Meeting Sarie Spencer

Sarie and Tammy came by yesterday. Sarie is a fashion designer, HMUA (Hair and MakeUp Artist), jeweler, and sometimes model. Tammy is a fellow photographer who introduced me to Sarie, and wanted to tag along to help and to get a few tips about boudoir photography, and model photography in general. We shot for nearly four hours, but took only a little over 250 frames. That’s not a lot for me for that amount of time. We spent a considerable amount of time talking about poses and lighting and images and the male gaze. It was almost a mini-workshop, and we had a lot of fun (well, I did, at least).

Besides just being forever in need of models for artistic projects and bridal boudoir stuff, I was tickled to get a chance to work with Sarie. I’ve been increasingly distressed of late about the lack of diversity of models in my portfolio. One thing I take great pride in is the variation in size and shape of the people there. I am forever ranting about society’s expectations of beauty, particularly of women, and the fucked-up body issues that get crammed down all of our throats. That really gets under my skin, and when I’m in a bragging mood I like to say, “I’m fixing the world, one beautiful woman at a time“. But it’s hard not to notice that the overwhelming majority of my models and clients are women who are white as the driven snow.

I’ve been actively trying to correct that deficiency. My friend Abbie came by a few days ago to pose for me. Abbie, besides being a long-time, wonderful friend with a heart of gold, is a strikingly gorgeous chicana, and you’ll find shots of her in several of my galleries. Also, she brings me coffee and/or wine, and sometimes even goes birding with me. Abbie is a dear friend in all sorts of different ways, and took the time to gently and lovingly correct me when I referred to her as “Mexicana”.

Whilst I was editing photos from our most recent shoot, I had some real trouble with her skin tones. It seemed like Lightroom would only produce two skin tones from those shots; Lily White and John Boehner Orange. Abbie is not Lily White, and John Boehner Orange is not flattering on anyone, including Mr. Boehner (someone should probably mention that to him, btw). I’m still not entirely overjoyed with the skin tones from that shoot, but I’m pretty sure they resulted from speedlights that were too hot. Mia culpa. Abbie certainly rocked the shoot, though, as you can tell.

Sarie was lovely. She’s a wonderful person with whom to converse, and with little direction seemed to pick up quickly and gracefully on what we were trying to accomplish with each series of shots (on which I’m still working). If you get a chance to work with her, make it happen.

We worked with just one speedlight yesterday, and used some window light here and there for fill and whatnot. I can’t express to her enough my gratitude for allowing me the opportunity to work out my issues with deeper skin tones, for adding some much needed color to my portfolio, or for her patience with my well-known tendency toward verbosity. And I also owe an immense amount of thanks to Tammy for putting us in touch.

I have several women of color already on deck over the next few months, and if I can get great shots for them, it will be a direct result of yesterday’s work. Thank you both.

Now I need to start adding some men, too. You have *no idea* how hard I’ve found it to get men to get naked for my camera!



To repeat the disclaimer, this is a project about re-discovery. It’s about remembering who I am, what I’m about, what I love and what I do not. Fair warning, this project will be posted here rather than at my SFW site because there will be nudity from time to time. Some of it will be of me, some not, some artistic and pretty to look at, some just raw.

I don’t intend to think of something every day and then shoot it, though I may do that sometimes, too. But sometimes I will just shoot, and then find something about myself in the frames and post about that thing, whatever it is.

All my #365SelfDiscovery posts will be filed here.