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Event Horizon

In general relativity, an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer. In layman's terms, it is defined as "the point of no return", i.e., the point at which the gravitational pull becomes so great as to make escape impossible.*

 

It's time, I think. It's here. 
I've felt this bubbling up of the need to write -- and I think it's because my life's paths, its events, the threads I've been hesitantly (or determinedly) following, are starting to bubble up into a full boil.  
I've also felt this emotional (and physical, actually) discomfort, subtle but continuously chafing, and it's starting to feel like it's all meeting in a crescendo of movement, possibility, launch. 

It's all reaching some kind of event horizon of its own. 

A new venture all about love. 
A new tattoo all about love. 
A new phase of my life all about love.
A loving transition into my creative path which has been whispering, motioning, beckoning, and which -- ultimately -- is really only about love (in its purest form: self). 

The coming two and a half weeks are rife with self-investment, self-exploration, and plugged-nose-dives into the deep end, and -- if my emotional and intuitive tremors are right -- the markers, touchstones, alley-oops and ignitions into my own soaring points of no return.

 

I'm nervous, and I'm ready. 

 

3..... 2...... 1..... 

 

*Thanks, Wikipedia.

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Taking a turn in FRONT of the lens... Gulp. /// My shoot with Sarah Lovrien

Being behind the lens most of the time, instead of in front of it, has gotten comfortable. 
I get a little squeamish being on the other side; nervous, unsure of myself, self-conscious. 
It's definitely easier being back here. 

But two things happened: 
1. I kept seeing all these stunning images from fellow-photographer and friend, Sarah Lovrien, and felt jealous. I thought, "I wish I had beautiful photos of myself like those... and (even more) I wish someone who sees women the way she does would 'see me' that way. That has to feel amazing."

(I also just really love her style --- she has a similar quiet/emotional/moody sentiment to me, I think, but it's a visual style that I'm only starting to flirt with in the past year: I usually shoot pretty light-drenched and ethereal-feeling images; she shoots dark, she shoots edge, she shoots contrasty. While I still favor less contrast and film-y looks to my images, I've been LOVING some of the darker tones and moods I've been shooting this year.)

2. I realized that that sentiment is exactly what my clients, who hire me for boudoir, portrait, or even engagement and wedding photos, must be thinking to themselves when they hire me. And how can I, in good conscience, not give myself the same gift of feeling beautiful that I am asking my clients to give themselves? 

So I hired Sarah to do a shoot. 

I'll admit to you --- I wasn't ready. 
When I reached out to her, I thought we'd schedule something for sometime in the coming handful of months. But she responded telling me that she'd be in town in about 10 days, and then leaving again about 4 days later. 
There was no time for hemming and hawing. If I wanted this, it was go time. 
Crap. 

I'll also admit to you that, as a 38-year-old, it gets harrrrrrrrrder and harder every year to want to be photographed. Oh god, THOSE lines... THAT squishy bit... 
And Sarah mostly shoots models. Great. 
But I know *I* love shooting women of every age and every shape, and I ask them to trust me, so what's my excuse?  
Double crap.

I'll also admit to you that I've been having FUN this summer, and have gotten a little "juicy" (my friend Elizabeth's endearing term for having a few extra pounds on ya ;) ). 
Triple crap. 

So I took a deep breath, picked a date to shoot with Sarah, and then put the cork in the wine bottle and cleansed for about 10 days. 
And I bought some amazing new makeup (have you ever tried the 3D Mascara, shadows, and concealers from Younique?? So good!). 
And I went for it. 

And it was SUCH a great experience --- both because I have some amazing, beautiful new photos that I feel proud of, and because I got to experience being the client for the first time in a long time. 
It was SO GOOD to remember what you ladies feel like when I'm shooting you, how vulnerable you feel when you take the chance and show me who you are --- especially when you feel like you have no business being in front of the camera, and especially when you peel off the layers of clothing and inhibitions --- and how I want to make sure you feel goooooooooood and beautiful every step of the way. 

 

Thanks, Sarah, for such beautiful images!
And, ladies, I'm ready to make YOU feel just as amazing! :)

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A Warehouse Studio + Jane + My Soul /// Seattle Glamour Photographer

I know they say the eyes are the window to the soul, 
but I think my soul is also nakedly visible through my camera lens, sometimes, as well.

