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Heere's Phoebe!

Monday, April 2, 2018

It seemed only fair, given my successful senior pictures photoshoot with the Thin White Duke, to give my Eternal Flame a chance at digital immortality. The trick was finding a sunny afternoon during her winter break--more difficult than it should have been, but that's this winter for you. Cold and wet and snowy and anything but comfortable. On the morning of March 22, I watched thick clouds ever so slowly break up, and gave Phoebe, who was busy with homework, a heads up that we could get lucky in the afternoon. A broken sky gave way to blue, and we mobilized, jumping in the car and speeding to my favorite place for afternoon light, rolling hills and decrepit buildings. We brought an array of outerwear but no hairbrush--she says her hair looks better when she doesn't brush it. Must be genetic; my only hairbrush is my fingers.

I'd been looking forward to this ever since shooting Liam. I love photography, but more than that I love helping someone appreciate and truly feel their own beauty. "These won't be good. I don't look good today," Phoebe warned. Oh. I hadn't noticed that she didn't look good today. And I'm pretty observant. "Let me show you not looking good," I answered, cackling. "You've got youth, estrogen and an ectomorphic body type on your side, hon. If what I'm seeing through the lens is 'not looking good,' I'd love to not look that good."

I've said it before: shooting people is a lot like shooting wild creatures. The longer your lens, the better you're going to do. Nobody likes to have a camera stuck right in their face! The other great thing about a telephoto lens is that it automatically has a relatively shallow depth of field, so you get this beautiful blurred-out background, focusing on the subject. Oh, how the sky picks up her blue eyes. Red hair and blue eyes is the rarest combination.

All through high school, I tried to get my daughter to wear denim, without success. As I think on it, denim was what everyone else she knew was wearing, so she steered clear. I forced one of my 18 denim shirts on her when she left for college. "Trust me on this. Denim goes with everything, and it looks fabulous on everybody. But it'll look even better on you. " Imagine my delight when she turned up for the shoot in that same shirt. It works with weathered barnwood, blue eyes and red hair, that's for certain.

A stray shaft of sunlight tricked out her hair in the shot above. We went inside the barn to see what we could do there. Oh my! Shadows from a leafing honeysuckle vine fell on her face. Her hair was on fire. The light gave a lushness to her features I hadn't seen before--the slight cleft of her chin! Rembrandt light.


I love these Phantom of the Opera shots. There was so much more we could have done, but the Golden Hour was fast fading away.  


 Let's try a shot through the mullions. Uh-oh!

It's the Creeper! We had to have the Creeper shot. I think Phoebe's scarier than Liam! Things like this, I think, have to happen so you can get images like these next ones. 

We moved out to catch the last of the sun's rays. The siding was a beautiful black, and there was just enough sun to light her cheeks. She was totally relaxed and we were getting some really good stuff.

Never oblivious to what's going on around her, she watched and listened to the birds all around. A crow landed briefly in a nearby pine and just as quickly reversed course when it realized there were humans below. "Is that a crow?" she asked, suddenly alert, laser-focused and crouching. It was such a Zick moment I felt I was seeing myself as a 21-year-old.

Such rich textures, between the barnwood and the brambles and that glorious hair. I don't know how one person gets so lucky on the colorful genetic Wheel of Fortune. Both my kids have been lucky.

 Back to posing. "Mess with your hair. Put it up."

Ahhh. Good.

I decided to try the black doorway once again, the one that had bamboozled me with Liam.  Two professional photographer friends had suggested exposing on the barnwood as a neutral gray, instead of on Phoebe's face. It worked! I got velvet black and true skin tones. Now I want to take Liam back and try again.

I love the peace in her face here.

 Chasing the last red rays of sun, we found them slamming against some red leaves. We'd been practicing the sudden turn that whips her hair into a wildfire.

 Time for jumpshots! We were happy we got such beautiful photos, and I was happy that Somebody wasn't thinking she "didn't look good today" any more. 
Launch it, Red Rocket!


Some say youth is wasted on the young. Not these young.

With such a graceful and willing subject, it was hard to turn the camera over to Phoebe, but I wanted a photo of myself with the Toothless Lady before she falls down.

I kind of melt right into that old barn. But my teeth are better.

We were heavy into shooting when a red pickup came barreling up the never-traveled road. I knew who it was, and was surprised at the speed at which she was driving. She skidded to a halt as I hurried to get my car out of the way. A relieved smile spread across her face. At a distance, she'd taken my camera for a gun and was hell-bent on chasing me out of there. We both laughed.
"Now I know who you are and what you're doing. Thought that was a gun!"
"Well, that's our adrenaline rush for the day!" I answered, and with that, what little light was left fled.

Thus ended our most excellent Senior in College Photo Shoot. Both kids now, thoroughly documented.  And a couple old ladies, too.

There's something about the juxtaposition of this slender flame, balancing on the brink of her whole life, and that deliquescing barn, waiting for the derecho that will bring her down, that brings a lump to my throat. Time never stops. People keep moving. Buildings left untended fall down. All we can do is love them while they're here.


Awesome & memories too!

Just swell!

Beautiful – ALL of them. Now I have a lump in my throat, too.

Stunning. You do good work!

so beautiful - I had to click on every single photo to see full size. senior in college, when did that all happen, in a blink.

Who is this breathtakingly beautiful young woman and what did she do with your little girl?

Love these! She is beautiful!

Love the tossed flame of fire and that last shot in front of the decrepit barn is great.

Absolutely gorgeous photos! Phoebe's hair is glorious.

wow, wow, wow! applies to both of your young adults' photos. Great images in this post and Liam's. Kudos for helping them embrace and appreciate their youthful beauty. Much beauty revealed by you and the toothless lady as well. Thanks for sharing. Kim in PA

Where did that stunning beauty come from? She's given us some teasing glimpses in the past but this is the blossoming of someone new. It's funny how we never see ourselves as others do, especially at her age. Kudos to both you and Phoebe.

HOW does she defy gravity like that? Amazingly gorgeous. I think we should see some photos of you at her age. I bet you look alike. So lovely.

Oh. My. God!

Hey Julie, listen to Richard Thompson's "52 Vincent Black Lightning Machine" (tho you probably know it already) and don't ever give that wild young beauty a black leather jacket.

On the other hand...might be kinda fun!

@Emily Taylor, red hair and black leather, my favorite color will note the black underpinnings in all these photos. She's tending that way! Ut-oh!!

Such loving photos of a lovely young woman. Treasures forever.

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