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Time Off

Before I forget, I want to thank everyone who so lovingly came together for my friend Erick!  I am extremely happy to say that he is doing much, much better and has been released from the hospital.  He isn’t through this rough patch yet, but it seems the worst is behind him and his spirit has been lifted for the fights ahead.  Thank you all dearly for your thoughts, wishes and prayers.  I know it all made a difference.

I wanted to let you all know that I’ll be taking a “vacation” for the next week or so.  I’m not going anywhere; in fact, the whole point is for me to stay at home and really, really rest.  August was one of the worst health months I’ve had in a long time, including two urgent care visits (very early in the morning) two appointments with my GP,  a 5am call to the 24 hour nurse hotline (which led to one of the GP visits but I was worried I needed to to the emergency room) two colds, one ear infection, one thing which I thought was another ear infection and turned out to be allergy-related, countless migraines and almost as many nights of insomnia as nights where I slept.  It was just a really hard month.

I had a few photography things I needed to take care of, but as of now, I’m taking a little time off.  I’m thinking a week or so, but obviously I can tinker it to fit how I’m feeling.  I may not be on social media as much for the next few days and I may or may not post a photo next week.  I actually have one ready to go but the posting requires more energy than you’d think, especially if it needs to be promoted in any way.  So that’s all to say, I’m going to hunker down and try and stay in bed in my PJs as much as possible for the next week.  I may be a little quieter online, but it won’t be forever.  :)

And that leads me neatly into two other things I’ve been trying to find time to say between all the craziness.  One is a guest article I wrote for MESupport.Co.UK.  Louise, who runs the site, was very generous with letting me pick the topic I wanted to write about and also being extremely forgiving about how long it took me to actually get the article to her!  It was fun to write it once I actually could, and I got to use a story my dad likes to tell about me when I was very little, so give her a read :)

I was discussing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with @RidgeBackRogue, who also has ME, a few weeks ago and wondered out loud what we could do for ME that would be similar.  One of the problems with the Ice Bucket Challenge is that people with severe ME would never be able to do it; they can barely tolerate light, let alone ice-cold water.  It would be uncomfortable and a little harmful even for me, and I’m just moderate. We wanted it to be something that anyone of nearly any health level could do.

She immediately came up with a great idea: The ME Movie and Chocolate Challenge!  Guess how it works.  Within 1 week of being challenged, you must watch any movie of your liking while eating something with chocolate!  We’re pretty forgiving here, so if you don’t care for chocolate, you could substitute whatever you like best.  Then you donate the average price of a movie ticket to an ME charity – I like the Microbe Discovery Project for the US and RidgeBackRogue suggests Invest In ME for UK residents!

And while those with the most, most severe form of ME still wouldn’t be able to participate, the poor souls, this is accessible to people of a wider range of the health spectrum.

So that’s it!  I’ll be doing my ME Movie and Chocolate Challenge over the next week… what should I watch?  If I had to pick right now, I’d probably go with Cloud Atlas, The Green Mile or In Bruges… or just a bunch of episodes of Breaking Bad, True Detective or Rectify; enough to make up a movie’s-length of time.  I don’t see how I can go wrong with any of those choices!

Would anyone like to volunteer to be next?  Extra karma points to you if you do :)

In Between Awake And Asleep - this is what I plan on doing for the next week; magically hovering over the bed.  Or maybe I'll deign to actually lay in bed.  With PJs that are actually comfortable.  And sleep.  That all sounds better.

In Between Awake And Asleep – this is what I plan on doing for the next week; magically hovering over the bed. Or maybe I’ll deign to actually lay in bed. With PJs that are actually comfortable. And sleep. That all sounds better.

 

 

Dedeker’s Utopia

I first met Dedeker Winston over four years ago, when I was just starting out as a photographer.

Yggdrasil - © Sarah Allegra

Yggdrasil – © Sarah Allegra

She was one of the first models I worked with and we clicked so well that we’ve been working together ever since.  She is one of my go-to models, one of the best and most reliable I have.

