Contemporary Portraits: Emily

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There is so much I want to write about this session. About the subtle connection between Emily and John. About his relaxed style and speckled shirt, and her hip haircut and busy life. But I’ll just share with you how Emily’s struggle with something as simple, and as complex, as being in a frame illustrates beautifully why I do what I do.

I approached Emily at the restaurant where she works in town, one of my family’s favorite spots to grab a bite. She was behind the bar, rushing to get orders in, big-framed glasses masquerading her lively eyes, huge hoops dangling from her ears. I could see a bright, energetic woman and I wanted to get her in front of my lens right there, right then. Shining through the heaviness of her odd-hours job on her shoulders; with the strength of her young years, a strength she doesn’t even know she has. I waited for a moment where she grabbed a sip of water and I extended my card to her. I gave her my speech, smiled, and walked away. I can tell she was surprised, most women are when I tell them I want to photograph them, like if they can’t believe that they are worthy to exist in photos.

When we met for our consultation, I run several scenarios for her: come over with friends, her partner, create a situation that felt safe, non-awkward, which I sensed was necessary for a mind like Emily’s to go forward. But she was excited, and brave, and we scheduled the session with the option of her man joining her at the end. I wasn’t that surprised when she called to cancel a couple of days before we were to meet at the studio. She told me her mind was not in the right place to feel beautiful and enjoy the experience. So I stepped aside, and graciously gave her the space to feel what she was feeling. I let her know I was on board if and when she was. I wanted to show her so desperately what I saw, which she couldn’t see, but I had to give her the time she needed to get there herself. The morning of, she texted: “let’s do this”. Or something to that effect.

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Sometimes our minds take over the reality of our precious lives. We are bombarded every day with messages that put us down, tell us we are not worthy, make it sound ridiculous that we would have images of ourselves, images that look back at us and remind us of our beauty, our value, our worth. I am in awe of every woman who steps past the enemy lines and agrees to be herself, to be photographed as she is, to make friends with that moment of doubt.

Emily is one of those women.

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So You Know You Can Dance

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Calling all dancers!

If you dance, whether you have experience, formal training, or neither, we want to hear from you. Lightfolly Portraits is looking for a dancer to lead our "So you know you can dance" campaign, launching this July. All ages and styles will be considered.

To participate, please go here and fill in the form with your information. Include a link to an up-to-30-second video of yourself doing what you know how to do. Because you know you can dance, right? Everybody can. Alternatively; send us an email to contact@lightfolly.com with your name, email address, phone number (use your guardian's info if you are a minor) and a brief note describing your relationship with dance: why you dance, what training you have, and why you'd like to be our campaign dancer. Include a link to your video.

The selected participant will get a complimentary photography session with us, digital images from his/her session, and a discount on future purchases. All participants will receive a discount to be used towards a future session. Applications will be accepted through June 17th.

Contact us with any questions, and share this post with any dancers who you think would like to participate. I can't wait to see you move that body of yours!

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Be a Boss Lady

April is the month I turned 39. Holding fervently to my 30s, and looking back at all that has happened in my life and my business, I couldn't help it but look forward at my plans for the coming year. April is also the month I gave myself to think about small businesses, including my own, and how I couldn't have done made Lightfolly what it is today without the support of all the strong women in mine and my company's life.

One of the greatest pleasures I've had in the last four years is to have had many of those women in my studio. When compiling my Personal Branding portfolio recently, as I prepared the campaign for my upcoming Head Shots Marathon (on April 24th; have you booked your spot yet?!) I realized that many of these women are business owners, and/or represent a brand/organization, and I was privileged to create their head shots, whether they booked a Personal Branding session with me or not. That's the magic of what we do at Lightfolly: book us and you'll walk away with a variety of images, that you can keep as personal keepsakes and professional images.

I want to share these boss ladies with you today. They are the joy of my business.

