"Meeting local Portland artists changed everything."

In January of 2020 I was granted the opportunity to visit Portland, Oregon for the very first time with my best friend. While we were there we both wanted to connect with people and create some art in our own styles. She was able to do an amazing couples session at the beach, and I was able to create this stunning now published shoot with some amazing locals. Meeting local Portland artists changed everything.

I met Karen Pan, Jessi Walters, and Ashleigh Elizabeth first - three amazing models that were part of a massive influx of beautiful women that had reached out to me when I first posted that I was looking to work with local talent in Portland. When I first started looking, I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to find anyone that would want to work with someone from out of town. It was so inspiring to have so many women not only get my vision of looking to properly represent our gender (as well as those who don't identify with any gender) but would want to collaborate on this project with me. Karen, Jessi, and Ashleigh screamed out to me the most because immediately I could see them all in these photos that I took, and working with them was so amazing that I knew in my gut I had made the right decision.

Jessi was the one who connected me with Alix Child for styling and Jovana Combs for hair and makeup. Usually I find it harder to connect with other creatives because I am so used to doing everything myself and shooting with a model alone. These last two years I have completely found the beauty in collaborating with multiple creatives who can make us all shine together. Alix owns a company called The Luggage Cart in which she pulls vintage clothes and resells them. Everything our models wore that day was from her shop, and she has such an incredible eye for fashion and styling pieces together and I have no idea what my vision would have ended up looking like if I had not been able to work with her on this shoot.

This shoot is a continuation of an ongoing series about the representation of real women in the year 2020 inspired by paintings from the masters of the Baroque and Rococo eras. To me, it has been far too long where certain people have not been allowed to be part of the conversation surrounding what is beautiful, and I want to show that all people are beautiful and have the ability to be works of art.

Finally, I would love to give a shout out to Opium Red Magazine for publishing some of my favorite photos that I have ever shot in their April 2020 issue, Isabel Reyna for being there to support me this day and assist when I needed her, and to Cobalt Studios PDX for welcoming me with open arms, showing me around their ginormous space, and for letting me go wild with my ideas with massive support and kindness.