In the little over two years I've lived in Astoria I've picked up my camera now and again to capture the amazing landscape that surrounds me, as well as the wildlife I'm lucky to witness, including herons, eagles, elk, deer and on one lucky day a humpback whale. But up until yesterday, I hadn't done any portrait photography since moving here. For someone that spent a good portion of the last 10 years shooting portraits, that was what I would consider a substantial break. For some reason, I just couldn't find any passion for it and nothing was drawing me back. I figured like any romance, there are ups and downs, and with appreciation, I chose to find beauty in the ride and peace in the evolution.
Last year I met Jessamyn at my first belly dance class, she's the belly dance instructor as well as the energy, passion, and force behind the Astoria Arts and Movement Center. She was kind and welcoming from the second I met her and I was immediately drawn to her energy. Jessamyn is passionate and confident combined with a calm and thoughtful demeanor. Over the last year or so we have become friends and she continues to inspire me with her passion for dance, thoughtful honesty, and reverence for nature in all it's forms. She's also an incredible conversationalist, a trait that I honor and appreciate, most especially because of my own inability to function well in small talk situations. Jessamyn never forces me into small talk and has a way of cutting right past it so I feel free to genuinely be myself around her.
I felt it was important to give you a bit of background about Jessamyn so you would understand why she was the perfect muse that helped me to reconnect with my love for portrait photography. Yesterday she generously agreed to spend an hour with me at Fort Stevens State Park. It was a cold but beautiful day on the Oregon coast full of sunshine and clear blue skies.
Often times, for obvious reasons, Jessamyn is photographed during her belly dance routines or adorned in her veil and coin belt. Those are awesome expressions of her passion for dance and performance. In our session, I wanted to capture the mix of ethereal beauty and fierce strength I see in her. In just a few minutes into our shoot, I remembered how much I love photographing people. There is something incredibly special about being able to quietly capture the essence of a person with honesty and creativity. My experience showed up for me, and with muscle memory, my brain knew how to quickly adjust my shutter speed and aperture as the gorgeous golden light kept me on my toes.
I hope you enjoy them! Cheers to 2017 and riding your own waves of creativity in the New Year.
Double click on any image to view a larger version. All images Copyright Denise Faddis. No usage without consent.