Trey Sherwood, Executive Director @ Laramie Mainstreet

Trey Sherwood, Executive Director @ Laramie Mainstreet

Jessica Brauer, Communications Coordinator @ Laramie Mainstreet

Jessica Brauer, Communications Coordinator @ Laramie Mainstreet

Vanessa Stines, Baker @ Sweets Cakes and Pastry

Vanessa Stines, Baker @ Sweets Cakes and Pastry

Lori Kirk, Owner @ Cowgirl Yarn

Lori Kirk, Owner @ Cowgirl Yarn

Megan Jhonson, Owner and photographer @ Megan Lee Photo

Megan Jhonson, Owner and photographer @ Megan Lee Photo

Audrey Jansen, Market Researcher @ SBDC

Audrey Jansen, Market Researcher @ SBDC

Melodie Edwards, Reporter @ Wyoming Public Media

Melodie Edwards, Reporter @ Wyoming Public Media

Rebecca Cassity, Owner @ Serendipity Confections

Rebecca Cassity, Owner @ Serendipity Confections

Diana Elterman, Owner and Yoga Instructor @ Ahimsa (previously Hot Power Yoga)

Diana Elterman, Owner and Yoga Instructor @ Ahimsa (previously Hot Power Yoga)

Katie Hogarty, Program Director @ Climb Wyoming

Katie Hogarty, Program Director @ Climb Wyoming

Rachelle Barkhurst, Owner @ Rachelle Rose Design

Rachelle Barkhurst, Owner @ Rachelle Rose Design

Emily Brown, Co-owner @ Dirtbags

Emily Brown, Co-owner @ Dirtbags

Kodi Davis, Head Baker and Owner @ Sweets Cakes & Pastry

Kodi Davis, Head Baker and Owner @ Sweets Cakes & Pastry

Carly Ann Carruthers, Historic Preservation Specialist @ Laramie Mainstreet

Carly Ann Carruthers, Historic Preservation Specialist @ Laramie Mainstreet

Shelby Page, Baker @ Sweets Cakes & Pastry

Shelby Page, Baker @ Sweets Cakes & Pastry

Robin McIntyre, Hair Stylist @ Luna Salon & Spa (and Lightfolly)

Robin McIntyre, Hair Stylist @ Luna Salon & Spa (and Lightfolly)

Devon O'Connell, Attorney at Law @ Pence & MacMillan

Devon O'Connell, Attorney at Law @ Pence & MacMillan

Ahead we Look

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Welcome, 2018. Such a brand new notebook, comprised entirely of blank pages for us to fill.

Lightfolly has so much in store for this year. First and foremost, we have a new studio space! Starting February 1st we'll be shooting at our renovated space inside the historical Laramie Plains Civic Center. A space of over 500 square feet has been renovated just for us, and as we work on the finishing touches we can't wait to share it with all of you! Prepare yourself for an open house sometime in February/March.

We are going to photograph dancers all. year. long. Because, you know, it's beauty, fun, grace, power, and art all in one! So if you are a dancer or know of a dancer who would want her portrait taken, send them our way!

We will have a specials this year, and our quarterly headshots marathons are on. We will be once more participating of the Pop-up Art Gallery in September, and of Small Business Saturday in November, both in downtown Laramie. You can sign up for our newsletter on our website (Samira writes them, one page long, and send them once a month), if you want to stay tuned about promotions and model calls.

We are also going to continue offering our cards and prints line (check out the shop section of our website), bringing fresh designs twice a year. They are perfect to send yourself or gift to a powerful woman in your life.

So, I don't know you, but we are thrilled and excited for what's coming in the next 12 months. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, and help us continue to create beautiful images! Like the ones below, which are my three favorite images of 2017. And happy blank page writing!

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Featuring: Brian Harrington from Legrand Wolf

Name: Brian Harrington

Company Name: Legrand Wolf

Style: Fine Art

Website: www.legrandwolf.com

 

Yes, you read it right. I am talking about the same Brian Harrington, photographer and owner of BHP Imaging. During the last six years his company has established itself as an approachable, professional wedding studio, capturing the spirit of many organic, western weddings. But Brian, the adventurous creature that he is, has recently started exploring another side of his creative self. Enter Legrand Wolf, a combination of his middle name and his wife’s last name, as the perfect name for his new fine art photography company.