The subject matter here is undeniably beautiful --- I mean, that goes without even the slightest inkling of thinking of saying it; duh --- but, without being too selfish about it, it's shoots like these where I feel like I see my soul looking back at me from the screen; like I've wrung out my own heart, sensibilities, thoughts, daydreams, and flights of fancy, and they've materialized for me in a person, a place, a beautiful set of pixels.

Jane is such a willing muse. She's fun, and up for anything, and impossible to take a bad photo of. I also think that I love her as my muse because (as I will never tire of hearing) we kind of look alike --- at least like I'm her shorter, older, not nearly in-great-a-shape sister. And as vain as this may sound, I think, in shooting her, I get to see "me" as I've always seen myself... at least in my best moments.

You've heard, haven't you, how artists always paint themselves? How every face a painter paints is actually their own? Sure, not exactly --- but compare them sometime. It's really kind of incredible. And, really, whose face do you see every day? Whose bones and skin and features do you know better? It seems almost impossible that you could paint anyone else.

And with Jane, at least a little bit, I think I get to paint the features of my soul; project my insides onto plasma; make my favorite things -- and my favorite parts of me -- manifest: 
It's moody, grungy, even messy, but beautiful; it's glam-but-gritty; it's light-drenched, haze-washed, sunshiny softness... It's the 60s It Girl, the peace-loving homebody, it's feminine fluidity with the promise of unmistakable power, the punk siren with hint of edge, the thinker and dreamer whose eyes are a thousand miles away... It's like a soundtrack of all of my favorite songs, ever.

So, Janie, these photos may be of you, but --- sorry --- my soul left its thumbprint alllllll over them.

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United 2014: Boho-Bus Romance /// Seattle Love Photographer

Round 2 of my United 2014 posts --- I can't believe how slowly this editing is happening, but that's, I suppose, what happens when you start a new job and there are no clients waiting for these photos. ;)

This was a fun afternoon. 
My United roomies and I (to be fair, mostly it was all Susanne) put together our own little semi-styled couples-slash-fashion-ish shoot, since so many of the 'official' shoots filled up so quickly. 
Two models (pretending to be a couple), a VW bus, and some DEEEELISH California sunshine...

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Deep breath, here goes.... POIESIS /// Seattle 'Butterfly' Photographer

POIESIS

This word, the root of our modern "poetry", was first a verb, an action that transforms and continues the world.

Martin Heidegger refers to it as a 'bringing-forth', using this term in its widest sense. He explained poiesis as the blooming of the blossom, the coming-out of a butterfly from a cocoon, the plummeting of a waterfall when the snow begins to melt. The last two analogies underline Heidegger's example of a threshold occasion: a moment of ecstasis when something moves away from its standing as one thing to become another.*

*All from here on Wikipedia

This is the same idea as Michelangelo believing that he was not the creator of his sculptures, rather that he chiseled until he 'brought forth,' 'brought out' that which lived in the stone; helped to emerge the true nature of what lied within. He created the space, the conditions, in which to allow these entities to come to life; come into their own being.

I first came across this word entirely accidentally. 
In a really... well, a banal, Tuesday-night kind of way. It's one of those 'bread crumbs' stories --- where you are nudged and inspired and encouraged down an altogether new path, which ends up meaning EVERYTHING, by the most seemingly-random, normal, and 'uninteresting' clues...

I was actually looking for a certain movie on my Roku. And it wasn't available. 
But a whole host of movie titles (and their thumbnails) came up from the search. And I decided to just poke through them to see what else was worth watching. 

I came across one called, "Being In the World." 

Well, if you know me at all, you know I'm a bit of a hippie; a believer in energy and cosmic awesomeness and our connection to everything in the Universe. So how could I not click on that title? Just to see what it was? 

This was the summary:
"BEING IN THE WORLD takes us on a journey around the world to meet philosophers influenced by the thought of Martin Heidegger, as well as experts in the fields of sports, music, craft, and cooking, in a celebration of human beings, and our ability to find meaning in life through the mastery of physical, intellectual, and creative skills."
Sign me UP. 

So I watched the trailer. I was intrigued, but I wasn't ready to spend money to rent the film yet. Apparently I wanted more convincing -- so I cued up more trailers on Youtube. 
I watched another snippet from the film, and it was fascinating --- and I did end up watching the entire film; it's fabulous --- but what caught my eye then, what lead me down this interesting and gorgeous rabbit hole like some spiritual Alice, was the tiny little thumbnail of another video, for the same film, in the bottom right of the Youtube page. 

