The Black Dress Series

It’s been over a year since I last posted here. This site was designed to be a place for my personal photography work and clearly by the lack of activity I haven’t been doing any personal work. There are a couple of reasons I abandoned my personal work.

During 2014 I went through a really dark time in my personal life. We walked through a pretty intense situation with some dear friends of ours and that left me in a downward spiral (secondary trauma as my therapist explained it). I’ve always been a strong independent woman and felt like I could weather any storm that came my way. Seeing myself come apart during this situation was earth shattering to me. I lost confidence in who I was and started to feel like a failure. By nature I am perfectionist and failure is my kryptonite. I kept getting deeper and deeper in self loathing and depression. Everything I tried I felt like I couldn’t achieve the level of perfection that I wanted and felt like a massive failure. Halfway through projects I would give up then beat myself up because I failed at achieving my goal. I didn’t have the energy mentally to keep putting myself through this emotional roller coaster, so I just stopped trying.

I knew this wasn’t healthy for me. I’m not going to pour out all the details, that’s what my therapist is for :), but you get the picture. I knew I needed something to kick me out of this dark place. I needed to go out and just try. Philip and I had a massive road trip planned for this spring. The main goal of the trip was to go to a photographers convention in Vegas but we tagged on some national parks to the trip so that Philip could do some landscape work. I love landscapes but 1. he is better at it than me and 2. we don’t need two shots of the same landscape, especially if his is better. I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to start a new personal project.

I’m not going to lie, before this trip I was completely anxious about trying this new project. I thought I would completely fail. Let me fast forward a little now. While in a class (taught by Lanny and Erika Mann) during the photography convention, halfway through our trip, I had an awakening of sorts. These three statements hit me hard:

If you aren’t failing, you aren’t reaching far enough…
Success exist by going from failure to failure…
Being comfortable with failure leads to discovery…

Like I mentioned, failure is my kryptonite so to willing want it in my life is pretty foreign to me. If you look at the work of the Manns work you’ll see that they are at the top of their game and making some epic wins. To hear them so openly talk about how failure is such an important part of their success left me just short of sobbing in the class. For years my perfectionism has literally held me back. I cared too much about looking like I could succeed at everything single thing I tried. Part of the problem is I that am pretty good at most things I try and that just fed my perfectionism. I don’t like others seeing my weaknesses.

I decided, screw it. I sat there and mentally told myself who gives a *&^$ if I fail. What if I just tried and if I fail, I fail? But what if I don’t fail and instead succeed? What is the worst thing that could happen? Would my attempts and possible failures at taking photographs really be that life changing in the long run?

So I put myself out there and set out to at least try a personal project. And here it is, a series of self portraits done in my favorite black dress in some of the places we visited on our trip. For this project I wanted to show my love for both fashion and nature, take portraits that might not be in the most prime lighting situations, and embrace the true feelings I felt in the moment. I told Philip that no matter what I thought of the end results that I was going to force myself to edit the images and put them out there for the world to see, so I could start to get over my fear of failure.

And here you go, my Black Dress Series.
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Whitesands

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Whitesands

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Petrified Forest

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Petrified Forest

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Petrified Forest

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The Grand Canyon

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Valley of Fire

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Zion

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Canyonlands

 

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