2015-01 A new chapter, but also a time to reflect

This year I plan to write a blog to chronicle my journey. 

My goals are many, but basically I'd like to share some of what I'm doing, and explain why and how I do what I do. So I'd like to start here... For a new year, a new beginning, this is completely appropriate.

Last year I met with Tarah, the model who appears above. Tarah and I met through the magic of the internet. Our paths may have never crossed otherwise. We sat down to talk and spent an hour or so getting to know each other. Luckily, we were both on the same page. We had no specific project at this point, but knew that we were a good fit for creating one.

I was at a pivotal point in my life where I was getting ready to leave the career I was in and follow my heart back to what I had originally pursued - a life in photography and art.

I'm the type of person who is always looking and has a million ideas waiting for the right opportunity to have them take shape.

I had found the keys that appear in the left image at a local craft store. I loved the scale and size, the look and feel, the different colours. I didn't know what I was going to do with them, but I knew there was something there...

I had found the location months earlier when scouting for sites and inspiration. I liked the weathered doors, the fact that it was actually a public space, not a trespass situation, and the beauty in decay and took some photos to keep it in mind for later use.

So I was sitting at my son's basketball practice one Saturday morning and brainstorming some ideas when the whole project found its way... I started by thinking about the doors, and the keys. How one unlocks, goes forward, passes from one area to another. This was exactly what I was doing in my life. I was leaving one career path to go into another. 

I pre-visualized the final image in great detail, down to the colour of the image. I wanted the colours to be cool. Dream-like.

What the diptych is trying to explain is that time in my life. 

The left image with the keys represents my options in life. I could stay in my current career. I could find another job that was safe. Or, like the glowing key, I could follow what was in my heart and go pursue my passion of image-making.

I drew all of this in my sketchbook, emailed it to Tarah and asked if she'd help me.

She loved the concept and agreed to be the model for me, bringing it to life. A few emails later, we finalized wardrobe and makeup to make sure it best reflected the intent.

The morning we shot, it was 32°F. Not even chilly, it was downright cold to be in a dress, barefoot. Since we already had a plan, it would be a quick series of images to capture. Tarah and I were prepared and had green tea and hot chocolate waiting in my truck for after the shoot. 

At the site, I couldn't help but grab a behind the scenes image of Tarah because she was such a trooper putting up with my idea to shoot on a freezing morning and create this idea.

I took my coat and gloves off as well so that I could feel the same cold my model was experiencing. We quickly shot variations on the two required images and were done in about 15 minutes. We got our coats (or in her case - boots, bathrobe, coat, my gloves) back on and got back into the warmth of my truck and had tea and hot chocolate to warm up.

Very little post processing was required to complete the image. Mostly colour alterations, a bit of vignetting and, of course, making the keys glow. 

I appreciate that Tarah helped me create this. This was our first shoot of many, and I am lucky to now call her a friend.


This has become one the most  important image I've ever made... as it's my story.