All Of Winter In A Day - © Sarah Allegra

All Of Winter In A Day – © Sarah Allegra

She instinctively understands what I’m wanting from a shoot and she delivers every time.  Of course, I adore my other models too, I have the best group of ladies and gents willing to pose for me, but this post is specifically about Dedeker.

Mark of Cain - © Sarah Allegra

Mark of Cain – © Sarah Allegra

Because, you see, Dedeker was chosen to be on Fox’s new reality show Utopia, which airs tonight.  Their sites describes the show’s premise well, so I’ll let them explain it:

La Belle Dame Sans Merci - © Sarah Allegra

La Belle Dame Sans Merci – © Sarah Allegra

“Behold UTOPIA, a bold new series based on the hit Dutch program. Watch what happens as 14 pioneering Americans wave goodbye to the lives they’ve known, move to a remote location, and set out to create a society from scratch. They’ve got limited supplies, wildly diverse backgrounds, and zero bathrooms.

What could go wrong — besides everything?

The Utopians will make every decision about how they live and work. Will they choose democracy or dictatorship? Capitalism or socialism? Fidelity or free love? Which religion, if any, will prevail? Will they punish or forgive? Keep or share?

Are those chickens friends….or food? If not now, when?

It is all up to them.

This is not a game. There is no prize. This is UTOPIA: reality TV in its truest form.”

Shades We Weave - © Sarah Allegra

Shades We Weave – © Sarah Allegra

It will certainly be interesting to watch how the show evolves.  And of course I’ll be watching to support my girl Dedeker :)

Wings For Marie - © Sarah Allegra

Wings For Marie – © Sarah Allegra

One of the unique qualities about the show is how long-running it’s intended to be; the contestants have to be willing to stay there for up to a year; perhaps even longer.  While no one is guaranteed to stay that long, it’s a possibility.  And I’ll admit, I was very sad to think about not having one of my favorite girls around to shoot spontaneously as the desire came up.

Alone In The Wilderness - © Sarah Allegra

Alone In The Wilderness – © Sarah Allegra

But I’m more interested in supporting Dedeker.  This sounds like a really unique opportunity for her and she’ll definitely come out with the story of a lifetime to tell!

Are You The Beast Again? - © Sarah Allegra

Are You The Beast Again? – © Sarah Allegra

So in the spirit of supporting her and promoting her being on the show, I decided to put together a post with some of my favorite Dedeker images from the last four years of partnership!

Potion - © Sarah Allegra

Potion – © Sarah Allegra

All of the Utopia contestants have their own catch phrase/tagline for lack of a better term.  Dedeker has been billed as the professionally-belly-dancing, polyamorous, nude model who has no fears of being naked – a trait I can personally attest to.  I have many images of her, both clothed and unclothed, but for the purpose of this post, I’m going to celebrate more of her nude work.

Water Birth

Water Birth – © Sarah Allegra

She is equally skilled at both kinds of modeling, even when it involves wearing hand-made, noxious-smelling, tea-dyed dresses, heavy crowns of branches which have to be strapped to her body to support them, with decorative ribbons biting into her flesh because her photographer was too busy focusing on other details and she was too much of a pro to complain.

The Court Of The Dryad Queen

The Court Of The Dryad Queen

Dedeker has been instrumental in the building of my most-beloved photography series, DreamWorld (my own Utopia, if you will).  She has portrayed countless characters, including dryads, oracles and deer-people to name a few.

Water For The Free - © Sarah Allegra

Water For The Free – © Sarah Allegra

The Oracle  - © Sarah Allegra

The Oracle – © Sarah Allegra

So good luck to all the Utopians!  But most of all to Dedeker :)

Coming Over Like A Storm - © Sarah Allegra

Coming Over Like A Storm – © Sarah Allegra

And De, let me know when you’re back so we can shoot again!!

Fledgling - © Sarah Allegra

Fledgling – © Sarah Allegra

Helping A Hero

You guys have met Erick Riedell through some of my photos already.