It was the image of a Greek vase which I --- for an assignment in one of my first-ever Art History classes in college --- painstakingly, and as accurately as possible (okay, at least fairly closely), had painted as a replica. At least an homage. 
I had worked in one of those paint-your-own-ceramics places that year, and my "Greek vase redux" was one of my proudest achievements. It was legit. 
So seeing this piece --- which I probably haven't seen since my early college days (aside from on the bookshelf at my parents' home) --- made me do a double-take, and I clicked immediately. 

The part of this film in which that Greek vase is featured is the EXACT MOMENT that features the discussion of the idea of POIESIS. 

*The real one.

*The real one.

*The real version.

*My version.

And this concept, explained by the fantastically impish and still-scientifically-giddy Hubert Dreyfus, was like an arrow to my heart. It gave me chills.

THIS --- POIESIS --- is, as I have been slowly realizing, what I have been wanting to do, what I've been drawn to do, called to do, for women.
And
-- who am I kidding -- for myself. 
To bring out our best selves, our most powerful selves, our most beautiful selves, our most feminine-badass selves --- through Love; through exploration, support, and discovery; through conversation and photography.

I knew this would be a part of my creative adventure --- I just didn't know how, exactly. 

Until my friend, Sydney --- one of the most uniquely and deliciously 'here' people I  know, a healer and a fellow explorer --- said to me one night, "Hey --- I have an idea, and I want to see if you want to work together..."

 

>>>more to come<<<

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UNITED 2014: Chasing a Moment with Children /// Seattle Child Photographer

I hit the ground running after returning from the awesomeness that was United 2014 --- an ooey-gooey love-fest of photography workshops in Santa Barbara, California in February --- and haven't had a chance to post all of my delish photos from that week. 

shot The Dress, I started a new job, had a birthday, an anniversary, and am only now just starting to breeeeeaaaathe again. (Birthdays and anniversaries are fantastically fun, but they do NOT involve sitting alone at your computer editing photos. ;) )

So it's finally catch-up time. 

I had an amazing time at United. I met some of the most beautiful souls, spent time with my "little sister," met a new soul-sister, became newly inspired, was fortunate enough to help inspire someone incredible and totally adorable, cried, was dead-on-my-feet tired, laughed my face off and had heart-to-hearts and big talks with "old" friends, coined the term 'polished hippie,' had some pool time, witnessed incredible generosity and giving and encouragement, wore awesome blue heels, cried more, channeled "pyramid power," hugged my BRAINS out, and soaked up some California sunshine.

(There are so many people I wanted to link to in here, but a run-on sentence can only run on so long!!:  roomies and van-sistasridiculously-gorgeous mamas from Illiniosthought-provoker extraordinaire, and every one of the presenters who taught me something, inspired me, made me cry --- especially the ones who made me cry. ;) )

ANYWAY. 

I'm starting, finally, to post some of the photos here. :)

This was a children shoot on the beach the first afternoon -- hosted by my little sis, Jessica, and the ever-lovely Eva. 

I loved these kids --- and that LIGHT!!! Swoon. 

Two more United shoots to come...!



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Heyyyy... /// Birthday and Anniversary shenanigans!

I can't believe I haven't written a What I'm Lovin' post since freakin' AUGUST!

Yowsa. Time gets away from me. Might be time to resurrect the regular blog habit. :)

But I'm lovin' big time on two things right now: 
The lovin' I got on my birthdayweek, and the lovin' I got on my anniversary weekend away with my amazing man. 

 

The former involved a gaggle of friends over the span of a week: The Wolf of Wallstreet and a boozy theatre; an enormous sushi dinner out; and a decadent, sunny Sunday brunch; and a stuff-yourself-til-you-nearly-explode sushi dinner (yes, more sushi) with my main squeeze. 

The latter involved a secret (to me) destination getaway with my love with whom I'm celebrating one year --- coziness, storminess,  nesting, movies in, beach crawls, meandering, souvenir-buying, SO MUCH SLEEPING IN, and more snuggling than the fabric softener bear.* 
(*I don't know, I couldn't think of anything else that snuggled a lot... ;) )


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April Pride 2014 /// Seattle Fashion Photographer

It's one of those phone calls that you realize -- in the moment -- could be one of those game-changers. 
"I want you to be the house photographer for April Pride." 

