Previous Photographic Work

: Alyssa :

UPDATE: This post was made as Shinn Shots Photography and does not represent the style or goals of Blue Space Photography.  Because I believe in knowing where you’ve come from, I’ve left this here as a reminder of the journey that led me to where I am today.  I now only shoot storytelling sessions, so be sure to check out my current work in more recent posts!   – Lauren


Having not come from an artistic family, the concept of a ‘muse’ was always a bit foreign to me.  As someone who understands things in terms of relationships, what exactly is the relationship between an artist and her muse?  The whole concept always seemed a bit nebulous…and weird to me.

I recently read an article by CNN about Molly Bair, a self-proclaimed gawky teenager who had been ‘discovered’ and is now a famous model.  While much of the discussion about Bair’s success has centered around her unusual beauty, it occurred to me that, regardless of her beauty or how we as a society define attractiveness, she was a muse to the agent who discovered her.  Her features are quite striking.  Turns out, the agent wasn’t alone in being drawn to Bair as a muse, as many other prominent designers have asked Bair to model for them.

As I thought more about what it meant to have a muse, I remembered this picture that I took while photographing the LMS girls getting ready for their 8th grade formal.

There was just something about her that was…captivating.  The eyes…the look.  I knew I wanted to photograph her again, but I hadn’t quite figured out the creative approach.

About 6 months ago, I began the process of becoming a Certified Professional Photographer (more on this later).  As part of that process, I needed images that met very specific criteria to demonstrate that I was capable of controlling the light while photographing.  This seemed like a perfect excuse to ask Alyssa if she would be willing to model for me, and she agreed.

I was nervous.  While I’ve been photographing for a long time, I tend to work in natural light and focus on getting genuine expressions.  Precise posing techniques and valuing the technical aspects of the photograph over the emotional ones are not my typical M.O.  Additionally, I was photographing a 14 year old, which is not my typical client.   As the photographer, I knew that it was my job to make Alyssa look beautiful and feel confident by posing her correctly.  (Grace and beauty were never my strong suit.  I’m not sure there’s any photographer that could have made me look less gangly and awkward at 14!)

I arrived at Alyssa’s house and was happy to find a perfect space in the basement to set up my studio.  After she finished getting ready and I finalized the set-up, I told Alyssa exactly how nervous I was and that we would just treat the whole process like one big experiment and trial-and-error our way through it.  Had I known anything about the girl I was talking to, I would never have been nervous.
I quickly learned that she was a dancer (body control and grace) and in drama (confidence, practice at holding poses, and repeating the same scene ad nauseum).  Alyssa made the shoot impossibly easy.  She was able to pose with me stumbling over directions like “ok, kinda sit like this…yeah, and tilt your head like…yeah…and your hand…yup, just like that.”
Alyssa is extraordinarily beautiful,
and quite captivating.
After I knew I had gotten all the ‘required’ shots, I asked her if she just wanted to have some fun being silly in the studio.  We ended the session with her dancing around to one of her favorite songs…(you could not have paid me enough to dance in front of a photographer at 14!)  While I LOVE the more formal shots we got out of the session, my heart is still happiest to see the personality that comes through images like these.

]As I drove home after our session, my mind buzzed with creative ideas that I could bring to life.  Alyssa fills in the gaps of my photographic weaknesses with her natural ability.  As a subject, she’s confident, graceful, enthralling, and completely willing to take risks or try something new.  My artistic vision was inspired.

And just like that, I understood what it meant to have a muse.

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