In The Eyes Of The Hungry 600

In The Eyes Of The Hungry

And I’ve recounted some of his health battles with you guys too.  He’s been fighting cancer on and off (though it seems more on than off) for over six years; a little longer than the entire time I’ve been with Geoff.  Geoff and Erick have been good friends since highschool, a friendship I’m impressed they maintained even though they live in different parts of the country.  They kept it up through different romantic relationships, different places they lived, health problems, marriages, children… they’re still there for each other.  Their friendship is inspiring.

This year has been especially difficult for Erick, his wife and their two young sons.  It’s been almost non-stop health problem after problem; surgeries, hospital stays, being sent to specialists in other states… it just hardly seemed to stop.  And it’s bad again.

Erick has only one functioning kidney and it’s failing.  So he’s back in the hospital, tests are being run and solutions are being searched for.  Why the kidney is failing isn’t entirely known yet, but it could be caused by another tumor.  That’s the last thing you want to hear about anybody, but especially as someone with Erick’s history of fighting these deadly growths.

The Yellow Knight

The Yellow Knight

I’d like to share something with you that Geoff wrote about Erick.  He has such a way with words, he really captures Erick’s personality in a way that will translate even to those who have never met him.  So please, let me introduce you to Erick, by way of Geoff’s words:

I’ve never put much stock in karma.

If there was such a thing, the roads would have a lot less traffic and there would be no reality television.

But, as I see what my friend Erick and his family are going through, it’s clear karma is a myth…if not an outright joke.

I have known nobody more straight-edge than Erick. No drinking. No smoking. There has been an occasional overindulgence in fried food and cheese…especially in the days before he got married. But, how cancer finds its way into a clean-living scenario like that is beyond me.

He is, quite simply, the friendliest, most good-hearted, good-natured person I’ve ever known. We don’t go anywhere where somebody doesn’t know him. And if by some odd chance we do, by the time we leave, he’s made new friends. He is effortless in that way.  Always has been.  It’s a trait my grandfather had, too…a genuine ability to connect with others. It’s a trait I’d be happy to have inherited from either one of them.

But my curmudgeon gene is too strong.

I’ve never ridden with him in Los Angeles freeway traffic, but I’ll bet he wouldn’t scream obscenities the way I do.  He’s even-keeled, easy-going and relentlessly upbeat that way.  I’d invent new swear words in a traffic jam.  He’d lead a conga line between the cars.

That’s just who he is.

He’s Murray the K.

Look it up…that’s what Wikipedia is for.

He just has “it,” you know?  “It.”  That “it” that certain people have.  Charisma.  Like a gravitational force.  It makes him the center of the room.  And the calm eye in the hurricane.  You can’t learn it.  You’re just born with it.  Like the Force.  And it runs strong in this Jedi called Erick.

So yes, I downplay the existence of karma, but I totally buy into the Force. Because I’m a child of the 70s.

If this sounds like a eulogy, blame the context of the day.  Because it’s not.  This isn’t over.  Because the other thing about Erick is he has more fight and determination in him than I’ve ever seen in anybody.  A hell of a lot more than I do.  But far too often, we don’t say the things we should when we should.  And knowing how we all feel about him at a time like this can’t hurt anything.  Because, though he has always seemed bulletproof to me…everybody can use a little encouragement.

So, I urge everyone reading this to do exactly what he asked this morning.  Share a story.  Share your feelings.  Pile it on.  Let him know the world is a better place because he is in it.

Because it is.

Ribbon Armor

Ribbon Armor

 

It most certainly is.

You guys may not have ever met Erick, but take my word that he is one of the most wonderful people you could ever meet.  A true hero who has had to fight for his life too many times to count.  And right now, he needs help.  Help from those he knows, but even from those he has never met.  I would ask you to please do two things.

One: Reply to this post leaving messages of love and encouragement for Erick which I will pass on to him.  He needs all the love and encouragement we can give him.  Let’s show him the overwhelming love the world has for him, even from people he hasn’t met!

