Humans are amphibians - half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time.
C. S. Lewis
When I meet a person sometimes I see a character living inside of them. Not their ego, Not their fears. Not their beauty or charm, but something else. Some kind of archetype. Sometimes it's powerful and massive and sometimes it shy and shrinking. Sometimes it's even a little eerie and unnerving. But not this time.
This time I saw an empathetic creature. Someone soft and gentle. The embodiment of kindness. Mae Zing, burlesque performer and friend had modeled for me before as the Queen of the forgotten roses and while she completely embodied that character, I also saw this sweet thing waiting patiently to be noticed. That's the most wonderful thing about the characters I see in people, they are infinite and some reflection of myself.
I didn't have much of a theme or story in mind when we set off to shoot, I only knew that I wanted to take advantage of my beautiful neighborhood in the north end of Tacoma, Washington in the late summer evening. She styled herself with her own collection and showed up at my house. We took a casual walk around the neighborhood and found ourselves down by the structures of the water front. The entire experience was so light and calm, Two ladies taking a summer stroll. We had no expectations and no time limit. The feelings of lightness, kindness and sweetness were reflected in the way we were handling the shoot and the type of energy needed for this character to come to life.
The idea for the final image came to me while in post-production. The way Mae was sitting on the edge of the rocks with that sweet expression made it look as though she was communicating with something in the water. So I created some friends for her. Once I did, the reasoning came swirling into focus. When I was a kid I didn't have many friends. I was shy and we moved around a lot so I made closer relationships to animals than to humans. I always felt like they understood without judgement. I never needed to explain myself or compete with my little animal friends. They accepted me and I accepted them. No questions, no hidden motivations, no excuses.
Model/hair/makeup/wardrobe: Mae Zing
Shot on a cannon 7D with an 50mm lens. Natural light.