THE MAKING OF CHOICE OUT LOUD

I was driving down a desolate Montana road watching snow blow sideways across the pavement.   Still painfully thinking about the job for Saint Lucia Tourism my producer and I had been bidding for two weeks but never got.  We were so sure we had it we ordered a life supply of sunscreen.  I had envisioned leaving snowy and cold Montana to photograph the tropical world.  Part of the job description was photographing beautiful women bathing underneath waterfalls, hiking lush mountains, swimming in turquoise waters, not a bad option from the snowdrift accumulated on the side of the road.  As I drove by what appeared to be a frozen cow Jeff Martin calls.  “I have a cool job if you are interested”. “Cool” and “if you are interested” don’t go together, usually means there is a catch.  The catch was that it happened to be a Pro Bono job but it sure was cool. This was the job description.
 
January 22, 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision protecting every woman’s right to abortion. Forty (40) prominent advertising, fashion, editorial and fine art photographers from around the country will all shoot a single female subject. To create this project, each photographer will shoot multiple consecutive frames (60-80) of their subject, which will then be edited together to create an empowering, stop-motion video. Forty faces back to back, beautifully executed moving portraits and creative visions woven together to create an empowering message of choice.”
 

Not only I thought it was an amazing creative endeavor but I also feel very strongly about pro choice. What women do or not do with their bodies should be their choice, especially when talking about a pregnancy.  I was for sure in.  The only guideline was that the background had to be black or gray and as I watched a snowy white landscape I realized shooting outside was not going to be an option.  Had to be done in a Studio.  Studio?  I am a location photographer, my studio is for computers, printers and file cabinets not for shooting.  I remembered years back, at the beginning of my career, when I shot entire catalogs in my living room with a stylist and an assistant.  It was time to go back in time and move those couches around since renting a photo studio in MT was not going to happen.  I didn’t want to photograph one woman and call it good.  I wanted to give Jeff a few options and photograph a few different women so I spent the following month “livingroomless”.

Women live with the reality and consequences of a pregnancy.  They are vulnerable to what happens to their body.  In those 60 frames I wanted to capture a sense of vulnerability, the moment of realization, and the moment of choice.  The frame was to start with the woman with her head down (vulnerability) raising her head and opening her eyes (realization) and then flaring to white in a flash(Choice).  Thinking I was in Sweden I also did what we called a “rated R” version that showed skin and nudity.  As expected the “rated R” version didn’t make the director’s cut.  Clearly we are not in Sweden and I am not sure what I was thinking.  In the rated R version, I wanted to emphasize even further a sense of vulnerability.   The message was simple and that’s how I wanted the lighting.  Simple, classic and clean (see lighting diagram).

ChoiceOutLoudLightingdiagram

I used hot lights because to create the flair to white I placed the back light on a remote dimmer.  Unfortunately because of time constrains and space limitations, on the final stop motion project, my images could be not be edited fully as I had envisioned them.  Still turned out to be an awesome project and I am thankful and honored for having been chosen to be one of the 40 photographers.   I thank you Jeff and thank you to all the women who helped me making it happen.  Ashely (Model/Assistant), Kezia (Model), Laura (Model), Jennifer (Model), Crysten (Model), Aspen (Model), Yvonne Reddy (Make up and Hair for Jessica, Laura and Kezia), Deirdre P Quinn with Indulgence (Make up and hair for Ashley) and all the the other women who offered to be part of the project or helped.

Ashleyall

We sure had fun! Ashely having a fit.

Down below are the final images.  If you enjoyed this BLOG and want to stay updated on what I do please LIKE ME on facebook by clicking here.  If youwant to see the full video this is the link

Ashely
Ashely2
keziakezia2
_E2A0262sharpenedJennifer laura1laura2Krysten1Krysten2

 

 


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