I can't make any excuses for my posting lag, this time, besides utter laziness. Like many of you, I'm sure, the heat has been atrocious where I live. And the weather does not inspire productivity. I've been very nostalgic for this past spring. Or better yet, a time machine to catapult me into this coming autumn.
August should be an interesting month. I am broke as a joke for good reasons (both list-related, so I shall not reveal.) So while I recover financially, I'm laying low at home. Perhaps this will inspire more frequent posting. Or perhaps not. But at the very least, I'll try and catch you up to date.
I figured it was about time I cop to the origins of my new banner. Not that I was keeping it a secret. I am alternately in awe of it, but also a little bashful about its boldness. It's so swanky and professional and I am...well...not. I never could have pulled such a thing off by myself, so I had a little help from an uber fabulous reader and longtime internet friend, Kathryn Kaye. Who just also happens to do photography for a living.
So yeah. That's little old me, up there vamping it for the camera in the outrageous purple frock of my dreams. If you've been following me since Closet365, you probably know that (with very few exceptions) I've always taken my own photos, with a crappy point-and-shoot and a tripod. No big thing. There was also this whole little issue of me hating to have my own picture taken. At least I used to hate it. Taking one's own picture and putting it on the internet, every day, for a year, tends to lessen one's inhibitions where portraiture is concerned.
Still, I remain extremely self-conscious about being captured on camera. My own photoshoots consist of hundreds of takes. Thank you self timer! And I sort through them obsessively until I find maybe one or two that I don't totally hate. I am that person who un-tags themself in every picture you could ever put on Facebook and cringes at social gatherings, when someone insists upon busting out the point-and-shoot. I may have conquered my initial fear of being photographed, but it's still an angsty issue for me.
On the other hand, I've been admiring Kathryn's work forever, and I've never seen a bad shot. Thus, when she approached me about doing a fun fashion shoot for her portfolio, I decided not only to do it, but add it to my list. See, THE LIST is all about experiencing new things, many of which are new to me and force me outside my comfort bubble.
I saw this photoshoot as both a personal challenge, but also a lovely way to commemorate some of the other obstacles I've overcome in this crazy little life, lately. If I could wear 365 outfits, and photograph them, and blog about it every day for a year, throughout even the toughest phase of my life, surely I could handle putting on one more outfit (or two) and going pro.
As soon as agreed, I became super excited for the shoot. Kathryn had very few specifications, other than giving me a feel for the settings and asking me to just bring some dress options. Dresses? Did someone say dresses? Why! I've got a few of those! I agonized a bit about this, but ultimately picked out a couple of my favorites. And the rest I guess, is obvious.
We met up back in April in Denver, as we both hail from parts nearby. It was a ridiculously windy day, which wrecked my hair pretty much the second I stepped from my car. Still, the wind was no match for our dynamic camera/dress duo as we hit the streets. At first, I was very uncertain as to how this whole thing was supposed to work, but my photographer friend put me very at ease. Kathryn merely told me to do what I always do in front of the camera. Which posed another challenge. I've always tried to conduct my photo shoots away from prying eyes. It didn't always work, but for the most part, I know how to evade onlookers while posing for my pictures.
I felt a little awkward at first. I may have watched my fair share of Top Model marathons, but I never ever consider myself photogenic or model-esque. I'm not sure I ever did manage to bring the fierceness, but I did eventually loosen up to the extent that I would for my own picture-taking shenanigans. After some more casual shots in my first dress, we ventured downtown. It was there that I adapted quickly to the creation of a public spectacle.
As it turns out, prancing around in an obnoxious purple dress and four-inch heels is not your everyday occurrence in downtown Denver. (I maintain, I haven't gotten the memo, but to each her own.) Most people kept their staring to polite surreptitious glances. But while posing against the bright yellow backdrop of the Curtis Hotel, one man felt the need to yell catcalls from his car, which then inspired the man behind him to yell back at him. I'm still not sure if he was defending my honor or just irritated with the holdup.
The rest of the magic, I assume happened on Kathryn's end, because...damn...I love these pictures. Although I still feel a tinge of vanity when I look at them, mostly I'm just so impressed at how they turned out. I was convinced that my awkwardness would ooze through even the most meticulous Photoshop handiwork. (Check out her mad editing skillz on her own blog post about the experience.) But when I look at these pictures, I just see myself. Poised and calm. Ready for the next challenge. And that, I believe, is a testament to some beautiful beautiful airbrushing.
If anything, I've been remiss to take my own pictures again, since this experience. It's like the difference between posing for Annie Leibovitz and mugging for the TMZ crew. I might have been afraid of her fancy lens before, but now I just want Kathryn Kaye to follow me around and be my paparazzi every day of the week. Sigh.
At the end of the day, I came away feeling inspired. Not only did I have a wonderful time working with Kathryn, but I now have a collection of amazing shots to remember the experience by. Photographic evidence of a risk taken, that also happened to pay off.
Title courtesy of Simon and Garfunkel - "Bookends"
Images courtesy of Kathryn Kaye Photography