Behind the Scenes: Awakening

Lately I have been reminiscing over my earlier photos from when I first started photography. There are still, miraculously, some people who support my work that have done so since those earliest days. And sometimes I hear people telling me to go back to what I used to do. Some days I agree. Some days I want very much to be overtly deathly and creepy and to create more simply. Some days I try. Other days I rebel. Sometimes I recognize my growth and I revel in having come so far. This month has been one of those times when I keep looking back and desiring to create as I used to.

The problem is obvious, once you are on the other side. I am a different person from who I used to be. My interests/talents/mindset is new. I can’t create those images again. They were golden, but they are stale. Still, my desire remained so I decided I would put myself in the same situation I used to be in, with some of the same inspirations, but resolved to do something new.

This resulted in a rather hilarious photo shoot. Picture this: Me, in my bedroom, with a Disney princess kiddy pool, black fabric, and a jug of almond milk. Cue my husband, wondering 1) what I’m doing, but more important, 2) how I plan on doing it without soaking the floor in almond milk. That was when he found helping to be less futile than letting me alone with the soon-to-be mess.

I set my camera up on the tripod above me, using a Sony a7ii and 50mm lens. I made sure my shutter speed was high enough to catch some motion of the milk splashing, and after I was in focus, I got to shooting. Using a 10-second remote timer, I was able to click, get rid of the remote, and wait those L-O-N-G 10 seconds until the milk splattered all over me.

The first time, I actually forgot it was going to happen. I was so focused on trying to get my pose right that it hit me in the face like a huge shock, and I proceeded to laugh uncontrollably for a whole minute. Afterwards it started getting easier, we got timings better, and it took about 30 (very cold) minutes to finish. I realized my error of refrigerating the almond milk only after I started.

I pieced together various splashes onto my body and then manipulated the color/lighting to look more selective. I wanted a painterly feeling in this image. I also added hair on from a separate shot that I took before the milk portions were photographed, knowing that my hair would get soaked. Thankfully my shower was only a few feet away.

In the middle of shooting I had a moment, as I so often do when finding myself in a strange position, where I was filled with gratitude. These are the moments I remember. These are the memories I want to keep close. Some people may say I’m bonkers for wanting to do things like this, but I say the rest of the world is mad. To not desire a more interesting, fun and joyful existence is insane to me.

We might choose different ways of achieving it, but I can say something with certainty: The more you put yourself out there and do the things that other people think are crazy, the more alive you will feel. Trust me. It works every time.



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