Um. YES PLEASE. 

I had the pleasure of photographing the lovely April Allison (we share both a last name AND an age AND an astrological sign - kismet?) and her adorable family last year --- pancakes and pajamas :) --- and I'm HUGELY excited to start working with her in a different capacity: FASHION!

We spent the day primping, gabbing, shooting "The Dress," and drinking champagne. I'm not going to say which part I enjoyed the most. ;)

Now, studio photography isn't exactly my typical forte, but I'm always up to stretch my wings, and I also got to pepper the fashion shoot with -- my favorite -- lifestyle. Capturing some of the behind-the-scenes moments, the in-betweens, the styling, the laughs. 

And the little monkey peeking in through the window. ;)

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2013 year-in-review /// Heather B. Allison Photography

This is, without doubt, going to be THE LONGEST blog post everrrrr. 

I don't really expect everyone to get to the bottom of it. 
Sure, it's a retrospective of my 2013. It's a visual resume. It's a showcase of my work, what it looks like, how it feels, at this stage in my photographic career. 
But to be perfectly honest -- more than any of that -- it's a personal exercise. 
So, while I hope that maybe you'll humor me and scroll through all of the images, take a stroll down my last 12 months right along with me, it doesn't entirely matter if you don't. 

Because what all this boils down to for me is this: I'm reminded. 

Wearing your creative heart on your sleeve is rife with insecurity. With doubts, fears, ups and downs, rollercoasters of emotions.
With wondering if you have any business at all doing this thing you're doing. With, "Am I good enough."

And going through this exercise, looking through all of my photos from the last year and choosing some of my favorites, I'm reminded.
I'm reminded of the joy, the laughter, the beauty, the sunshine, the intimate moments that I've been a part of. I'm reminded that I love, LOVE capturing these things. I'm reminded that my vision is unique, that the way I capture these things isn't the way everyone else would capture them, and that I'm proud of that. I'm reminded that I can SEE the warmth of an embrace, the tenderness of a touch, the quietness of a soul, the beam of a real laugh, the glow of an inner beauty, the sunshine of deep love in my photos, and that I'm VERY proud of that. 

I'm reminded, most of all, that I want to keep doing this.
And I want to do it my way. 

So 2014, if I have my way, is going to be more of refining my style, bringing me into my art, growing my craft, and being true to my voice.  I hope to manifest more creativity, beauty, sunshine, confidence, and joy in the coming year. More Life, Love, & Light. 
 

So, I am saying a HUUUUUUUUGE thank you to all of my clients in the past year. 

You did this. You helped to push me, excite me, challenge me, thrill me, overjoy me, touch me -- most of all, INSPIRE me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me into your lives, for sharing your love, for showing me your vulnerability and allowing me mine, for allowing me to let your light shine bright in my lens.

Happy new year, beautiful ones --- old, new, and yet-to-come clients alike --- can't wait to share a fabulous 2014 with all of you!! :)

***A big, gigantic, squeezy-hug-thank-you to Joni Girvan and Nikki Closser for letting me play Robin to their bad ass Bat Man a few times this year, too!***

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I got me, babe...

Community is wonderful.
Friendships are irreplaceable.
Sisterhood is precious.
They lift you up, they encourage you, they cheer for you,
they shine a light in the dark corners where it seems scary,
they turn a mirror toward you when you need to see, really see, your own reflection
-- whether to show you how amazing you are,
or to give you a smack of reality when it's needed.
They wrap their big, sometimes-cyber-based arms around you when you need a hug. 

I've been horrible about keeping up with my
30 Days of Thanks posts after the initial, oh, 8 -- but I'm so thankful
for my community, for my friendships, for my sisterhood;
old and new, deep or tentative. 
They often, perhaps because I'm an only child, sustain me in ways
I can't even begin to explain.

 But
-- and I say this without a single ounce, even hint, of ungratefulness, I promise --
sometimes I still struggle with the fact that I have to be
my own best cheerleader.
It's not anyone else's job to make sure I feel great, and supported,
cheered around every corner in the race,
and like I can take over the world because, YEAH! I'm AWESOME!

How tiring that would be, to have that job -- constantly blowing in someone's sails,
fluffing up their feathers, providing the jazz-hands for their own personal,
never-ending Fosse of encouragement.

