1.) My boyfriend’s dad the morning of our trip at 5am, told us not to come down. It was a hellfire of rain storms, roads were washing away, they were trapped in the compound. It wasn’t safe….. So of course we started down.
2.) I make my boyfriend stuff our cash in the Oreo box and my Tampon box to avoid being taken by rogue cops.
3.) Day one afternoon: We meet a legless man named Coco selling beer and a good time off the highway on a Texas chainsaw massacre type ranch.
4.) Morning day two: I got us pulled over by the cops on the way down because I insisted on stopping to take photos of the sun rise IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. (see photo)
5.) Afternoon day two: We decided to take the dirt road option from San Ignacio (which isn’t on google maps) and have the time of our LIVES deciding how we would drink the stashed tequila when we got stuck in mud, stampeded by wild horses or held hostage. Not only did my DRIVER pick a very different road than he thought (aka lost), we had to stop and fill IN the road at one point due to missing a thing called “matter”. I highly recommend this route.
6.) Day two San Juanico (our destination): I stood up on my first surfboard!!!
7.) Day three in San Juanico: Mr. Dad Kellogg takes us fishing and the motor cuts out in the middle of the Bay. No paddles.
8.) Day five in San Juanico: Mr. Dad Kellogg (whom I’ve now started calling Dr. Kellogg) takes us fishing elsewhere. An hour later the car is stuck in 2ft mud middle of no where. (see photo) Notice a trend?
9.) Same day in 2ft mud: I’m helping dig out the car with my hands and I dig up a scorpion. Surprised the hell out of us both.
10.) In an attempt to hang with the locals my boyfriend and I secure an invitation to the town New Years party at what is called the Saloon. We then proceed to get pre-sloshed with Dr. Kellogg and his woman and show up as the only white people. Needless to say Happy Bobby’s dance moves were something they’d never seen before and after offending the town and all neighboring towns we left shortly after midnight. Happy New Year!
11.) Day one road home: We took the paved road back only to learn Mexico has raised gas prices prompting a protest of gas stations closing. We better hurry.
12.) Morning two road back 6am: Shit gets real. Apparently protesting gas in Baja means FORCING the gas station to close and blocking the whole damn town via human chain and cars. Good thing we filled up the night before. #totallyfuckedotherwise
13.) 12 hrs, a bag of churros and “Ready Player One” book on tape later the United States let us back in. SUCKERS.
Road tripping Baja is safe if you’re prepared with the right tires, an adventurous attitude and have loads of book on tape and snacks. If we weren’t in a hurry to meet family for the holidays I would have made the two weeks a snail crawl of photos, hiking, taco stand hopping, Sea of Cortez camping and fishing. However San Juanico with its gloriously long surf, and charming town of locals and gringos was a Christmas dream. Packed with artists the town has hidden charm if you take the patient and respectful time to look. As always I recommend walking, watching and asking loads of questions. It’s a stunning road trip.
Most pictures shot on a Sony 7aII and some with an iphone 6
I met Dan over beers and in between a conversation about how $2 bills are the way to a strippers heart. He is a full hearted man building a vision (not just a business) and he's pretty damn good at it. Passion is when someone literally can't slow down or get off a phone call because they are so enveloped with genuine giddyness over their product and how it's going to inspire a new generation of freedom thinkers. And that's how invested Dan is with his fan's happiness.
Ladies and Gentlemen enter Leavenworth clothing. Both men and women are clamoring to get in it. We're seeing it pop up on both coasts and here is the really fricken funny part. The man JUST GOT STARTED. Excited AF to be apart of it and watch it flow.
I decided to focus less on where I live and more on my clients. Now I'm in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles each month to give everyone some love, but also to keep sharp, the ideas flowing and live a personally enriched life (according to my standards).
Currently in New York, sweating and loving it.
I had to get out some of the ideas in my head. Plus "waiting" around to build fashion portfolio work didn't seem like a good option. When you have to take bottom of the barrel work sometimes that isn't the work that shows off your best vision, abilities or final images. Under the advice of one of my mentors in photo life I started making my own shoots happen. Thus a few years ago Rapture & Relish blog was born. I had no idea what I wanted to do with it other than let it be my own work outlet.
Those personal shoots tested where my head and my skills were at. They answered questions like "am I really into this kind of photography for the right reasons" and "do I LIKE being a fashion photographer" and what does that actually mean. It's been a grueling 2 year experience that I've both loved and hated the responsibility of.
Today the blog has literally evolved so many times and, of course, is about to again. BUT here is an example of some of the fashion/style sessions that I do as an outlet on that blog. For future, it's important to note that the blog's 'brand' is about to change again next month and these "style sessions" you'll see here instead:)
When someone asks me to shoot a jacket just for the hell of it - Here's what I come up with. Paige (the model), a dessert sunset in LA, an extra photog (Mark Eps) making it easier and voila. I make up a scenario about the woman in the jacket, how she feels and how to express that using light, wind, her expressions all framed within my mind.
Every day in order to make sure my legs and ass look absolutely stunning (we have some work to do on that dream still) I get up every day and stretch, run and werk it. Imagine if we took our exercise routine that is meant to better ourselves and applied that to something we want to be good at. Dedicated hours each day to improving, experimenting, practicing on that job, career or craft I want to be a bad ass at. I'm talking JUST PLAYING around with the intent to master our crafts.