Two: If you can, please donate to his health care fun through GoFundMe.  I know, money is tight for everyone right now.  But even a $5 donation would help!  It doesn’t have to be much.  As you can imagine, being in the hospital and fighting cancer are extremely expensive.  Every little bit we can give will help him and his family so much.

Help Erick Riedell Fight Cancer

 

If you can only do one or the other, that’s ok!  If you can do both, great!

There is so little we can do that feels constructive.  I can’t enter his body and rid it of any cancer cells I find.  But we can send him messages of love and show our support with a few dollars.

Lastly, please keep Erick in your prayers, if you are the praying type, your thoughts, send him good energy, light a candle in his name, however it works for you.  I deeply thank you for anything that you can do for him, and I know he and his family do too!  The world has so few truly spectacular people in it; we cannot afford to lose one more.  Thank you all so much for your help!!

I’ve talked to you guys about Rectify beforeRectify, Sundance Channel’s dreamy, introspective show about Daniel Holden who  was convicted of a crime when he was 18 and spent the last 19 years on death row.  New DNA evidence has emerged which frees him from prison, but he is not exonerated.  He is sent back into the lion’s den of Paulie, Georgia, a fictional small town where everyone has been steeped in this crime for the past two decades and everyone has an opinion on Daniel’s guilt or innocence.

Image copyright of Sundance Channel.

Image copyright of Sundance Channel.

It is an absolutely brilliant show.  I’ve met a lot of other fans online and they are truly some of the most rabid, enthusiastic people you could imagine.  Much of this is due to how original Rectify is.  It moves at its own pace, intentionally slower and more deliberate than most current shows.  It gives its characters time to breathe and allow us to learn much about them in moments which would be smaller in another show; Daniel’s magical wonder at watching and feeling the feathers from his pillow after having not seen or felt a single one in 19 years.  The writing is incredible and uses silence just as loudly and profoundly as the most eloquently-written speech.  The characters are all given fair treatment; there are no black and white “good guys” and “bad guys.”  They are all just people trying to do their best.

And the casting… my god, there are no words.  It is just perfect.  Perfect in every single way.  There are no weak links anywhere.  From the leading roles, Daniel’s family, to what could be considered “small” parts – Chet, the bookstore owner, played by Brian Bremer, or Marcy, the waitress, played by Kim Wall; every single one is a real person and the talent of the actors makes them big.  You wish you could invite these people over for dinner.  Much praise has been heaped upon the lead actors, and every bit of it is well deserved, but even the people you only get glimpses of are perfect.  Bruce McKinnon, playing Daniel’s step-father Ted Sr. reminds me so much of my late grandfather, I wish I could hug him.  Kerwin, played by Johnny Ray Gill, will change your life.  I don’t have enough space here to list every actor and describe how wonderful they are; you’ll have to just watch it for yourself.

Image copyright of Sundance Channel.

Image copyright of Sundance Channel.

Another thing I adore about Rectify is the heavy use of symbolism, metaphor and philosophy.  I talked about this more in my first post about Rectify, so I’ll just touch on the broad strokes.  The first season is six episodes long, with each episode covering one day.  This brings to mind the seven days of creation in the Bible and how God created man on the sixth day.  The mysterious Goat Man… is he representing God wrestling with Jacob or Satan tempting Jesus in the desert?  Or both?  Guilt and innocence, sin and salvation are recurring themes.  As you watch, you pick up more and more tidbits of metaphor, making the story that much richer.

It is a genuinely original and remarkable show, especially compared to everything else on TV right now.  I consider myself a Rectify pusher, as almost everyone I know personally who is a fan of the show started watching it because I insisted they give it a try.  And I will recommend the same thing to you :)  Season one is streaming on Netflix.  Season two, given a whole 10 episodes, just finished, but I imagine it will find its way to Netflix soon.  Rectify’s thoughtful pace is seriously ramped up at the end of episode five… I usually recommend to people that they only watch episode five when they can go straight ahead to six, because you will be dying to.

Jayson Warner Smith as Wendall in Rectify. Image copyright of Sundance Channel.

