On the morning of June 22nd, I sat in the middle of the living room floor with my youngest sister, Chloë, getting ready for the most meaningful (and exciting) shoot I had ever done. As I dropped the soft green gown I had spent weeks creating over her head, I felt as if the story I had been waiting to tell had finally begun to come to life. The beginning of Passages was standing in my living room, and for the very first time, I began to feel like all my hard work had been worth it.
Once my sister was ready, my mother, sister, and I loaded up the car and drove to the location I had picked out almost two years prior on my very first location scouting trip in Boston. As I led my mom and sister to the small forest glade within the Middlesex Fells Reservation, I gazed at the creeping myrtle-covered ground, the soft sunbeams peeking through the bright green canopy above as it cast dappled shadows on the undergrowth. The location had felt magical from the very first time I laid eyes on it in August of 2015, and I knew this was the spot where I wanted my story to begin.
Leaving the paved pathway through the woods behind us, I guided my sister through the undergrowth to where I had always imagined this scene taking place. I carefully guided my sister into the correct pose, adjusting a strand of hair here, and a fold of fabric there as I picked up my camera. As she lay there in the undergrowth, looking perfectly young and peaceful, everything began to fall into place. And although there were, of course, some hiccups throughout the day (I’m sharing those rather comical details with my mailing list), what resulted from this long awaited shoot are images that turned out far better than I had even hoped.
When I planned out the story line for Passages I had always wanted to begin the story with a sort of prologue of sorts. I wanted to provide a peek into Chloë’s life before she set out on her adventure. I wanted to show the young, carefree girl she is at the beginning so that the woman who emerged at the end of the adventure seemed that much more real and powerful. No one starts fearless and strong, but rather innocent and perhaps a little fearful.
These images are meant to convey these first few moments of young Chloë’s story… the Prologue, if you will. With an air of youth and naivety, they are meant to feel as if we have just found her relaxing in the woods, content in the life she knows, but pondering on what, perhaps, lies in the grand world outside her place of comfort. She knows she can’t stay there forever, her curiosity would never allow that, so for now she is content to enjoy her last few moments in the quiet forest grove.
In life… in reality, I think we often find that it is easy to stay in the places we know best. To cling to our innocence and our places of comfort, because we really are content there. But that is all we are. Content. Great lives were never lived by merely content people, though. Great lives are lived by those who are truly happy, and as we have all learned, true happiness must be found through the adventures of trials, errors, mistakes, triumphs, and successes. As we ventured from childhood into adult life, our own adventures and trials took us to the place we find ourselves in right now.
That is the story I want Passages to tell, and this is the beginning. It feels wonderful to truly, finally… excitingly be starting this adventure with you.
P.S. As I mentioned above, if you want to see all the behind the scenes details (like the one mistake I didn’t take into account when planning this shoot) sign up for my mailing list! To see and admire an image for its surface value is one thing. To know its story, how it was created and why it was created, is another thing entirely. Since you, like me, are a lover of stories, I know you will not want to miss out on this.
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