A dagger of Lilies
Well HELLO there! I assure you a blog post that is coherent and focused. Hopefully. Before I get into things I'd like to wave and say hi like a weirdo as I am broadcasting from my new mobile editing work station, aka a laptop! I am finding myself travelling a bit more nowadays and really stuck in a rut when it comes to doing work while I am away. This includes just menial tasks like dumping images to a hard drive. It's pretty silly that I can't even do that. Well, now I can! It's not a mac. I don't think I could ever get into the mac ecosystem. Too expensive, too few ports on their laptops and for Trader Joe's sake, photoshop and lightroom run and look the same. I'm not going to go into detail of what brand it is. All I will say that B&H used department is amazing, it's an i7, it's brand new and it has a full sized keyboard. I look like a neophyte mongrel typing on those smaller keyboards. I'm glad I went with a 15.4 inch screen. A 13.3 inch screen just made me feel, uncomfortable as I edited. Yay for more productivity.
Let's talk images. This is a photographer's blog yes? I say this with some contempt but instagram has opened a few doors for me lately. It's a medium that I loathe but for now I'm playing the instagram game. I say this regularly, I feel like I'm shoving quarters into a machine waiting for some sort of return on my investment. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes. This time the payment was a connection with another creative human. For some reason I stumbled upon this amazing human. Her name is Lillian and she is an actress/model/writer/advocate and now director in New York City. People that do a lot of things excite the pampers off of me. This life is too short right? Try and make your mark. Even if you think you're making those marks in the sand, it's still worth it. The grand canyon was carved out that way, yes? Anyway, some weird voice inside me just said, work with her, she's a magical unicorn. I happen to think my magical unicorn radar works pretty well, thank you. Boy, was I right. We chatted a few times to set something up and finally decided on doing something low key(it's never low key with me) and simple(again I'm never simple).
We couldn't pick a worse day. It was raining dreadfully and the place we picked was a bit unorthodox, the mall, in queens. There's beauty in everything, including Forever21. Okay, maybe not everything. I found myself in Hoboken as I am doing a lot more lately and jumped on the PATH. Funny, Hoboken isn't a word according to squarespace spell check. The ride to queens was LONG. Like, fall asleep in your book long. Like, build an ikea Malm dresser long. Like, binge watch the office season 1-9 long. Can I tell you how many times I've done that? No, I shouldn't. I know there are judging people out there. Okay, probably 34. Anyway, it was quiet. The train was mostly empty as it was the middle of a work day and past rush hour. It gave me time to collect my thoughts and sort out the nervous energy I seem to attain right before shooting new people. I totally get nervous. I'd never show it but it happens all the time. I use what little I have of an acting background and just put on a show, HAZAAAAH! <Jazz fingers>
It was shit pouring. My umbrella just sucked as I walked from the train to the mall. I was for sure, thinking, what in the hell are we going to do once I get in there? I am all for rain shoots but I really didn't come prepared with one of those lens condoms. Yes, they are called that. Yes, I just wanted to say that. And then, there she was. Also, a great Talking Heads song. Er "And she was." She was draped in a long black coat and long waving brown hair. The kind of hair you know will curl and spatter in the wind when someone is full of life and motion.
We walked and talked and spilled the stories of our soap dish places in life. She told me about how she lives with Phenylketonuria or PKU. You should investigate more about this as I'm not going to delve deeply into this genetic nuance. Though, it has to do with a specific building block of protein that she basically can't metabolize. Lily, if you read this and this is malarky, tell me. She basically can't eat much protein at all and has to substitute parts of her diets with a synthesized version that has that specific protein taken out. Girlfriend can't have steak, girlfriend has never eaten a steak or any meat for that matter. Well, what you've never had you don't miss. I forgave her when she told me she finally had coffee, with non dairy milk.
She had just dipped her feet into directing. See how I jump from topic to topic? I asked her the silly question of, what do you ultimately want to do with everything? Try asking me that question. It won't go over well. Or I'll say I want to be a astronaut beauty queen that mends and darn socks on weekends. But for Lillian it was pretty clear and probably the strongest reason of why I was drawn to her presence. She wants to write and direct anything that showcases strong women. She wants to advocate for the equality of her lady folk. I say this a lot and it's true. Strong women make the world go round. I say this as a bit of a momma's boy but it's something I've always looked up to and it's something that always needs to be projected. This world needs strong women. Strong women teach. Strong women lead by example and foster boys that understand this need for equality and girls that have role models to look up to. This is why I wanted to photograph her and hopefully will continue doing so.
We walked around the mall. Played on the escalators, had strange lights reflect off of her, stood in the way of people walking by, ran outside and jumped on a light pole but then decided ultimately to hang out on the top of the parking garage where it was pouring. It was feverish and fun. We ran in and out of the rain to collect our thoughts(and my breath). Also to dry off. My cameras were getting soaked and although they are weather sealed it's never a good idea to prolong the deluge. I brought Mamiya out in the rain. Do you know how hard it is to take a hand held quick picture with that thing, while it is raining? It's hard. Though, she was up for it. She was up for it with that bright unicorn spark and a smile. I adore people that just commit. It's what life is about. Never giving 80%, giving 110% and pushing more. She just rolled with it. My favorite set of photos happened when we went exploring and found an overhang of the garage which created this huge soft box light that wrapped around her beautifully while she danced away and flung her hair in every direction. Sometimes a team of two makes images 14 people couldn't put together.
I've been creatively in a funk and this was what I needed. Seriously, there should be a support group for the anxiety people get when trying to make something worth showcasing. It's a heavy lead weight on your chest while they pour water into your mouth. Then sometimes, but only sometimes, something or someone comes a long to make that pressure ease and make the water stop. This time it was her. Thanks Lillian. I hope to photograph you sometime very soon and also show you the wonders of more coffee, with faux creamer of course.
If you would like to know more about Lillian or book, visit her on the web here at Lillian Isabella
Oh derp. Here are most of the photos from our lovely shoot. Please enjoy. If YOU want to get creative, please send me a note, so we can create something!
All images by Michael Jacob Bambuch