Most of the Rectify cast can be found on Twitter and they have all proven to be extremely friendly and happy to interact with fans (time permitting, of course; they still have lives).  I’ve given them all a standing invitation to come join DreamWorld any time they’d like, which may happen soon to my delight!  Over the course of chatting with some of the lovely actors from the show, I got to know Jayson Warner Smith a bit, who plays Wendall; Daniel’s creepy, sinister neighboring inmate.  At first I was almost afraid to talk to him because Wendall is so… well, Wendall.  But Jayson is just an absolutely lovely person who is nothing like Wendall.  He is an actor, after all :)  Here’s a great video highlighting some of Wendall’s best/worst moments from season one.  You’ll also see Daniel Holden, played by Aden Young, and Kerwin Whitman, played by Johnny Ray Gill.

I asked Jayson if he would mind doing an interview for my blog and he was kind enough to say yes and take time out of his schedule to answer my questions!  Jayson is currently living in Atlanta though he lived in Hollywood for two years.  He’s also well-versed in both stage and screen acting, though I haven’t had the chance to watch him perform live yet!  Read on for the interview, then I’ll tell you about my latest image which was Rectify-inspired.

 

*****

 

1. Do you have a favorite role that you’ve played?

Bobby Gould in Speed the Plow on stage in ATL. Love the Mamet language. Oh and Jack in The Weir also on stage in ATL.

2. I was impressed to find out you’re a musician as well as an actor!  Do you have any part in writing the songs?

I wrote the two on my site. Those were recorded with an iPhone at a party. Turned out pretty well. I seem to work best with a deadline it seems. I had to have them done in a month for this party.

3. If a horrible world existed where you could only practice music or acting, assuming they paid the same, which would you pick?

Ha. They both do pay the same right now.

Acting. I’m not disciplined enough to be a musician.

4. What would your dream acting role be?  It can be anything, including parts from movies which already exist.

That depends on so many things. The best experience would be working with super talented collaborative people. To have a role in that setting that the audience completely empathizes with.

Also, Elwood P Dowd in Harvey.

5. Do you have a favorite way to get into character, or does it vary from role to role?

That’s a novel. Sorry.

6. What is one thing you’d like your fans to know about you?

I’m just a regular guy. And I love F1. Go McLaren!

7. What music do you find yourself listening to frequently, and what shows are you sure to never miss?

Pandora has become my soundtrack. It rotates from Lyle Lovett to Rufus Wainright to The Shins to Blitzen Trapper to Radiohead to Avett Brothers to Sigur Ros etc.

TV? Mad Men, Top Gear (UK), Cosmos, Halt and Catch Fire, Downton, Justified.

8. I thought it was great that you participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (and you were so smart in how you performed it!)  Are there any causes you’re passionate about?

Just the Boy Scouts. I am an Eagle Scout and it made me a better person. It’s a shame that all of this political mess has gotten involved lately. Their organization has been trying to please everyone and as a result the whole program is becoming useless. It’s a real shame.

As Bill Cosby is quoted as saying: “I don’t know the key to success but I do know the key to failure – Trying to please everyone.”

9. Does playing Wendall in Rectify leave a film on your soul or are you able to shake him off quickly once the scene is done?

It’s just acting.

10. What do you like best about living in Atlanta that you wouldn’t have living in Los Angeles?

A house.

Hah- absolutely to answer #10!  Thank you, Jayson, so much for taking the time to do this!  It was a pleasure!  Now if we can just get you out to LA just for a little while… :)

Now, on to the photo!

Waiting For Paulie

Waiting For Paulie

The title is a play on the name of the town the show takes place in.  I created this just after season two ended – and ended on a very bad cliffhanger too!  Thankfully, season three has been secured or I just would not have known what to do.

I’d been eagerly counting the days for the second season to start and was enthralled with every new episode.  I’ve watched season one probably a dozen times already (I have it on DVD.  I’d also like to state for the record that I watched the entire season in one day; I REALLY love the show).  Season two, with more episodes, was able to expand upon the groundwork laid in season one, but as the show tends to do, it left us with more questions than answers.  I think I held my breath for the entire last half of the finale, which was a magnificent climax to the season.  After watching it though, I felt so sad that this season was over.  I wouldn’t see anything new from these characters for another year.  And they feel like friends to me, not fictional characters; I truly care about them.

