My girl and I had a rare non-frenzied hour to kill while her older brother was at his swim team practice and we decided to walk down to a wooded area by the pool and do a quick little photo shoot together. It's my slower season right now so I'm not pulling all nighters editing client images and have a little more downtime to do more personal shoots. I've got another personal project planned for tomorrow which I'm very excited about. It's good for artists to have that time and space to just "play." This isn't to say I'm sitting around eating bonbons and watching daytime TV though! I am actually busier than ever, getting ready to go back to school, studying to take the CBEST, doing a variety of other jobs, attending advanced training, creating marketing materials and updating my website and forms, and of course raising two children as a single mom. Slow season for me just means less commissioned work!
Back to the shoot. Ellie has always been my "Forest Fairy" child. She loves the forest, loves the trees, was always hugging them as a toddler (she still does from time to time), and just marveling at them. Luckily for us, there is no shortage of gorgeous and majestic trees out here and we go hiking with our pup at least once a week together to soak in that magical healing energy of the forest. As is always the case with Ellie now, I do not pose her anymore. I pick the location, the lighting and a general "space" for her to be in with a few pointers as to where the light is coming from and directionality etc... but she does all her own body mechanics. I don't want to call it posing per se. I basically just let her be. She moves and talks and twirls and touches and stretches and I offer encouragement but mostly we just breathe in the shared solitude. It's a happy place for both of us and we will frequently laugh at some of her more ridiculous poses and when she hits a dynamic look that really works for me, I will ask her to just hold it for a moment.
I shoot almost continuously with her because she moves SO MUCH and SO FAST. You'd think, judging by the solemn nature of these images, that she was just a sad little child moving at a snail's pace throughout this shoot but I can assure you that this kid is so full of vibrant energy and life and spunk! When the camera comes out though, she taps into the deeper and more layered parts of herself. She settles down. She locks eyes with me. It becomes our own little language that we are speaking to each other, as oftentimes completely silently as not. We don't need to say much, it's all understood. I joked with Ellie about how she is going to remember her childhood based on all these more Fine Art based shoots of her over the past couple years where there are few smiles, and is she going to think her childhood was totally depressing based on these images, and she just laughed at me telling me I was the one who was going to lose my memory long before her so I should be more worried about how I am going to remember her childhood. Thanks, kid. :)