Ink Amongst Nature

Journal Entry:
I had a model the other day say, “I wonder what goes through your head as you take pictures.”

I think this shoot sort of sums it up nicely. Basically, my mind during a shoot is a chaotic mess. It’s why my photos end up all over the board in terms of aesthetics or a theme just as they did in this shoot.

Rules, composition, equations, angles, lens choices, timing, all while trying to figure out how to keep on a conversation so that my subject doesn’t feel like they’re nothing but a prop. And to top it off, I want it all: dramatic, fun, natural light, studio light, voyeuristic, in the moment, staged, hard light, soft light. All of it. I want to shoot all of it.

I’m teaching myself to let go of that need to have it all, but it’s definitely hard to do. I think it stems from a fear of missing an opportunity. It’s as if I don’t try everything in that moment, I’ll miss something and never get the chance to do it again. If I want to submit work for publication or to put together for a showing, I need to develop unity, a theme, some kind of cohesiveness to it all.

Tattoos in nature

About the photos:
The shots in the beginning are me falling back on my standard method of shooting. It’s what I do when I see something I want to shoot but can’t. In this case there was a stand of weeds over which the setting sun was doing some amazing things. I could see the shot in my head but my model’s sensitive skin wouldn’t allow her to get to the spot I needed her in. Rather than have an entire shoot with red, rashy skin, we opted to shoot along the edge of where I wanted to be. When something like this happens early on in a shoot I default to safe mode and try to not push for much. The shots are greatly influenced by my portraiture work, and while lovely, leave me wanting something a little more from them.

Tattoos in nature Tattoos in nature

As I edited these shots I kept thinking about how the juxtaposition of tattoos in a natural setting created a synthetic layering of expression. Light pouring into the lens from behind kept the subject soft, and made her tattoos nondescript so adding an overlay of unintelligible text was my way of furthering that buildup of lost meaning.

Tattoos in nature


This is one of the final shots from the shoot. With the promise that this set would be the end of the shooting I was able to convince Angela to kneel down in the brush. They’re some of my favorites from the shoot. In post I decided to play with makeup a little and push things towards the darker aesthetic I’m developing. In the end it ended up being a great test for concepts I’d like to work into more involved shoots.

Model and makeup: Miss Angi