portfolio...for helping me learn how to let go of control, and to trust in a GOOD photographer...for teaching me how to listen to my gut, to avoid sticky to never settle, to never lose that passion that drives you to create, how photography can go beyond photos and be a complete work of art...and so much more. Thank you, Mark!

Since then, I have had the wonderful opportunity to become friends with Mark, to second shoot along side of him, to assist, to model for photography lessons, help out with group events he coordinates, and to model for several other personal projects of his. I truly love working with him! He definitely set the bar high with the photographers I work with...and I think that has helped me build a strong portfolio.

Check out more of his work on my artist page:  or on his personal page:

All in one spot!

I've finally created a facebook artist page! Here I will be posting ALL of my work from modeling, second shooting, assisting, collaborations, projects, and any other artsy stuff I may do. You can find it here:  In addition, I've decided to start a blog so I can go into more detail with some of my future artist page posts.

Black/White Themed group shoot, FUSE
Photographer: Mark Anderson, STUN 
First, let me fill you in with how this all this quiet, shy girl who hated her picture being taken got HERE...Long story short, I was an art major, got a job as a graphic designer, lost that job, had some other personal issues occur, and found myself a bit stuck... I randomly came across this photo/model group page on facebook that was growing in my hometown, FUSE fotogroup ( I had done a bunch of self-portraits, with the purpose of practicing my photography/graphic design skills, and this group looked like a great place to learn more and expand. The lead photographer made a post one day about needing an assistant...I immediately responded. After that shoot, he asked if he could photograph me in the near future and encouraged me to check out the group shoots. I caved in, got rid of my fear of being photographed-and not having complete control over the images, attended my first FUSE group shoot (black/white themed) and had a heck of a first shoot with him!

From there, I continued with my self portraits and started getting asked by other people to model for their personal projects. I attended a few more group shoots, which were great places to network with photographers, models, and hair/makeup artists. My portfolio just kept growing!

Last week, I just returned from a trip to the east coast...I assisted for a shoot by Andrew Kufahl (, photographing a Survivor finalist (read her blog about the experience here: And I modeled in Times Square!!! How crazy is that?!? (umm..very!) 

Stay tuned to catch up on everything that has happened between then and now... and for the images from my east coast adventure! Thank you for reading. :)