When I do an environmental portrait, engagement, wedding or family reunion shoot, I try to bring only equipment, the facts as I know them, good energy, and passion with me, rather than a preconceived notion of a set up or other things I might like to do. If I am totally unfamiliar with the person/s I am photographing, my first mission is to determine what she or he would like in a photograph, and how the person sees him or herself. In the case of last Sunday's engagement photo shoot of a Taos couple, I knew the bride-to-be and had photographed Ashley previously in a Taos Fiber Arts fashion shoot. This knowledge provided me with the assurance that the session would be creative, different, and fun, and yield photos unlike the typical New York Times engagement photographs. All of the above, in the end, were true.
Ashley and Gene knew what they wanted to do and came prepared. They had locations chosen, and props and costumes on hand. Ashley's mother, Julie, who is an incredible weaver, artist, and co-owner of Taos Fiber Arts with her daughter, helped stage the scenes. Luckily, it was much warmer than it is today. But we began shooting in the house, which not only offered warmth but a couple of different options as far as settings are concerned. The skull was a constant thread, but the couple also wanted to feature their relatively new Zia symbol ink on their wrists.
In the image below, Ashley looks like a 1940's movie star in a typical western, especially with the blanket/cape and mirror in the background.
Later in the morning, we moved outside. This photograph more closely approaches Taos Goth or Taos Gothic, with a Games of Thrones twist to it.
American Gothic by Grant Wood, with several nods to Taos?
High Taos gothic drama
My sincere thanks to Ashley and Gene for their creativity, efficiency, and approach to the entire shoot.
until next Monday,
a passion for the image