You’re in for a real treat. Have I said that before?
Well, here at Reverie, we know how to serve up the inspiring goods.
Any 80′s babies here? I was born in ’78 and remember Rainbow Brite fondly. I never had the doll (but my friends did) . . . I had something better, I had a stuffed animal version of her horse, Starlight. I loved that horse and kept it for years. Even though mine was a dud as it’s mane was only the colors of red, yellow + orange while her tail was the full color of the rainbow.
Oh well. We all have our flaws.
I was thrilled to receive this submission by Seattle photographer Sarah Vasquez, of Hope & Memory Photography. In my opinion, a brilliant concept shoot that once again isn’t heavy burdened with props and what-nots.
Please join me as I chat with Sarah about her shoot below.
skye | What was the inspiration behind this shoot?
sarah | Brit Bentine of Locked Illusions Photography is a good friend of mine and we knew that we wanted to collaborate on a shoot during the upcoming trip that I was planning to her neck of the woods. She loved Rainbow Brite as a child and all the memories associated with it and wanted to do a themed shoot and thought my daughter would be perfect for it.
skye | Did you final result stay too far from your initial vision?
sarah | It was pretty close, but no shoot is ever 100% to what your brain sees. For me, it kind of evolved over time since I was not a Rainbow Brite fan as a child. I wanted more of a dreamy circus-y whimsical feel and I think these shots reflected that pretty well.
skye | How did you find the horse? Was there a certain color you were going for with the horse?
sarah | Well, it was actually a pony. J Everyone keeps commenting on how we found such a tiny horse, but we managed to find an actual pony and that ended up being PERFECT since looking at the shots now, a horse would have been way too big and would have just dwarfed our 5 year old model. It also would have been a lot harder to get the angles I wanted to and include all of the horse and scenery without backing waaaaay up since I shoot with primes. As far as color goes, we were originally envisioning white for a couple of reasons. A big one being because we wanted to go in and Photoshop him to be different colors. We ended up just taking what we could get and he was the absolute most perfect pony ever. Again, looking at it now, white would not have looked as good and Juliet (model) would not have popped like she did against a white pony.
skye’s response | I think you’re right – a white horse would have stole the show; I love this pony – keeps it from being “too cliche” rainbow brite. I love when concept shoots based on a fictional character or book have a variation so it’s not spot on.
BTW, I’m looking for a pony to use for a shoot myself — any soCal’ers who can help with this – drop me a line!
Moving on . . .
skye | Thinking back to when you first started as a photographer, how do you feel about how your style has evolved over the years? Are you were you hoped/thought you would be?
sarah | I am finally at a place where I am very confident in my work and my style and I don’t feel like I need others to tell me that it is good or that they like it for me to accept it as well (not that I don’t love and appreciate when they do though J). It took several years for me to hone it to the point that it is at now. And just within the last several months have I really become able to give someone a true description of my style and know that I will be able to replicate and deliver that same style on demand. My shooting style and editing style is constantly evolving but the feel of it is now at a point that it stays the same. I’d like to say that I am where I envisioned myself when I started out because I think I am, but I really have no way of knowing that because my vision as an artist is so fluid that it is really constantly evolving and changing in small ways that over time I could be in a completely different place than I originally thought I would be. I can say that I didn’t envision myself as a concept photographer starting out though, but I have found that this is my deepest, truest passion. I am not sure how well I am answering the question at this point. lol
skye | How do you replenish your creativity?
sarah | I wish I had a formula for this because there are many times that I really want to come up with something new and just can’t. Generally, I draw my inspiration from my own childhood, my theatrical background, my favorite TV shows and movies, indie music, and certain authors and cultures. And looking at that typed up I think I just listed all parts of culture, so basically I just reflect on the things I love and just be in the moment and wait for inspiration to come to me. When I’ve tried to force it, I just end up blocking myself further. If I am really depleted, I sit and quietly remember the last time I walked away from a shoot knowing I rocked it without even looking at the images – the last time I felt the most creative – and I just tap back into that feeling. It’s a handy magic trick I learned from the wonderful Miki’ala DeVivo of The Still Space.
skye | The clothes are an important part in pulling off the feel for this type of session. How did you choose the wardrobe? Love the headpiece!
sarah | We absolutely could not find what we wanted. Brit and I would spend hours on skype scouring Etsy trying to find something that would work and there just wasn’t anything. We both have this obsession with needing things to look authentic and unique when it comes to our work, so we were both extremelyparticular about the wardrobe and we just could not find anything that was matching our vision and this just was not an area we wanted to compromise on. We also kept running into the problem of no one making what we wanted in a 5 year old’s size, so Brit volunteered to make it. It started out that she was just going to make the top, which was going to be a corset (complete with light boning and a ton of grommets and lacing in the back). That in itself went through its own planning process of material selection, should we tea stain it or not (we decided yes because we wanted it to look like it came from someone’s attic as if it had been there in storage since the 1980’s), should there be straps, etc. The original plan was to pair that with a red tutu or pettiskirt, rainbow legwarmers (like BabyLegs, temporarily dye her hair, and probably have her barefoot.
There ended up being several things wrong with that plan: legwarmers were going to be way too hot in the middle of the South Texas Summer heat; barefoot near a pony or horse risks getting feet trampled, not to mention stepping on stuff in the middle of our junkyard location; everyone uses tutus and pettiskirts (not that there is anything wrong with that, I love pettiskirts!) and we really wanted something that hadn’t been done yet. So, we ditched the legwarmers and went with the idea of a bustle and hotpants. We had originally planned to have her barefoot but since we decided that was a safety issue, we had to figure out what we were going to do for shoes. A few ideas were thrown around, but nothing seemed to work. I even thought about cowgirl boots at one point, but then decided that would change the feel of the shoot too much (funny how one little element can make that big of an impact!) and really wanted a big pop of color there anyway.
I remembered a few years ago how Juliet (model/daughter) had been obsessive with some sparkly mary janes at Target. We had them in pretty much every color at one point and so I rushed over to see if they had them in red and in her size, and, much to my shock, amazement, and delight, they did. They were inexpensive and made the perfect thing to top off the outfit. The best part is that I know they aren’t a one time use thing as well and that always makes me very happy. During one of our many skype sessions and hours searching Etsy, I discovered Bubbles and Frown Habberdashery Shoppe and their gorgeous Rainbow feather Mohawk headpiece that we used in the shoot. I asked Brit to email them and ask them if we could use it in exchange for the images and we were so happy that they said yes!
Who knew the ’80′s could be so inspiring? Thanks Sarah for being so open with us + sharing!
Feedback | Do you find difficulty in putting together a concept shoot? If that’s your cup of tea, of course. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
Until next time!
- Skye, xoxo
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| Credits |
Sarah Vasquez of Hope & Memory Photo
Images © 2011 Sarah Vasquez