After moping around for most of the morning after the finale, I finally decided to channel my impatience into a self portrait, because that’s what I do.  I set out intending just to use the window and have a couple feathers drifting down, reminiscent of Daniel’s experience with his feathers.  But as I worked, nature kept insisting on making herself known in the image.  Before I knew it, ghostly birds were flying everywhere while vines and smoke crept up from the corners.  I didn’t over-think it as I was creating, but as I thought about it afterward, it felt very true to the show.   Life and death.  Dark and light.  Magical moments between the mundane.  Nature and hope triumphing.  Light illuminating the shadows.  It summed up a lot of my feelings for the show in a way I still can’t really put into words.

There are some detail shots below, but if you only take away one message from this post, take this: go watch Rectify right now.  You will not be sorry :)

Waiting For Paulie - detail

Waiting For Paulie – detail

 

Waiting For Paulie - detail

Waiting For Paulie – detail

 

Waiting For Paulie - detail

Waiting For Paulie – detail

The Storm-Bringer

Time for another DreamWorld character!

The Eye Of The Storm - detail

The Eye Of The Storm – detail

I like to think of the Storm-Bringer as the counterpoint to the Wind Goddess:

Where Earth Meets The Sky

Where Earth Meets The Sky

They have similar powers and both rule over the sky, but one brings the weather we like, while the other brings that which we don’t like.  Which is not to say that the Storm-Bringer is an evil character; not at all.  Storms are useful to the world in a variety of ways; bringing rain is just one of them.  While me might prefer one over the other, both are needed and they balance each other.

This image was actually not one I’d set out to create.  Katie and I were shooting something else entirely, which had nothing to do with DreamWord, but when I sorted through the raw images, one of them really caught my eye.  I was shooting about Katie (from the second story of my mom’s house) and an image where she was flipping her hair around sparked something in me.  I looked at the next few frames where her hair continued its circular flip and thought it would look cool if I blended them all together.

Just for the hell of it, I brought the images into Photoshop and started playing around… and I played some more… and some more, and then I had a finished piece which I really loved!  As I looked at the finished image, I realized I’d created a new DreamWorld character without having planned it, but her story quickly formed inside my head.

We cannot have a world where there are only beautiful, sunny days.  Even an imaginary world.  The dark needs the light and the light needs the shadow, otherwise it would be a flat, saccharine depthless place.  DreamWorld started initially as an escape, and more importantly, not something I expected to turn into such a long, rich, detailed place as it has.  It is still my escape, but I can now fill in some of the darker areas along with the joy and sunlight.  A story isn’t a story without a conflict, without a villain.  Using a religious metaphor pioneered by Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, a trinity (father, son, holy spirit) is inherently incomplete.  And one more facet to it, making it a quaternity (father, son, holy spirit and devil) and it becomes complete and self-sustaining.  The dark and the storms enhance the light, but the light will always defeat the dark.

Though, if we’re speaking purely of wish-fulfillment, I would never have a bright, sunny day.  I would fit in very well somewhere like Portland or Seattle, since my favorite days are the gray, overcast ones, a little on the cool side.  In my perfect world, every day would be like that, but even I realize the need for a storm now and then to shake things up :)

Check out the making-of gif below the main image!

The Eye Of The Storm

The Eye Of The Storm

The Eye Of The Storm gif

The Eye Of The Storm gif

This will be a short post.  I wanted to share with you all a short video I made for the Microbe Discovery Project, a group using crowd-sourced funding to research myalgic encephalomyelitis, otherwise known as ME.  They asked for people to share their stories of ME with them by video or text, so I did just that.   I always wish I could help them in more concrete ways by giving them millions of dollars, but I’ll help with what I can; being open and honest about my experience with ME and making more people aware that they exist and could use some help.