Last night I watched "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" and I went to bed on the verge of exploding. His whole take on his career as the best sushi chef in the world is pretty simple. Find something you love, work hard to master it and be your best. And your best is something you don't achieve until the end. Meaning you climb everyday no matter how many magazine covers you appear on, how many clients you accumulate, how many followers on Instagram you con ;) He is a 3 Michellin Star Sushi chef (the first one) and this 85 year old man quietly states he is still not at the top.
Now this degree of self criticism is not exactly everyone's personal philosophy. However it is chilling and agreeable moving the concept of personal competitiveness he inspires through his simple and humble approach to always ALWAYS working on improving or evolving. Can you imagine being satisfied with always trying to make something more beautiful, safer, more efficient, more compelling.... Actually finding joy in not ever feeling "retired" basically. LOVE.
We exercise to improve. SO IMPROVE on all parts of your life that you choose to focus on always. Whether that is ONE life thing or many things or you are a multiliker of things, do your best work constantly a step above the last time. It takes courage to step into the dark ahead.
Habits are a great way to achieve this state of mind. Therefore a habit of taking photos every day is a pledge. I've tried it in the past but I often make excuses or I let other priorities draw me off this pledge. Committed. And to commit means I need to get up and look for inspiring things or be in amazing places or find amazing people to photograph. See ya later box. I need to get out of the comfort zone for this challenge. Here are this mornings photos from Donner Lake. I took 28 raw images working hard to not overtake but carefully think out each image. I chose 4 from there and one to work on diligently. Forced my friend Rusty to run out and drink his coffee on the dock to compose this with some degree of meaning. Adding a human element that is personal to me.
This is not easy. But if you frame your state of mind into enjoying the challenge, and loving both the ups and downs this will be such a great adventure. Go get em tiger.
The other 3 selects I liked but didn't find as striking as the first.
There are many reasons to love my job. Frankly I hang around fucking amazing people, clothes, things all day long. No small violins here. BUT another bonus to being a freelancer is immense diversity of jobs take the pleasure of working on. Culture, interiors and architecture being one of them. Nothing like finding an inspirational space in which people change the world we live in and determine how to best capture it's quiet beauty. Here is some recent work done in the Bay Area of GORGEOUS spaces I had to opportunity to photograph.
Love MOO. And they love their customers. You can tell from the baby's ass smooth feeling of their cards that they mean serious business promotion. Seriously you could make sheets out of these things. This weekend they offered 25% off so I designed new business cards. AKA I can take my fav new work and make a collage of collectible Summer Wilson Photo cards. I love that I don't have to pic one image to represent my business. It's like they know me and what makes my business thrive. Oh and I'm a hater of spam BUT I signed up for their emails because they offer great entrepreneur advice and offer amazing case studies of businesses winning at life. In order to stay ahead of the game researching what works for other businesses and finding ways to apply it to my own is a weekly biz routine. Thanks MOOOOOOOOOOOO
My coworker's style is impeccable. No shyness here. Find a window and shoot that.
Small budgets, large ambitions = a hustler photographer. Don't panic and buy loads of wine for post production. First, get hired!
Second, talk project details. Find out what kind of services they need. Do they want a photographer to execute their creative direction OR do they need someone to help them realize their visual dream? Production (find models, stylist, MUA set timelines, keep them organized on the project)? Location scouting? Get it all added up so you can give them a correct $$$$$$ for your services.
Third start executing. In this particular situation I had the pleasure of doing it all. Therefore my execution included models & location scouting, finding the stylist assistant and MUA (call up all those networking buddies - you must be networking). After collecting all your parts present your lucky finds for their final approval. Make sure they love all of it and understand the outcome each part will do to strengthen their final vision.
Get organized and ready. Double check your team by sending out a call sheet with timetables, location and contact info. Line up all your supplies the day before and get some serious shut eye.
Day of - have fun and make beautiful photographs. No matter what happens stay calm and positive. No one wants to EVER work with someone who panics under pressure. AND it's your job to set the tone and keep up the vibes. Even if the model is late or the MUA isn't delivering getting angry can kill your day. Keep the day moving firmly but with a smile.
Last, make sure to follow up and deliver on your timelines. Be generous with yourself. UNDER PROMISE and over deliver. Surprises, positive ones, make you memorable for the next project or referral. Getting feedback on the results of the project for the client isn't a must but it can improve your skills and understanding for future projects. Plus your building a great relationship with the client for future projects.
Extra last - Put up your proud work for all to see. Real time progress is not only good for business but good for your artist soul. Share your vision!
This look book was for Octavia Clothing, a new fashion brand on the horizon. I worked with TWO MGMT in LA and SMG Models in Seattle to book these lovely ladies for a half day together. My MUA Barbara, that I flock to for a major projects in LA, helped me find El Matador Beach in Malibu for this location and set the visual tone for each girls look. She's such a professional I lean on her to help make the face pallet decisions. Sherah the Stylist Assistant (from New York holler!) was instrumental in keeping the clothes/look/brand feel together and the girls dressed in a timely manner. Production Strategy:
two planning days, one location scout day, four hours total for hair/make-up/travel/shoot time (I don't recommend this), half day of post production
Finally I got my shit together and put up this new site! As someone who has a full time, in house gig as a photographer PLUS freelances finding time to be a human AND do your own work on the side is practically a miracle. So let the waters part. Each week I'll try and post about work, projects and recap some behind the scenes (juicy stuff). Lordy have mercy!