XO CHELS.

Fine Event and Portraiture Photography in the Pacific Northwest.

Desperate House Husbands of Downton Vancouver (aka, Vintage Fox Hunt Mens' Wear Shoot)

 This was my first official editorial fashion shoot. 

      Alisa Tetreault, owner of Most Everything Vintage, gave the the awesome opportunity to do a shoot for her Fall Mens' Wear.

  I shot all of these with ambient light, no flash, at 8:00 in the morning, at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. 

  My community is in Downtown Vancouver, Washington. A small, tight knit network of people in this town, who happen to have a love for all things beautiful.  It's because of this that we as a community can come together for a group effort to create inspired images like these:

 

I'll admit gathering male models was challenging. There are plenty of women who like to model, but to find the right grouping of men (or any at all for that matter) willing to be dressed in knickerbachers and newsie hats could have been easier. 

In the end, as it turned out, it was the promise made they would get to play with antique guns that got them there. 

 

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The final lineup consisted of three guys I have coffee with in the mornings, my friend's husband, and my boyfriend.    The beautiful pink haired lady is Solanah from Vixen Vintage, and the fox you spot is a friend from long ago, infamous for her red hair. 

Between takes everyone was able to have fun, the environment was happy and relaxed and very pleasant.   A perk of working with friends.


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Lessons Learned:  Flash can be your friend. After this shoot I purchased two off camera speed flashes and diffusers.  Hopefully this will save me a lot of pain in post editing.  I also learned that it's ok to take your time. This shoot was rapid.  I was so worried about not entertaining the people who came to participate.  We fed them and they got along fine, but I had it in my mind that this was an event where I needed to host. That was not the case. This was a photoshoot, and they were doing a job. I think once I recognize that, I can focus on the images more. 

There are no filters that will enhance your beauty.

I had the opportunity to interview Jesse Snavlin for my Women in Comics beat for the PDXX Collective. ( A feminist publication and blog in Portland.) 

Along with the interview, I offered to style Jesse and do a photo shoot to accompany the article. I always find articles more enticing to read, and interviews more enticing to do if there are fresh, relevant photos on the table. 

I styled her hair and makeup, and opted for a colorful dress with a lot of pattern where I could really take a comic approach with the colors and pump the saturation.

 

We took a short walk and I found a red wall to use.  She took the bold pose. That is a Wacom coloring tablet and stylus you see her holding there.  I loved it. 

 

in her interview, Jesse spoke freely about her sexuality and opinions on feminism in the comic book industry. It's a touch world, and any and all opinions can cause fists to be thrown up.  

However, that night, after having someone spend an hour styling her, I got to see something I love to see in women and subjects I photograph. She felt beautiful.  

Society is tough on us ladies.  We get beaten down by anyone who wants to say we're wrong or not good enough in any regard. But something I really love is to give a woman a couple of hours of my undivided attention.

Talk to me while I do your hair and makeup. Tell me about yourself. And then, please, by all means, do whatever you feel beautiful doing. And I promise, I will do my utmost to do you justice.  

I think what most women fail to realize is that beauty is NOT about weight.  These photos accompanied a deep, beautiful. witty, passionate interview that was strong enough to capture the attention of several important people in comics, and also, strike some nerves. But if you're not pissing anyone off, you're not standing up for anything.

There are times when women i have worked with do not like how they look in their photographs. They were expecting something different. most of the time, let's be honest, they were expecting something skinnier. 

I don't believe in Photoshopping images to make women look thinner.  While it is something I can do, I am firmly against it. 

How are we to battle the stigma against women if we continue to warp how we look? We need to celebrate our bodies and not only accept them, but show them off. This woman's body and brain are exquisite. She pens hero comics and colors neon noirs. She voices for rights for feminism and minorities. She has a kind heart with a strong spirit.  Why the hell would I use a photoshop filter on that? 

I can't. There is no filter I can put over someone to enhance how intelligent they are.  Just as there is no filter I can possibly use to enhance someone's beauty.  It's all there, baby.  No filter needed.