Willow / Bucktown Session Part 1

Where do I even start here? Well first of all I'm excited to FINALLY be releasing this session. My life has been insane this Summer with moving, traveling, working, going through a really tough loss, and also being extremely excited for the birth of my first niece coming in less than two weeks! With all of the madness, I haven't had a huge amount of time to work on my personal projects but being able to do this has also kept me focused and sane.

I'm particularly excited about this. I can't say how great it's been to be back in Chicago and having the opportunity to work and create with such amazing people. Willow is a dear friend that I've been working with for a couple of years now. I can't say enough good things about this beautiful woman. She's one of the most inspiring, passionate people I know and she's a huge inspiration to me! Together we've landed multiple publications, covers and even storefront banners! She's just a go-getter and is so damn good at what she does. Needless to say, it's a great pleasure to work with and photograph her and this session was no different. 

Working in the fashion and modeling industry has juxtaposed me with so many moral conflicts, concerns and general questioning of "why am I even doing this"? I've seen a lot over the past year. Enough to make me question my own decision of shooting fashion. The industry is riddled with body-shaming, negativity and narcissism... none of which I'd like to be a part of. People are being retouched and liquified beyond the point of recognition and reality. Young girls are being told how they need to look to be accepted, how many inches they need to lose off of their waists, how they'll never be tall enough to "make it" in the industry. And believe me, this doesn't just mean it's destroying the models and people in the industry...it's directly effecting all of us.

So here I am left with this stinging question of "why?". Why do I want to be a part of this culture, this industry, this craft? I recently met with a friend and amazing photographer, Chris Fitzgerald, while he was in town visiting Chicago. Another person I can't sing enough praises. His portrait work is incredibly raw, honest and personal and it makes you feel like you're just there in that moment with them. Talking to him got me thinking about "the process" behind taking a photograph. For me, it really is about the entire process. It's the whole day, it's the interaction, it's your relationship with the person you're photographing, it's what was happening that day, that week, what the weather was like, what road-blocks you ran into and what turned out to be beautiful mistakes. Every element and interaction leads you to the final product. The task is to translate all of these things into a handful of photographs where you can convince your viewer to step inside and experience something with you. It's a pretty enticing challenge. 

I could sit here and write out every detail of this day and tell you about how it was about 100 degrees in my vintage 3rd floor apartment, how I locked us all out and had to jump a fence, how it all somehow worked out magically as it always does (oh, the mystery)... But instead of boring you with that, I give you these photographs. Create your own story, I invite you into the process with us. 

Super special thanks to the amazing....

Willow Star (Model)
Jean Ramos (Hair & Makeup)
Anastasia Chatzka (Romper and Bralette)