Coming off of a high from our spectacular April meetup- May was a bit calmer. With it being one of the busiest summer months (lots of graduates, families in town, summer vacations being planned), only Anna, Bear, and I were free to meet up. Rather than cancelling the event, we decided to do what few ever dare to do…a sunrise shoot. We simplified our plans and shed ourselves of a team for the day. With no model, no makeup artists, no stylists etc. it was entirely up to us.
Anna and I coordinated moody, dark outfits and a potential southwest flair and planned on rotating as models so that all three of us could shoot that morning.
I went with something simple: a black turtle necked layered underneath a black linen tiered dress. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the square-toed black leather cowboy boots with circular silver hardware detailing. Although they aren’t really featured in these photos, just know those boots make my soul sing. Anna on the other hand banged out a killer outfit: black lace bodysuit paired with some slightly-torn-up black sheer tights to edge it up. She also brought along a deep green, satiny-duster for an optional detail. She looked s p iiiii c yyyyy.
Feeling like the only three people in the world, we pulled into the dusty Papago parking lot at 5:30am.
I have to confess, with having to set my alarm for 4:30am, I decided to just pull an all-nighter and get some extra work done until the shoot. Maybe not my best decision.
Honestly…I was not prepared. I certainly could have used a bit more caffeine, especially when I was to be in front of the camera this time around. Unlike Anna and her incredible modeling abilities, being in front of the camera is something I usually try to avoid. (when I arrived at my next destination later that day I discovered I had been wearing my dress inside out the whole time…so that’s cute.)
Coffee in hand, we began a mini trek around Papago to see what caught our eye. It began with solo shots but quickly melded into duos. Maybe it was delirium, or maybe it’s the friend-love that I’m clearly in with these beautiful humans, but there were many giggles that morning that I may never forget.
As the sun rose, our lighting changed quite a bit, so we got to play with soft lighting, shadows, and harsh sun all in one setting. Papago makes for a gorgeous and diverse backdrop, but we stuck mainly to the mountain formations surrounding hole-in-the-rock. Bear even jumped in to pose for a few photos (he’s quite the natural).
In retrospect it was sort of a fun challenge for me to think about how I am phrasing direction to models. Not being used to this side of the camera, I forget how uncomfortable it can be to constantly have to look…comfortable. I was sitting atop rocks, leaning in odd angles, and having to keep a straight and comfortable face the entire time. Not only that…but what do I do with my hands??? That’s an age-old wonder between the model/photographer relationship, but it wasn’t right that I hadn’t truly felt that pain in the way models do.
Anna seemed to slide right back into her comfort zone when she wasn’t the one shooting..god she is good. And Bear captured some wonderfully awkward candids of Anna and I not being able to keep our cool. We haven’t posted them anywhere on social media but I figured it’d be a pity not to include them in this journal. Speaking of Bear bein sneaky, be brought a lil polaroid this morning and snapped a few hard copies for us. Somehow in the morning light I look even p a l e r than usual and you can hardly see me in those polaroids hahaha. Nevertheless they’re priceless memories.
We ended the shoot after we exercised all the creativity the morning would allow. I convinced them to mosey on over to Harlows café with me to celebrate our triumphed sunrise shoot before going about our busy days.
It was good to decompress in the old-hollywood styled diner. We got even more coffee while chatting about dream documentary work and photo projects, then I headed to my day job, Anna to school, and Bear to his studio.