Against the Grain

Against the Grain

After he started BHP Imaging, as he was figuring out his way into the wedding business, the Wyoming Technology Business Center (AKA The UW Business Incubator) offered him a spot as one of the entrepreneurs they coach and guide through becoming successful Laramie artists. Brian didn’t know if his vision of success would match theirs, but he did know that The Incubator could help his company move forward. They wanted him to produce fine art photographs, and as part of the deal they would help him learn all of those “side skills” that you need when you are running a successful business on your own: bookkeeping, taxes, marketing... Brian’s end of the deal was to develop a fine art business, and with that objective in mind he has been exploring and refining his fine art photography vision as his wedding company grows.

Laramie #1

Laramie #1

In the beginning it was an arduous journey. Brian was trying to photograph abstract art that would fit his BHP brand and fall within the boundaries of his established vision. But it wasn’t until he started to add his work to a fine-art-selling website, which prompted to think of categories and labels for the work, that he realized that Legrand Wolf wad to become a thing of its own. BHP Imaging is about people and moments. His fine art brand, on the other hand, is about inanimate objects, lines, colors, and textures. He gave himself permission to step outside the box, and then the magic happened.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Legrand Wolf features older images that Brian shot during some of his trips and as a part of his everyday life, some of which nobody has seen, and also newer, more colorful work that is defining the direction he is going in. Inspired by classic abstract expressionists like Mark Rothko and Richard Diebenkorn, he wants to follow his intuition and create images that he would like to have hanging on the walls of his own house. For now his fine art work is available on his website, which features five galleries: China, Western Landscape (my favorite!), Abstract, Water, and Snow. Curating and uploading the images helped him clear the mental road block that didn’t allow him to see himself as a fine art photographer, and encouraged him to shoot from that place. He envisions his work being slowly discovered by people in other parts of the country, reaching the walls of art lovers who share it with their friends and, as a long term goal, art collectors who will help bring in big sales. In the short term he is looking into printing the images in a large format that will allow the viewer to interact with the work from within, and he is considering finding a gallery space where to show it and sell it locally.

Falling

Falling

To appease all those freshly engaged couples out there who had their eye on BHP to shoot their wedding, let me assure you that Brian is not planning on abandoning the wedding business any time soon. He is a people’s person and enjoys connecting with clients and making them feel heard. Colorful doors and water ripples don’t do that. He gets a different kind of enjoyment in walking around scouting for buildings and lines to photograph, especially now that the shine and newness of people “allowing [him] to photograph their wedding” has worn out. I asked him what he would choose between photographing fine art or weddings, if money wasn’t an issue. He said: “Probably fine art. That way I’d get some more days off and I could have a life again”. And he smiled. He shot 15 weddings in 2016, and did a huge load of commercial work, which means he took just six days off in the entire year. I know what you are thinking: why start another company if he is already so busy with BHP? Because that’s who Brian is. He couldn’t have a desk job and work for somebody else, under somebody else’s rules. He has never done it and he is not interested in it. He has started a second business every year for the last five years, with various degrees of success, and he has learned something from every one of them. This year he is actually going for a new business that won’t require a lot of extra time and attention, since he can shoot while out fishing or exploring the world during his much needed time off, but that will encourage him to confront his own idea of the kind of images he can produce.

Brian and The UW Business Incubator have occasionally differed on what success means as an artist, but they both share a common appreciation for our city, our great community, and the entrepreneurial spirit of Laramie. As he grows as an artist and explores this new path, he knows there is something out there, in the mountains around Laramie, that once he photographs it will feel like his best work. He doesn’t know what it is yet, but he can feel it is there. And he is set out to find it, like he has found a treasure within every one of his yearly adventures.

Spring

Spring

Rise

Rise

Sea

Sea

Sessions: The Women of Laramie

I want to introduce you to the women of Laramie. You may have seen them already, walking around the grocery store, exchanging conversation while they picks up their children from the same school as you, cheering by the sidelines of the Homecoming Parade.

I have featured some of them on my blog before. I have shared their images on pop-up art galleries in our beautiful downtown. I have pinned flyers with their smiling faces promoting a Small Business Saturday event. Today I want to have them all in one place, looking at you from your screen. These are the women that keep this world moving, the women that bake bread, that are bosses at meetings, the ones restoring your town, supporting your artists, making art themselves. These women own stores, run businesses, raise children. These women.

Shake their hands the next time you see them around. Women fighting it every day in the Equality State; they are the reason Wyoming has that title.

