It’s funny how we can be so startled when we stop and take stock of things. For example, I was driving down the highway yesterday and looking up at the hills, and suddenly thought, “Wow. I live in California!” Yeah, five years later, and it occasionally still kind of amazes me. For an Eastern Canadian, California was always pretty much the equivalent of Disneyland—an imaginary place, the happiest on earth, a place where movie stars live and music gets written about. Not actually real. So it’s a little strange (and wonderful) to realize this is just my day-to-day life.
Why am I starting this senior story this way? Well, shooting high school seniors was never really on my radar. But these things fall into your lap, and you end up having just the very best time ever. That same strange-wonderful feeling definitely overtook me while I was shooting with the rad and lovely Emily. She suggested meeting at Balboa Park for an adventure. Truth? Most photographers cringe a little when Balboa Park is requested, simply because it is so very often requested. I admittedly felt a little underenthused about the location, having shot there a bajillion times previously. Well, I stand corrected, folks. Lesson learned—you can always find something new and magical when you look for it, and when you’re with likeminded adventurous souls. With Emily, we unearthed a pretty constant stream of dazzlingly dreamy things. So here we begin.
When Emily showed up, it was like, BOOM! A total natural in front of the camera, she could easily be confused for a pro. I’m not usually heavily directive when I work with people, as I like to let people simply be themselves in their own way. So let it be known—Emily was naturally so collaboratively playful. It simply ended up feeing like a rad editorial shoot.
Emily had told me that she’d really loved the look of the Julian shoot I’d done with Susan, and I went into this shoot expecting to go a little dark and moody, but she threw me for a loop when she told me that she fell in love with all the bright pink perky trees of spring in Balboa Park. So, delightfully, I found myself in this unexpectedly dreamy place. Sometimes frolics just simply morph into awesomely surprising forms. When we found these gardens of pink, it pretty much took my breath away. I feel like I didn’t breathe the whole time we were shooting there. Moments like these? They are my Disneyland!
The best part of this all was that we just had a ridiculously good time. She may be stunning, but she’s also a barrel of laughs and silliness, and that’s my favorite fodder for turning out an awesome shoot. I was also so jazzed that she decided to bring her bestie for the shoot—we were able to take a few minutes to do a few of them together. Emily brought a few of her favorite books (love me some Holden Caulfield!), and we hung out, chatted about Coachella (which she’d be attending weeks later), and even got silly in the grass. So much fun, so much magic. Thanks, Emily, for radiating adventure and exhuberance in the best of ways.