I know. It would suck.

But I still sometimes feel like I can't get an invitation
to the Cool Kids table in my own community,
or like I'm the red-headed-stepchild in my own sisterhood
(nevermind that I often try to go ginger at the hair salon),
and -- no matter how well I know that's not their job --
it still always feels like a bit of a let-down when I remember,
oh right,
that's up to ME.

 But,
(this time, it's a good but)
I can do that job.  
I think I'm pretty rad. I like me.
Screw that, I LOVE me.
I'll do my own uncoordinated cheer as I round that corner,
blow in my own sails until I'm gasping for air.

Don't get me wrong.
I don't WANT to have to do it all myself -- I meant it, I am hugely grateful
for my friends, my sisters, my peers, and for all of the hugging, nudging,
ass-kicking, and cheering they do -- but it's good to know
that when they can't be there (and even when they can),
I got me, babe.

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Be in love /// Seattle LOVE Photographer

I've had this idea floating around in my head for a while.
Be inside of a phrase, a word; be part of it.

I took a personal day off from work, and when I do that I always try to do something creative. 
A few months ago, I made an uber-gourmet guacamole (oxymoron?) recipe, and decided to document the process with some styled food photography.

Today, I decided to finally make this self-portrait concept a reality.
The question was: what phrase or word to paint myself into? 

And as soon as I thought the question, I had the 'duh' answer:
"Be in love."

It's a phrase that I plan on getting tattooed in the coming handful of months (I'm pacing myself so that I don't want yet another one too soon ;)), for three reasons which I try to live by:

1. "Be in love with your life. Every detail of it." - part of a Jack Kerouac line
2. Be in love --- don't settle for less. In your life, in your relationships, make sure you're in love. 
3. Be, in love. Sit in it. Exist in it. Wade around in it. Surround yourself with it. Oooooooze with it. 

And the best part is, once I shot this selfie, there's a fourth meaning:
Be in love. Literally. Like I am here. :)

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Can you trademark sunshine?

"Sunshine is your trademark."

That's what someone said to me yesterday,
after I posted some wedding photos I took over the weekend,
and 
I might've squealed a little.

 

These are, after all, 'my words' --- what I'm all about.
And I was giddy that someone saw it:

Life, Love, & Light.

 Life is the quiet moments, the in-betweens,
the looks, the laughs, the touches, even the tears.
It's connections, exploration, and sharing experiences with others. 

Love is the emotions that are palpable, undeniable; the ones that jump off the page,
that grab you by the throat or punch you in the belly. 
It's opening your heart -- even in the face of fear -- and sitting resolutely in love instead. 

Light is beauty;
it's artful approaches to the everyday and masterful creations that fill you with joy.
It's sun-flare, summer haze, and a glow imbued with - or imbuing - emotion.
It's optimism, enthusiasm, and a soul shining through. 

 

If I can capture that essence,
let someone else see and feel those things, 
then my soul is shinin', too.

:)

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What I'm lovin.... /// Pony Gold

 

 

I've been obsessed with this blog lately. 

Pony Gold.

I'm not really sure what it is about it -- but this intriguing mix of Americana,
mysticism, pen-and-ink drawings, fashion, and grit just gets me lately.  

Plus, she has owls. :)
 

It has inspired a shoot I hope to do soon with a handful of rockin'
ladies in the mountains somewhere, flavored with a bit of Americana,
a dash of mountain priestess, and a hint of faerie. 
Or something like that. 
Either way, I think it'll be rad. :) 

 







You can buy Pony Gold designs on some pretty cool dresses here, too. 



All drawings property of Pony Gold.

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Elisa + Nico /// Seattle Wedding Photographer

Kismet. Serendipity. Fate. Karma. Call it what you want, my photographing this wedding is nothing short of the Universe weaving its wonderous, wonderful web.

Without going into too much detail, I'll just say this:
This bride and I share a history, but had never really met until mere days before the wedding. We could have hated each other, but instead fell in love instantly, over raw oysters and bubbly. She asked me to photograph her most-special day before she even knew if we would truly get along.

And I'm so glad she did. This wedding was sweet, simple, and sophisticated; the groom was probably the smiliest I've ever seen; and I left feeling completely covered with Love Dust from head-to-toe.

I decided not to shower right away. :)
























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