2012 was a big year for Glee and Bliss. It held lots of changes for us – Danielle was shooting with us until the early fall when she moved to the mountains. Alex moved back to North Carolina in May and started shooting (and organizing our lives!) in June. But more than anything, I think that 2012 was the year that I figured out what Glee and Bliss really is – what makes us different as photographers and makes our images sing. It was my mentor, Barb Uil of Jinky Art, who challenged me (as she always does) to think about who I am as an artist, what my brand really is, and what it is we do (and don’t do). And this is the first year I felt like I’ve had answers. So here it is, the photographic answer to Barb’s very good question: what is that we do? Here’s what we did in 2012.
This is the second time I’ve photographed this spunky threesome and it’s always a joy. We went up to their hunting land north of the Triangle, where they romped in high grasses, played, wrestled and acted like wild Indians – which is EXACTLY the kind of session I like. I really don’t know what to do with kids that sit and stare at the camera. I love telling jokes (even if they are bad ones), playing, falling down, and generally being goofy. And I love engaging my little subjects in play. These three like to make ring-around-the-rosy a full contact sport and I love the moment of play this image captures.
When we are at our best, Alex and I are story tellers. This lovely shoot was a collaboration with mom. After two girls, she was thrilled to be having her first boy and we took the opportunity to create a newborn vignette for daddy’s little ball player. We used his real baseball cap and letter jacket, one of his signed balls, a vintage quilt and a crate to create a newborn portrait that’s more than just a sleepy shot, it tells a story of dad and his connection to the sport. Makes me so happy.
Speaking of happy, glee is really what this image is all about. Our former associate photographer, Danielle, let us borrow her baby Winston for one of our very first concept shoots. He loved taking baths and splashing in the water, so we took a simple white basin outside and filled it with bubbles and a rubber duck. The result was magic. We sat back and photographed him doing something that he really loved. Glee at it’s best.
I’ve struggled to describe what an “art concept shoot” really is. But I think I’ve decided that it’s really just a place and a moment to play. It turns out, as soon as we build a little candy shop or school in a field, take a kitchen or bedroom into a forest, or whip up potions and a cauldron – kids know just what to do. They play. This shoot was one of my favorites. In the best of the morning light, little Vivi played the perfect school girl. She munched on apples, wrote on tiny chalkboards, pulled her wagon. It was so sweet.
Our classic shoots were an area that found definition this year. Our lifestyle shoots really allow families and kids to play and be themselves. I just LOVE this family. They are so beautiful it defies reason and makes my job as a photographer easy. But just a few small props (Alex’s vintage suitcases) and context to interact (the abandoned railroad tracks), gave us a place to be and interact. I love this shot because Penny is protesting that no one is looking and laughing at her. And I love, love little Evie’s laugh – it’s a full snicker!
Since I first began photographing again, I’ve been interested in motion. In fact, when my baby Cage was still in his cradle swing, I used to play with stopping motion, blurring motion, etc. In this shoot, with a field exploding with wild flowers, my little subject didn’t need much encouragement to run and I loved it. My favorite, his tongue hanging out.
Alex took this shot of me tromping through a field on a chilly morning. We were setting up Vivi’s school shoot above, and we were playing with some different light and framing options before we placed the props. But of course, we couldn’t just do our job, we had to be silly, dance around and giggle a bit. When I look at this image, all I can think about is how much fun Alex and I have on our shoots. I feel so blessed to have this job. It’s the best.
2012 was the year that I finally decided to take the plunge back into weddings. For those of you that know me well, you know that I used to be a wedding planner. I had an opportunity, to work with some really amazing photographers as a function of that time. Dara Blakely, Tamara Lackey, James Walters, Deborah Triplett, Charo Donohue were among the many people I got to work with and whose work I really admire. I was nervous to join the ranks of such strong artistic company. But after my first few weddings, I’m hooked. So, wedding world, I’m back. And so we have run our very first ad – a fun, spunky page in Weddings Magazine, the gorgeous local publication that I used to edit. This is one of my favorite 2012 shots because this bride, who was so close to her sisters, is taking a moment to relax while her sisters and mom fasten her in and fix her train. Dressing is such a sweet intimate moment, and one of my favorites on this day.
More credit where credit is due. Barb Uil taught me to shoot into the sun and this is the year I learned not to blind myself doing it. :-). She taught me to love flair, to use it and paint with it. I love, love, love this image of my brother in Steiheiken. One of the most beautiful places on earth, with my strong, soulful brother. The result makes my heart sing.
This year was the year that I fell in love with the landscape portrait. Credit my 50mm 1.2 lens, but I love, love, love a beautiful child in a beautiful setting. This shot of my own two romping in a field in Washington State is one that I plan to frame for my new house.
We love color. Fields. Skies. Balloons. Water. We love rich, vivid, bold color. In this sweet shot, I love her little internal chuckle, her sweet skin, and all the beautiful color. I’ve shot a fair amount of black and white in 2012, but its the color that keeps me coming back for more.
Sometimes, it all comes together. The moment. The sunlight. The vista. And it makes me so, so happy when it does. This shot is one of my all time favorites -momma was adorably pregnant and this sweet girl loved kissing her belly. So sweet.
So what does 2013 hold? A brand new Canon 5dMarkiii!!!! My first trip to Imaging USA. Hopefully* a trip to see Barb in Aussie land. And maybe some creative collaboration with some former Jinkers in Texas and Florida (Are you ready Jennifer Dell, Lacy Hampton and Cassidy Thompson?). I’m so excited.
Love to you all for an amazing 2013! Corey