Hope you all enjoyed the video, and please consider donating to the Project if you have the means!

I was invited to join in something of an art-blog-chain-letter and it sounded fun, so here we are!  Thanks to Hand Andy Pandy for inviting me!  I’m very pleased to be able to call this very talented photographer and self portrait artist my friend.  You can find him on his site, Twitter, Flickr and Google +.  He’s nearing the end of a really wonderful, whimsical and humorous 365 project, which I would highly recommend you check out!  I have great admiration for people who not only can start and finish a 365, but especially for people like Andy who do a high-concept piece each and every day!  It’s draining for me to just think about; I have no idea how other people do it, but I admire it!  You can see Andy’s blog hop post here!

Chocolate and Vanilla, by Handy Andy Pandy

The blog hop requires everyone to answer these four questions:

1. Why do I do what I do?

The short answer is because I can’t not create.  It’s just a part of my soul.  Days when I’m very ill or in too much pain to work are incredibly miserable for me, not so much because I feel physically bad, but because my ability to create is stifled.  I’ve tried just about every visual artform there is and many non-visual ones (with varying degrees of success) but photography has been the best thing for me and resonated the most with me.  It also helps that I can do much of my editing while laying down in bed with my laptop; that gives me a MUCH greater ability to work on images than if I had to sit in a chair at a desk.

 

Where Earth Meets The Sky, model Katie Johnson

Where Earth Meets The Sky, model Katie Johnson

 

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I suppose the biggest way my work differs is that I’m drawing from my own experience and inspiration, which is inherently different than anyone else’s.  Even if there’s another female, conceptual, fine art photographer and self portrait artist who has ME and really, really loves Peter S. Beagle and Robin McKinley, our work would still be different because of the forces which have shaped our souls.  I also think being self-taught helps you develop a unique style since you’re always traveling on the path toward creating the vision you had in your head and have to figure things out as you go.  There’s nothing wrong with formal education, and being self-taught can leave odd holes in your knowledge, but from my experience, it’s often helpful to artists maintaining their individuality.

 

The Court Of The Dryad Queen - model Dedeker Winston

The Court Of The Dryad Queen – model Dedeker Winston

 

3. How does my creative process work?

It depends somewhat on the image, but I’ll give you a couple examples.  There’s always some kernel of inspiration which explodes into a concept; I’ll often make rough sketches or make notes about how I want it to look, what fabric/location to use, colors, mood, etc.  Anything important that I’m afraid I’ll forget.  If I need to build costumes, props or sets, I do so.  I photograph my concept, and sometimes I stick exactly to my original vision while other times I discover as I’m creating that there are better ways to express whatever it is I’m wanting to express.

After the images have been shot, they move into my editing queue, where they could languish for anywhere from a few hours to many months.  Once it’s that image’s turn to be edited, that can take anywhere from a few days to months.  Then, after all that time, I finally declare the image done and release it onto the internet!

 

In The Lilac Wood - a self portrait

In The Lilac Wood – a self portrait

 

4. What am I working on now?

I’m always working on 50 different things at once, but I’ll give you the highlights.  DreamWorld is constantly in some state of creation; I have a number of images to edit as well as pre-production tasks on my to-do list.  What’s lined up next to edit are a few shots inspired by HBO’s True Detective, so I’ll be re-watching the series to soak up the flavor as I edit.  Oh darn :)

 

The Shadows Lengthen - the first True Detective-inspired image I created

The Shadows Lengthen – the first True Detective-inspired image I created (but not the last!)

 

Be sure and check out Robert Cornelius’s blog hop!

Eternity in an Hour, by Robert Cornelius

 

Also please see Angela Butler’s!

By Angela Butler

 

These very talented photographers are also putting blogs up today, and I’m happy to count them as friends as well as!

At this point, I’m supposed to link to the artists who will continue the blog hop next week, but for a variety of reasons, I wasn’t able to get in touch with all my artist friends and ask them.  So, if you’re reading this and would like to carry it on next Monday, feel free to!  Let me know and I’ll post a link to you :)

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