AUDREY

AUDREY

ELISE

ELISE

MELISSA

MELISSA

RYAN

RYAN

ALISON

ALISON

LINDA

LINDA

CARLY

CARLY

REBECCA

REBECCA

RACHELLE

RACHELLE

ANDI

ANDI

JESSICA

JESSICA

ASHLEY

ASHLEY

FRANCHESCA

FRANCHESCA

AMY

AMY

KATIE

KATIE

EMILY

EMILY

DEVON

DEVON

REBECCA

REBECCA

ROBIN

ROBIN

BIRGIT

BIRGIT

LORI

LORI

NADIA

NADIA

TREY

TREY

Featuring: Nadia Kaliszewski from Big Hollow Designs

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Name: Nadia Kaliszewski

Company name: Big Hollow Designs

What they make: Clothing, jewelry, and accessories using recycled and upcycled materials.

Website: https://www.bighollowdesigns.com

Nadia is one of the creative forces behind Big Hollow Designs, a company selling recycled and repurposed jewelry, clothing, and accessories. Together with her fiancé, Josh, Nadia spends countless hours in her studio, designing creating, and wishing the day was longer so she could bring all the design ideas in her mind to reality. She has been an artist all her life, but only saw her creativity as a money-making endeavor when one night in Encampment, Wyoming, with the music of WhatFest playing in the background, one of her friends noticed that everybody around the bonfire was wearing a funky vest. WhatVest, a collection of party vests inspired by the music festival scene, was born that night and with it, so was Big Hollow Designs.

Some examples of the WhatVest Collection - The Parrot (top, center) is a retro-western style vest inspired by the creations of Manuel Cuevas the famous designer who made outfits for the likes of Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton.

Some examples of the WhatVest Collection - The Parrot (top, center) is a retro-western style vest inspired by the creations of Manuel Cuevas the famous designer who made outfits for the likes of Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton.

The Burton Double Windsor Hat

The Burton Double Windsor Hat

The first two years in business Nadia kept her full-time job in energy research at the University of Wyoming, but she would race to her studio as soon as she was home to sew and make jewelry until midnight. She took every class available, like apparel construction and graphic design, which could help her get the skills needed to run her own business. The WhatVest line expanded to hats, skirts, one-piece jumpsuits, tracksuits, cloaks, and other fun costumes. Big Hollow Design sells their products at music and mountain festivals around the region. Josh now travels with Nadia to help sell their collections, as well as his own lines of hats, the Burton Double Windsor Hat, which he creates using vintage ties. It was a win-win plan– they get to be in the scene they love, doing what they love, together. Nadia quit her job last august, and Josh has a seasonal job, which allows them to make products on the slow winter months and travel during the summer.

Jewelry - From the edgy to the rustic, Big Hollow's repurposed earrings are perfect for the true Wyoming mountain girl.

Jewelry - From the edgy to the rustic, Big Hollow's repurposed earrings are perfect for the true Wyoming mountain girl.

The success and response they have received has kept the company growing: they went from doing 5-7 shows in 2015 to a planned 25+ show schedule for the summer of 2017, both in the region and beyond, in places like California and Oregon. Nadia and Josh enjoy selling to people directly; she thrives in the person-to-person interaction with her customers. But the company also has a website where you can find product pages with photographs and descriptions for her one-of-a-kind inventory.

Nadia chose the name “Big Hollow” as a way to pay tribute to the unique area where she lives and works. The Big Hollow, located just west of the city of Laramie, is the largest wind eroded deflation basin in North America and the second largest in the world. Laramie has been Nadia’s home for the last seven years (before moving here for grad school she spent seven years skiing the Tetons), and its university and unique character influences the company’s design aesthetic.

Vintage polyester skirts - A limited edition line of skirts using some of Nadia's vintage patterned polyester fabric that she has collected over the years. She has added funky applique designs to give them a retro feel.

Vintage polyester skirts - A limited edition line of skirts using some of Nadia's vintage patterned polyester fabric that she has collected over the years. She has added funky applique designs to give them a retro feel.

Big Hollow has recently launched a number of outdoor inspired creations, which Nadia ventures into with a certain comfort, perhaps influenced by her days as a professional skier. She says about the future of Big Hollow: “I wish to do all of this while staying true to my values of using repurposed and recycled materials and making quality one-of-a-kind pieces”.