Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dark, emotional, edgy, expressive...

Jumping back in time yet again to just a couple months after the big bad haircut...

Life had thrown a handful of curve balls my way, and this was one of them that effected what I was pursuing... It seems like such a stupid thing, to have to care so much about something as silly as hair... but my job was to be in front of a camera, where appearance matters. I was not shooting nearly as much as I had been prior to the cut, but was slowly finding ways to work with my look or to work around it. The emotional drama that went along with it, and dealing with everyone's questions-everyone wanted to know why and how this happened but even I couldn't answer that beyond speculation-was also draining...It made me sick to my stomach that someone intentionally did this and I had to look at it every day wondering why. I did my best to just accept it, ignore it, and keep doing what I was doing while always pushing to be better.

I had worked with Dan Frievalt a few times... He loves the dark, emotional, artsy stuff and it is complimented perfectly with his gritty rockin' style. Dan was going through his own rough patch at the time, that was also emotionally draining and involved some difficult decisions. He too was trying to just push through, to keep doing what he was doing-what he loves. We had shot recently by accident- I was supposed to assist- but Dan was still itching for something edgier, darker, more emotional... he wanted to use the same location we used in the previous shoot-it was amazing and inspiring! He pitched his idea to me. I loved it. We set a date, I picked up the necessary pieces and I met him at his house to get ready.

What I love about Dan choosing me for this project was he knew my love for dark, emotional work, and that I could deliver. The fact that I have blonde hair, and no tattoos makes me easy to overlook for something as edgy as this. But appearance does not matter nearly as much as the ability to emote. As I had learned very quickly with my hair, appearance can be changed... easily... Your ability to get into a role and make people feel deeply, that is not easy. It takes a combination of things to make a photo successful in this way...

I had bought a few wardrobe items that Dan planned to ruin. So we stood in his kitchen, I held up the wardrobe items as he attacked them with an exacto knife. Therapeutic in itself. ;) He had a few accidental cuts in unfortunate places, I wish I had photos or videos of his face! But no one was bleeding. We were pumped and would work around anything!

We talked about hair/makeup. This was unlike anything I had ever done before. This wasn't about being pretty and perfect. I'm not sure it could have been more opposite! We whipped out the black eye shadow and we darkened my eyes in a messy, raw, almost haunting way. Then Dan started with the rest of the makeup... he created what looked like bruises, cuts, scrapes, needle marks, dirt, etc. all over my exposed skin. It looked quite convincing and I was just in awe of the transformation. This beaten up look was symbolic, something we both could easily related to. This shoot was a great way to express those feelings we were dealing with. With my look complete, we were ready to roll...

We headed to our location. Excited. Once we arrived, I was reminded of how amazing this place was! There were so many beautiful spots all over the property, but we decided to stay in the abandoned house. I get pretty excited to explore these things and having someone like Dan around is perfect to balance things out...I'd say "Oh my gosh! Look at that amazing balcony!" And Dan would say, "Umm, we're not going up there... there are holes in the floor!" Thanks for keeping me from falling through balcony floors Dan! :) Although, seriously, how sweet was that?! hehe

Each room had something different. Dan scoped things out and I believe he primarily used the beautiful natural light that was pouring in... We got started. It was easy to get into character... I loved this stuff... We moved from room to room, we were like little kids in a candy shop.

We shot far later than expected, and on the way home, we talked excitedly about the whole thing. We passed a cop and suddenly Dan switched from excited to terrified, he realized he was driving a bit too fast and to top it off, we were in a construction zone. Now THAT would have been a heck of a story... I can only imagine what a police officer would think to see me in the passenger seat, looking like a beat up mess. Dan's expression was enough to make this memorable and entertaining enough. ;)

To see more from this shoot, please visit 

To see more of Dan's work: 

1 comment:

  1. Great blog post, N! I'd heard the end part of the story before, but never the front story. :)