Mixing your passion and your career is a balancing act. I started photography in high school after dabbling with other art forms. I found it was the most fulfilling, because it allowed me to tell stories that both document and skew reality in interesting ways. For this reason, fashion photography remains one of my favorite genres to shoot. There are no rules and there are no boundaries — everything is possible.
As a professional photographer I find I spend most of my time telling other people’s stories and capturing their unique visions. As much as I love bringing others’ ideas to life, I still feel it is very important to continue to create work for myself. For that reason, I try a few times a year to do a personal project. This year I wanted to push myself to remember why I started photography to begin with — and what better way to skew reality then capturing a model suspended in the air as if flying around the city … in February?! With the seeds of my idea planted and a mini trampoline ordered off of Amazon, I contacted some of my favorite artists, and with their help I set out to create my first personal project of 2016.
Before every shoot day is hours of pre-production and planning. These are some of the mood boards I created for this shoot.
The day began bright and early at my studio in Wicker Park. Our team gathered together and began prepping. Makeup artist Loni Hale custom cut this orange wig, and is shown here applying makeup to model Leslie Bembister of 10 Management.
In the meantime, wardrobe stylist Arlene Mathews of Kit This and I began going through the clothing she pulled and pairing outfits with the pre-scouted locations we had in mind.
After Leslie is ready to go, she tests the trampoline while Loni puts the finishing touches on hair and makeup.
When we arrived on location we could not believe how lucky we got with the weather! I didn’t even need to wear a coat … in February! Each look had different props to help pull the story together. It was juggling act (pun intended) figuring out how to capture Leslie in midair while holding fruit.
One of the many reasons I chose to work with Leslie was because of her skill with movement. She is very creative and great at enduring physically challenging situations, while still being able to model. I knew I needed somebody with this experience to capture what I had in mind.
Arlene puts the finishing touches on an all-white look.
Don’t cry over spilled milk: The idea of this shot involved milk flying through the air. The wind was extreme at this point and it was challenging to keep the milk away from the extremely expensive outfit while still trying to get the shot.
It was also hard to keep my hair out of my face … #Blindphotographer
It takes a team: During this shoot I was lucky to have Julian of Indirap Productions filming behind the scenes of the entire process. He did a lot of shooting in slow motion to capture the crazy wind and movement. I also had my husband Stephen with me helping with little details. We met through one of my first personal projects, so it only feels natural to have him by my side.
We had multiple cars traveling between locations, and in between shots I would go through and check my images and share them with Leslie and the rest of the crew. It is always satisfying to see your vision start to come to life.
One of the last locations of the day was a laundry mat. We had scouted this spot during the day and didn’t realize that this time of the early evening they had bright orange lights that turned on inside, making a complete match to Leslie’s wig. We had a laundry basket as our prop and, surprisingly, this turned out to be one of my favorite shots.
Now comes the fun part! That evening in my office I went through the photos for the first time, and started selecting my favorites. It is so exciting to see the images in real life that you had previously only imagined in your head. I am so excited to share the results of this story — especially with those that worked hard to make it possible. Thank you:
BTS photographs taken by Kirsten’s intern, Sara Keefe
Styling by Arlene Mathews of Kit This
Hair and Makeup by Loni Hale
Model is Leslie Bembinster with 10 Management
BTS video by Indirap Productions
Photography assistants: Stephen Sloan and Sara Keefe
Writing/photo editing/ concept by Kirsten Miccoli